VAALCO is a Houston-based energy company that explores, develops and produces crude oil and natural gas. It’s a small, but publicly-traded company with 20 employees in Texas and more worldwide. Robert Walston, IT supervisor of VAALCO, says that moving to an online backup service helped the firm comply with regulations regarding accountability of financial data and allay disaster recovery concerns
Elizabeth Wasserman: What type of data do you keep?
Robert Walston: The critical data is the financial data. And recently, in the last year or two, we implemented Microsoft Exchange server so we have all of our e-mail data also that would be critical.
Wasserman: Why did you look for a new backup solution?
Walston: We are a public company and we were introduced to the Sarbanes Oxley requirements. Even though we’re a pretty small company, our market cap is big enough to make us have to abide by the same regulations the large corporations. In late 2005, we were basically backing up everything to tape drives. I was hand carrying them to my house at the time. Once we were introduced to the Sarbanes Oxley regulations, we knew that wasn’t going to cut it. It didn’t meet the standards for accountability and so we had to come up with a solution pretty quickly. That’s when we started looking into an offsite, online type of backup. We went with Netmass, based out of Dallas, with Asigra software.
Wasserman: How does it work?
Walston: We downloaded a client and it backs up our computers over the Internet. It’s all encrypted, so it meets the securities standards and accountability standards we need. Basically, each night a couple times a week, we rotate between the accounting/purchasing and Exchange server. It’s really easy to set up. Every night at a certain time, it backs up our servers.
Wasserman: You’re based in Houston, which was hit pretty hard during Hurricane Rita. Does this give you peace of mind during hurricane season?
Walston: The main concern was with our auditors at the time. They didn’t know where I lived and whether I lived in a flood plain. I, myself, wasn’t concerned. Our offices are located on the third floor of a three-story building. Having said that, it does provide peace of mind. That’s for sure. If something were to happen, a disaster in our building itself, we would be able to get these backups from a remote location and restore then in a matter of hours if we had the right hardware.