ThinkOn: Delivering Fast and Reliable Backup and Disaster Recovery

Ahsan Khan, CTO
On 10 March 2021, an overnight fire destroyed the OVHcloud SBG2 data center in Strasbourg, France. Though no one was injured, the fire obliterated huge volumes of data, creating massive repercussions for hundreds of businesses. In fact, the incident knocked out 3.6 million websites, left almost 500,000 domains unavailable, and prevented millions from accessing their emails.

Unfortunately, incidents like these continue to happen across the globe. The growing instances of cyber-attacks and data breaches are posing a bigger threat, leading to operational disruptions, loss of money, reputation, and even closure of businesses. This drove home the significance of a robust backup and disaster recovery (DR) strategy that can help organizations secure their data from any unprecedented events.

However, even today, many companies rely on obsolete technologies that revolve around "the 3-2-1 rule," for backup and disaster recovery. According to the rule, there should be three copies of data—one production copy and two backup copies stored on different media at different locations, including an off-site location. Typically, one copy would be stored on tapes that demand specialized services to ensure round-the-clock security. Higher costs combined with 3-2-1 rule a "tough pill to swallow" for businesses. While the cloud can be used instead of tapes to boost the restoration speed, over-reliance on digital technologies can leave data more vulnerable to cybercriminals. So how can businesses overcome these challenges and ensure effective and efficient backup and restore processes?

ThinkOn has the answer.

Ontario-based ThinkOn provides a robust suite of data management and information asset protection solutions to help businesses seamlessly and securely manage their data and optimize their IT infrastructure. ThinkOn's solutions and its extensive network of technology partners in infrastructure, backup, and DR help clients maximize their compute, network, and storage resources at a low cost. "We are dedicated to delivering highly scalable backup and DR capabilities to clients. Our portfolio is designed to assist them in developing solutions that ensure effective security and rapid restoration of data," says Ahsan Khan, the CTO at ThinkOn.

Powered by a Unique Mission

Established in 2013, ThinkOn's business operations are built around the concept of simplicity and customer success. Since its inception, the company has been serving as a cloud services provider of infrastructure, backup, archive, and DR solutions that help subscribers and partners address their needs pertaining to data management. "We pride ourselves on building meaningful solutions with our partners that are leveraged to meet our subscribers business outcomes." says Khan. Based on the concept, "backups are useless, and restores are priceless," ThinkOn designs simple-to-use solutions that provide subscribers with easy and quick access to their data without any caveats or hassles.

According to Khan, backup and restore operations have long been overlooked as an obscure facet of the business agenda that only needs periodic assessment. However, with the pandemic driving a Big Data explosion, the business landscape is struggling to cope with the complexity of their data infrastructures and the resulting surge in data management and security-related expenditures. ThinkOn Cloud Backup, a Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) solution, is a cost-effective end-to-end offering designed to address these issues by handling subscribers’ backup and resource tasks. "We serve as an extension of our partners and subscribers' team and ensure 24/7 data security in a high-performance, scalable, and flexible storage ecosystem."

Upgrading the Conventional 3-2-1 Rule of Backup

Dedicated to disrupting the backup and DR space, ThinkOn adheres to the 3-2- 1-1-0 Golden backup rule, which extends the traditional 3-2-1 rule. The company's solution makes three copies of subscribers' data—one original copy along with two backup copies stored on different media. One copy goes to ThinkOn's ISO SOC standards-compliant off-site locations, where subscribers can reliably store their data without having to go through complex and cumbersome regulatory red tape.

ThinkOn takes its subscribers' backup strategy a step further. "By leveraging our novel technology, we air gap some of those copies and take them offline," says Khan. This offers a last line of defense by storing data offline, which means data is not accessible from the internet and thereby protected against cyber threats.

We pride ourselves on building meaningful solutions with our partners that are leveraged to meet our subscribers business outcomes

Not just that, the company goes the extra mile by securing one backup copy in immutable storage that eliminates the possibilities of deleting or modifying the data. This way, ThinkOn ensures that organizations' data is not only protected but also configured to deliver rapid restoration in case of emergencies.

What gives ThinkOn a competitive edge is its ability to design solutions that can scale according to subscribers’ needs while ensuring easy and quick access to data backups. This allows organizations to seamlessly leverage and perform actions on their datasets when needed. ThinkOn provides a clean room service that helps clients restore their backup data and perform analytics or forensics in an isolated and highly secure environment - all without any additional charges.

“We serve as an extension of our partners and subscribers' team and ensure 24/7 data security in a high-performance, scalable, and flexible storage ecosystem”

Furthermore, ThinkOn has the ability to automate many of its turnkey solutions with its proprietary quote-to-cash (QTC) system, Compass. Partners and Subscribers can log into the system to build solutions, access usage information, get their bills, and more – all through a single pane of glass. Compass also ensures holistic visibility by automating the provisioning, management, and monitoring of backup, compute, and infrastructure. ThinkOn works with a number of vendors to offer a backup service of choice to subscribers looking to solve their data challenges.

Performance in the Real World

The capabilities of its solution have positioned ThinkOn as a go-to provider for organizations' data backup and recovery needs today. In one instance, ThinkOn aided a multinational company in designing a new strategy around data protection after they were hit with a ransomware attack, due to their archaic approach to backup and DR. They were just periodically checking things off a list to validate the efficacy and security of their backup process. Engaging with our partner, ThinkOn put together a dedicated team of experts to effectively assess the data footprint and design a robot solution.

Once they understood the subscriber’s needs and long-term goals, ThinkOn provided its BaaS managed service and deployed fully managed backup appliances on-premises to take over the backup and DR activities. Concurrently, the company leveraged the 3-2-1-1-0 Golden Rule and stored copies of enterprise data at multiple locations, on immutable storage, and an air gap copy to ensure maximum security. ThinkOn also enabled its RansomGuard protection service on one of the subscriber’s off-site copies. Not stopping there, the company offered its cleanroom service to aid the subscriber in ensuring the quality of their post-incident data and accessibility inside a secure ecosystem. In the end, the subscriber was equipped with an end-to-end solution that offered comprehensive data backups, easy and quick restores, and complete data protection, along with the capability to process their data in the cleanroom.

Heading towards a Secure Tomorrow

With its industry expertise and a laser focus on partner success, ThinkOn today has more than 150 channel partners, managing over 500 petabytes of customer data. Moving forward, the company plans to keep innovation at the core to enhance its value proposition. ThinkOn is committed to establishing the most cost-effective and streamlined portfolio of data management services. ThinkOn, along with a subset of key vendors plans to build a storage platform that provides homomorphic, end-to-end encryption capable of securing data for long-term retentions. By commercializing such a solution, the company aims to equip its partners for the upcoming disruptions in the data infrastructure and storage areas. Geographical expansion is also on ThinkOn's roadmap with plans to establish services in new locations, currently providing services in Canada, the U.S., the Bahamas, the U.K., and Australia.


Toronto, Canada

Ahsan Khan, CTO

A provider of critical data management and information asset protection solutions