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Eastman Credit Union

Eastman Credit Union (ECU) consistently ranks as one of the best credit unions in the country for providing overall service and value to members. Since 1934, the Kingsport, TN-based credit union has stood for strength, safety and security with no slowing down in the pursuit to provide products and services that their members want. In order to ensure that their 120,000+ members always have access to their accounts, ECU has chosen to locate their backup data center in North America’s first commercial datacenter to receive a Tier III (or higher) certification by the Uptime Institute: the OnePartner ATAC datacenter.

Joe Coates, Eastman Credit Union’s IT Representative, whose primary responsibilities are oversight of Information Security and Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery programs, was tasked with overhauling their DR strategy. With over 25 years of IT experience and more than 18 years with the credit union, he is very well qualified for the task. Coates recalls that “we had a traditional ‘backup and restore’ system that was no longer adequate, so we replaced it with a real time synchronous backup system utilizing SAN storage, bi-directional data replication, server virtualization and disk-based backups instead of tape.”

While this was certainly an improvement, the credit union was using another branch across town from their main headquarters as a backup facility. The plan called for a more robust data center for backups that still had high speed telecommunications links to support the real time servers. It turns out that the OnePartner ATAC datacenter fit the bill.

In terms of security, the OnePartner ATAC datacenter also was ideal since they offer digital video surveillance, 24x7 support/security and both biometric and proximity card access to protect the credit union’s mission critical servers. Coates emphasizes that “it is a good feeling to know that everything is guarded 24/7/365 and that we can really rely on the OnePartner staff.” He recalls that the move in 2010 was “one of the easiest ones that I have ever been associated with in my IT career – everything went very smooth.”

Coates and his team also appreciate the OnePartners’ staff flexible and ongoing support. “If we need for them to go into our server racks and help reboot a server, they go out of their way to help and we appreciate their flexibility,” says Coates. OnePartner’s system features a simple online ticketing process that streamlines any requests for assistance. In terms of regular testing, Coates explains that “we are on the same page with them when it comes to business continuity strategy.” It also helps with the NCUA examiners that the ATAC datacenter and staff have been through many professional audits as well as completing a SAS-70, Type II compliance audit.

Another reason that ECU chose OnePartner is their physical location in Duffield, VA. This location is protected in many ways:

• surrounded by protective mountains
• beyond the 500-year flood plain (the highest rating possible)
• rare tornado activity
• no hurricane threats
• not near an earthquake fault line
• not in commercial flight path
• over a mile from a railroad
• nestled in a rural town with a small population

Coates states that “we are lucky to have such a facility right in our backyard. He concludes that “OnePartner’s datacenter and staff complement our business continuity strategy and support us in our ongoing efforts to provide a safe and secure environment for our members’ financial needs.”

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