Genentech: Prescription for Data Protection

Unified, cross-platform endpoint backup protects critical research and medical innovation.

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A primary goal for Genentech’s innovative IT team is consolidating disparate technologies into single solutions. With the majority of Genentech’s research staff working on Windows machines and field sales people almost entirely Mac-equipped, finding a single, cross-platform enterprise endpoint backup solution was a top priority. The company selected and implemented CrashPlan in 2007.

Initially, Genentech chose CrashPlan to replace Retrospect for Mac users. Today, the company is installing CrashPlan to also replace the HP Connected Backup solution on its Windows endpoints. Ultimately, CrashPlan’s unified and highly scalable nature will deliver secure endpoint data protection for more than 30,000 Genentech and Roche employees.

Critical Needs

  • Fully automated, cross-platform functionality
  • Public cloud for efficient, global access
  • Active Directory integration
  • End-to-end data encryption
  • Flexibility for selecting or excluding file types
  • Cost-effective and scalable to support new users
  • Responsive technical support

How It Works

End users at Genentech typically aren’t even aware CrashPlan is deployed and running on their computers. The solution is simply installed before new machines are distributed to employees or when existing machines are sent back to IT to be re-imaged. Once Windows users have CrashPlan installed on their machines, the software’s automated monitoring tracks the initial backup. When 99 percent of data is backed up, an admin uninstalls Connected Backup, and CrashPlan takes over.

The company has offices in nearly 120 countries, so, according to Systems Management Engineer Andrew Seago, Active Directory integration is critical for global deployment. “Our international machines are Macs,” Seago said. “We have four Active Directory servers running in four regions. If you’re in Europe, CrashPlan backs up there. If you’re in Asia, it backs up there. And so on. If a country has government restrictions on data portability, we can filter the data so it doesn’t leave the country.”

Seago manages CrashPlan for all of Genentech and fine-tunes the system based on specific needs.

CrashPlan plays an important role in our goal of being an innovative, 100-percent virtual global company. It’s one of the core services we’ll trust and rely on well into the future.
Andrew Seago, Systems Management Engineer at Genentech/Roche

“We deal in hundreds of thousands of petabytes of data with the genome information our researchers work on,” Seago said. “Protecting that information, along with financial and administrative data, is critical. In most cases, our initial support layer handles calls from CrashPlan users. But those calls don’t get escalated because CrashPlan just works. If someone loses a laptop or has one stolen, they’re instantly back in business. We probably get only 10 IT tickets a week from 12,000 users in North America.”

As part of the company’s “100-percent virtual” strategy, Genentech is in the process of moving as much data as possible to the cloud.

“Eliminating onsite equipment saves on everything from power to admin time,” Seago explained. “We’re pretty much a virtual shop anyway since most of the tools our employees use are in the cloud. CrashPlan helps us make sure everyone is backed up, wherever they are.”

Casper Suite Integration

In conjunction with CrashPlan, Genentech utilizes JAMF Software’s Casper Suite — a comprehensive platform for managing Macs, iPads and iPhones in an enterprise environment without revamping entire technology infrastructures. Code42 and JAMF Software have been longtime partners, with the Casper Suite facilitating fast deployment of CrashPlan across Genentech’s Mac user base. It also provides automated alerts for machines under management that fall out of compliance with established control objectives.

JAMF Software also assists Genentech’s IT team with expanding CrashPlan to the broader Roche organization.

“We’re writing experience reports to show how CrashPlan meets security goals,” Seago described. “We have a really good relationship with JAMF Software, so we’ve been able to get the necessary reporting features built in.”

The Casper Suite offers full deployment, configuration and reporting capabilities with CrashPlan, and that insight is important as the endpoint backup solution expands throughout Genentech/Roche to protect all of its endpoints.

Rolling Out Mobile Access

An important next step for Genentech is to provide mobile access to data for the global Genentech and Roche end-user base of 30,000 employees. With Code42’s convenient CrashPlan mobile app, on-the-go employees have easy access to backed-up files from any iOS, Windows, Amazon Kindle Fire or Android device. Staff have the option to view files within the CrashPlan app or open them in another compatible application, and all files are securely password protected. The mobile app adheres to the same, advanced data security standards as CrashPlan, so IT staff enjoy peace of mind when employees access files while away from the office.

CrashPlan’s Business Value