Warren CAT secures critical data and boosts DR preparedness with Rubrik

Warren CAT secures critical data and boosts DR preparedness with Rubrik

Warren CAT saw the need to elevate its Zero Trust data security posture to protect the organisation and secure its data in the face of cyberthreats. Brent Cerka, CIO, Warren CAT, tells us how the company is now better prepared with Rubrik’s solutions and how the vendor has changed the way that the company’s Business Continuity operates. Cerka goes as far to say: “We needed the best Zero Trust data security partner and we believe that is Rubrik.”

The large, yellow industrial machines peppering construction sites around the world have become synonymous with growth, progress and development. With 21 different locations in Texas and Oklahoma, Warren CAT provides customers complete solutions for their equipment needs, from heavy machinery to industrial engines.  

Warren CAT’s customers include some of the largest and most recognisable companies in the world that fuel our daily lives. With a commitment to providing superior products and services and the development of long-term business relationships built on trust — security and safety are at the forefront of Warren CAT’s operations.

Warren CAT saw the need to elevate its Zero Trust data security posture to protect the organisation and secure its data in the face of cyberthreats.

The start of a data security paradigm shift 

Prior to Rubrik, Warren CAT’s Disaster Recovery (DR) strategy lacked automation. “Our legacy solution was not highly regulated. It was comprised of tape-based and non-encrypted backup solutions which required many manual processes,” said Brent Cerka, CIO, Warren CAT.  

Cerka recognised the need to improve Warren CAT’s strategy around DR. “We needed a security-first mindset. This meant having security measures built-in to everything we work on and all vendors we work with, like Rubrik. We also know it isn’t a matter of if we are targeted by attackers, but rather when. Now, we believe we are better prepared with Rubrik’s Zero Trust Data Security.”

DR fortress with orchestrated application recovery

Warren CAT utilises Rubrik’s Orchestrated Application Recovery to reduce the impact of unplanned downtime and data loss caused by cyberthreats. Pre-defined Rubrik Blueprints – logical containers of VMs that contain the boot order, storage, compute, networking and postscripts for VMs to leverage at the target site – bring automation to DR planning. “Our operational process in reaction to Disaster Recovery changed drastically with Orchestrated Application Recovery,” said Cerka. “It gives me the confidence to know that I can have true backup orchestration and meet the company’s internal SLAs of recovery. We had a process our team dreaded and knew it was going to be lengthy, painful and unpredictable. Now, we have set ourselves up for success. We’ve created Blueprints, set the tools in place to make recovery scalable and feasible and tested the process multiple times to ensure that we can communicate accurate internal SLAs that support Business Continuity for the company.”

Blueprint for coordinated DR: “We recently embarked on a hyperconverged server transformation in our data centre for our applications and virtual environment. This was a great opportunity for us to step back, categorise our business-critical applications in terms of importance and build a new foundation. Our servers were already being backed up on Rubrik, by bringing on Orchestrated Application Recovery, we were able to go through the blueprinting exercise of categorising and defining all our workloads without starting from ground zero, saving us time and effort. This really helped us create an organised successful foundation for Disaster Recovery and Restoration. Now, we fully understand our DR priorities and have the flexibility to add anything else to our Blueprints as needed.”

DR testing and compliance: “With Rubrik, we are now testing DR, running Blueprints and finding ways to improve and optimise our processes. Disaster Recovery, backup testing and encryption analysis are foundational requirements of our cybersecurity insurance. Orchestrated Application Recovery has made it possible for us to be truly compliant from a cybersecurity standpoint while also improving the security posture of the company.”

Quick installation: “Since we already had the core Rubrik appliances, as well as Rubrik’s Zero Trust Data Protection for all our Microsoft 365 backups, adding Orchestrated Application Recovery was just a matter of flipping a switch and configuring the recovery flow to fit our environment — it was an easy and straightforward process.”

OAR Professional Services Team: “When it comes to Rubrik services, anything we’ve done or needed, it has always been able to get the right people to make us successful including top tier support, recovery planning and orchestration.”

Timeframe for recovery: “We established precise internal SLAs when it comes to recovering business critical applications. I’m happy to say that while Tier 1 workload recovery needs to happen within hours, I have no doubt that with Orchestrated Application Recovery we’ll be able to recover those workloads in half the time.”

Control and ease of use: “I’ve spoken to many of my C-level peers about Rubrik’s Orchestrated Application Recovery in terms of the orchestration and automation capabilities and usability of the product. I never thought that a company could get to where we are with automated Disaster Recovery orchestration without the reliance, management and expertise of a third-party service provider — but Rubrik has exceeded our expectations. We are now able to control all aspects of DR, data visibility and Business Continuity from Rubrik’s single pane of glass product console.” 

Brent Cerka, CIO, Warren CAT, tells us more about the collaboration and the many benefits it has offered.

Can you outline your role at Warren CAT and some of the daily tasks you’re faced with?
I am responsible for outlining the technology strategy and our roadmap at an enterprise level. This includes how we grow our business while driving accountability and visibility in our industry. As with most CIOs, though, my number-one priority has always been finding efficient and sustainable ways to secure Warren CAT’s data. 

What triggered the need to elevate your Zero Trust data security posture? 

Ultimately, the business is our customer. Our job is to protect our internal customers’ information while also protecting the organisation from cybersecurity threats and events. With the expansion of SaaS, our cloud-first methodology, hybrid workforce and our ever-expanding connection perimeter, it is imperative that we know who and what connections are happening within our enterprise. Because we have applications that are sitting in the cloud outside of our internal network, we think about the landscape differently. From a Zero Trust perspective we must be very diligent about who we trust. 

How does Rubrik’s Orchestrated Application Recovery reduce the impact of unplanned downtime and data loss caused by cyberthreats?

Recovery and orchestration have always and will continue to be difficult to crack due to the varying business processes and changes within any organisation. Sometimes it is so complex that by the time you build it out, you need to start over. From a cybersecurity perspective, Orchestrated Application Recovery has allowed us to use an efficient, repeatable and sustainable concept: you set it up, you test it and then reuse the process for all your recovery cycles. It reduces complexity and now becomes scalable and elastic while minimising the focus on what to do if a cyberthreat happens or if our data centre goes offline. Now, if an event occurs, our priority is bringing the business back online. We have the confidence and visibility into how long recovery may take so we can inform our customers accurately and meet our service level agreements. It’s really helped us make critical business decisions on what the impact would be from a security and operational perspective if a system goes down.

How did Rubrik change the way your company’s Business Continuity operates?

Now, it is much easier to maintain, monitor and recover. We are now able to ensure Business Continuity thanks to our daily visual SLAs that shows us whether something is working or not as well as testing the process all from a single pane of glass. Of course, if there’s something that impacts our business, we have visibility, capabilities and options that Rubrik provides. With Rubrik, instead of us relying on a third-party cloud or tertiary backups ourselves, our data is organised within Rubrik’s ecosystem while utilising the 3-2-1 backup strategy that can be viewed from a single console. It really means Rubrik and Warren CAT are partners and there is accountability on both sides. 

How would you describe your DR capability working with Rubrik?

Before working with Rubrik, we were using a mix of manual processes while also looking into using a third-party company with shared data centre backup services. We now have full orchestration through Rubrik’s Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service software. 

Now, our DR process is much more robust. We can test anytime and we also have expert-level understanding with a solid foundation within the organisation. We weren’t simply sold a product and left to build it out ourselves. We invested in the product and utilised Rubrik’s expertise throughout the build process. We are now much more successful because of that. 

Click below to share this article

Browse our latest issue

Intelligent CIO North America

View Magazine Archive