Prefeitura de Itaúna recovers critical services within 24 hours of ransomware attack with Veeam

Prefeitura de Itaúna recovers critical services within 24 hours of ransomware attack with Veeam

When a ransomware attack threatened to paralyze Prefeitura de Itaúna, Brazil, CIO Cláudio Machado, had most users back online within minutes – thanks to Veeam and its partner MGDATA.

Across the world, local government organizations are taking on the challenge of serving rising populations with limited public funds. Take the vibrant city of Itaúna, in Minas Gerais, Brazil, which is growing by an estimated 1.1% each year. The local governing body is keen to preserve the city’s unique blend of urban development and rural charm, which requires careful utilization of resources.

“The city of Itaúna is one of a kind,” said Cláudio Machado, CIO, Prefeitura de Itaúna. “My wife is from here. When the opportunity to join Prefeitura de Itaúna arose, I couldn’t pass it up.”

As soon as Machado stepped into the role, he saw an opportunity: harness technology to effect radical change.

With a desktop estate that was more than a decade old, it was no surprise that performance was unreliable and IT support contracts were out of date.

Data backups were handled on an ad hoc basis and without a dedicated solution.

“The one advantage we had was that we were virtually starting from scratch,” said Machado.

“However, with our very limited IT budget, the challenge was working out what was possible. With new Brazilian data privacy laws coming into effect and the threat of cyberattacks growing, we knew it was time for change. We began searching for the right technology and partner to help us achieve a true Digital Transformation.”

Prefeitura de Itaúna teamed up with Veeam partner MGDATA to Drive a complete refresh of its IT environment.

MGDATA migrated all the organization’s IT systems to its private cloud platform and set up remote access for the municipality’s employees via thin clients on each desktop.

“It was my idea to virtualize our systems and use a Raspberry Pi device – costing just $50 per user – to enable remote access,” said Machado. “I paid for a proof of concept using my own money and, once that was successful, persuaded the mayor to grant us a small amount of funding to scale up the approach across the organization. By choosing to work with MGDATA on the project, we got the benefit of their high-performance cloud infrastructure and skills.”

Specifically, Prefeitura de Itaúna took advantage of MGDATA’s expertise in data protection to build a new strategy with Veeam at its core.

The organization’s new capabilities were soon put to the ultimate test when it was hit by a ransomware attack. MGDATA, the first Veeam partner worldwide to be recognized by Veeam as a specialist in ransomware protection, was primed and ready to respond.

“MGDATA detected the threat immediately and blocked Internet access to stop the attack in its tracks,” said Machado. “They used Veeam’s Instant Recovery feature to restore our IT environment to the last known restore point, which was only 15 minutes previously. We were able to get most users up and running again within 24 hours, before restoring all services within 53 hours – a massive achievement. I don’t like to even consider what the outcome would’ve been if it wasn’t for Veeam and MGDATA.

“Before Veeam and MGDATA, a cyberattack could’ve paralyzed our systems for who knows how long. Instead, we had most users back online with an RPO of just 15 minutes.”

Thiago dos Santos Nunes, Chief Technology Officer, MGDATA, explained why the company opts for Veeam to safeguard its customer systems: “I am a data protection enthusiast with several Veeam certifications, and I’m also part of the Veeam Vanguard Program. Veeam is our solution of choice to safeguard our customers’ data because they are the market leader and provide cutting-edge functionality.”

More than 1,300 Prefeitura de Itaúna employees now access IT services hosted on MGDATA’s cloud via approximately 500 thin clients.

Using Veeam, MGDATA protects 60TB of data, with critical systems backed up faster and more frequently than before.

“Adopting the thin-client approach has Dramatically reduced our IT costs while Driving up performance,” said Machado. “It has also given us data protection capabilities that were out of reach before. For example, it used to take 48 hours to back up our key systems – that’s dropped to four hours, thanks to Veeam. We used to back up these systems every two days, whereas now we do it every 30 minutes.

“With Veeam hosted by MGDATA, we cut backup times for key IT systems from 48 hours to four hours and increased backup frequency from every two days to every 30 minutes. As a result, we avoid backups overrunning and affecting performance, and if we need to use them, our backups are much more up to date.”

Using Veeam, Prefeitura de Itaúna encrypts its backups by default, helping the organization meet the requirements of Brazilian data privacy laws.

Moreover, backups are now immutable for a minimum of seven days, providing an extra layer of resilience.

“LGPD rules now require us to encrypt our backups, so our new Veeam capabilities came at just the right time,” said Machado. “With backups that are both encrypted and immutable – we’re also much better protected against our data being compromised.”

With a modern and dynamic IT environment, Prefeitura de Itaúna is empowering its employees to better serve the growing population of the city.

Looking to the future, the organization plans to implement Smart City solutions, including rolling out CCTV to enhance public safety. It will use Veeam to protect and back up all CCTV data – equating to several petabytes.

“My wife was right: Getting a job at Prefeitura de Itaúna was the right choice, even if I had to go through the stress of a ransomware attack,” said Machado. “With Veeam and MGDATA at our side, we’re mitigating risk and raising service levels – making us excited about what’s next.”

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