Vicinity Counts on Datto BCDR to Protect Critical Alaskan Business Above the Arctic Circle

Vicinity is a third-generation information technology (IT) service provider based in Hawaii and Alaska. The company was founded in 2023 and is led by a team of experts with over 100 years of collective experience in the managed service provider (MSP) space.

Vicinity provides a myriad of IT and security services to local businesses and enterprises, ranging from help desk to server and network management, cybersecurity, and data backup and disaster recovery (DR). Whether it’s resolving technical issues, upgrading IT infrastructure or implementing new technology solutions, Vicinity is a one-stop shop for all things IT. The MSP aims to create a world where technology enhances people’s lives and enables everyone to be their best selves.

  • Company: Vicinity
  • Industry: MSP
  • Location: Hawaii and Alaska
  • Established: 2023
  • Interviewed: Robert Thurston, Chief Operating Officer and Alex Eissler, Director of Operations

“Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) is a tough nut to crack for a lot of organizations. Many organizations pay for BCDR solutions, thinking they have them protected, but they don’t. Before we introduce change to a client environment, we need to understand what we are building on top of. BCDR is the foundation on which we build our practice. If there are cracks in the foundation, we have a great solution (Datto SIRIS 5) to fill those gaps.”

Robert Thurston

Chief Operating Officer, Vicinity

The Challenge

The Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments (CATG), one of Vicinity’s clients at Fort Yukon, Alaska, needed help with their data backup solution. They had two older systems that weren’t good enough and didn’t meet their needs. Their BCDR solutions didn’t provide the expected replication or contingency, with one of them only half-implemented.

CATG urgently needed a robust BCDR solution to secure their systems and data. However, many solution vendors, including renowned multinational companies, were unwilling to take on the project due to logistical issues in rural Alaska.

“Datto isn’t the cheapest, but it’s the best I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot of them. The live screenshot backup verification is huge. I wasn’t able to get that in Veeam or Commvault. Even if I want to do it, it’s a multiweek project to get a BCDR environment stood up to spin-up the virtual machines to verify. With Datto, I don’t have to do any such things; everything is covered in the solution.”

Alex Eissler

Director of Operations, Vicinity

The Solution

Datto was the only vendor who agreed to take on the challenge. Vicinity and Datto were determined to ensure CATG had access to the latest IT and security solutions, regardless of remote location or logistical challenges. Together, they went above and beyond to deliver Datto BCDR appliances to CATG and secure their critical systems and data.

“Rural Alaska is a very interesting place — no FedEx or UPS. We had to ship the appliances to our Fairbanks office. From there, one of our account executives received the shipments, went to the airport, and managed to get onto the Cessna 208 Grand Caravan airplane and out to the village. The trip required multiple stops. We utilized almost every available mode of transportation to deliver the appliances. But the journey wasn’t over yet. We had to pre-seed the hard disk drives and send them back to Datto to be seeded to the cloud using the same method via the utility aircraft. The entire episode was nothing less than a Hollywood action movie,” Robert recalls.

“Datto BCDR is plug-and-play. I was able to help CATG set it up remotely. I was able to go to them and say, ‘I know I am not there with you on-site, but we can set this up remotely.’ We registered the device, got it online, integrated with vCenter and got the data backed up,” says Robert Thurston, Chief Operating Officer, Vicinity.

“My experience with Datto has always been very good. With regard to both client management and response time, Datto support teams have been very easy to work with. The fulfillment has been extremely easy. And any time I’ve had even the slightest problem, the Datto team jumped over quickly and took control. They say, ‘No problem, we got it,’ and it gets done. Currently, at least 80% of our MSP clients are on Datto.”

Robert Thurston

Chief Operating Officer, Vicinity

Other Benefits

Datto BCDR solutions offer seamless integration and come with innovative features, such as screenshot verification, multifactor authentication and reporting capabilities, that enable MSPs to ensure their clients’ data is securely backed up and bootable and also exhibit the real value of their services to clients.

“In the past, I’ve dealt with other backup solutions, like Commvault, Veeam and Backup Exec. These kinds of legacy-first and second-generation data backup solutions are costly and difficult to implement. They leave a lot on the table for you, as the MSP, to engineer, take ownership and run yourself. They don’t have the necessary security protections built in,” notes Robert Thurston.

Datto Hero reports helps MSPs stand out by demonstrating the unique value of their services to clients. The innovative feature helps MSPs deliver automated, customized and insightful reports that provide a clear view of clients’ backup status and DR readiness across Datto Backup.

According to Alex, Datto Hero reports is another very useful feature from a reporting perspective. “Datto Hero reports helps prove things to our clients. Getting the data to our clients in the way that they want to receive that report has been a huge win for us,” says Alex.

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