Own gives colo and cloud company LightEdge Solutions one less thing to worry about by easily backing up data.

Growth impacts data. And good, backed up data is the bedrock of successful growth.

LightEdge Solutions has serviced its customers with cloud and colocation (colo) solutions for over three decades. LightEdge knows that it must reassure customers that their data is secure, and looks to Own to provide this peace of mind.

But it took a while for the company to get there: LightEdge itself hasn’t always had that same reassurance. “We were trusting that our hosting partners were resilient and that their core processing was enough,” LightEdge CIO and CSO Michael Hannan explains. “Obviously, that's not a safe way to do business.”

So how did LightEdge overcome these challenges and provide its own guarantee to customers about the security of the data it managed? In using Own, LightEdge was able to save its worry for more pressing issues.

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Backup and Recovery

Connecting Own to the world of LightEdge

LightEdge Director of Business Architecture Luke Bergeron has worked with the company for 10 years and is responsible for back office systems. He uses Own to backup LightEdge's two primary platforms, Salesforce and ServiceNow.

LightEdge is currently experiencing a lot of change. The company is swapping out and updating its backend systems, encompassing change and project management, and expanding its footprint—which is growing alongside the scope of the roles of both Michael and Luke. “Everything in compliance and security continues to morph,” Michael highlights.

They’ll admit that just two years ago, there wasn’t a compelling story to tell around data. But since GI Partners’ acquisition of LightEdge in 2021, LightEdge has quickly become an important vehicle for GI Partners’ growth. “We’re the platform company [for GI Partners] to realize significant growth,” Michael explains. “We’ve had to completely revamp our back office, all supporting systems, and how we do business internally.” Enterprise-grade tools support this organic growth have been key as it expands: both the number of data centers and companies bought.

“We’re trying to be leaner and better at securing data for our customers,” Michael says. “These platforms are integral to our growth plan and data processing.”

The pre-Own situation

With approximately 1,300 clients in highly regulated industries—spanning healthcare, finance, manufacturing, and SaaS—LightEdge differentiates how it’s built its data centers and clouds from the managed services the company provides to clients over the top of that infrastructure.

Between LightEdge’s own 250 employees and the employees at each of its clients, there are “astronomical numbers of people hosted on our platform,” Michael emphasizes. Within the finance sector alone, some credit card processing companies have millions of customers—and LightEdge manages that data. “The amount of data and number of people touched are pretty staggering,” he says.

LightEdge sells backup and ransomware protection for specific workloads. But as recently as 2022, “I don't think we were doing anything from a backup perspective,” Michael says. “When it came to data—specifically around off-the-shelf tools provided by Microsoft, Salesforce, and ServiceNow—we were trusting that the vendors themselves were resilient enough.” The problem was that LightEdge had no control over the data or protection. “It wasn’t super granular, and obviously, that’s not a safe way to do business,” Michael says. 

“For our two primary platforms, we just had 24-hour snapshot backups—no granularity at all,” Luke adds. “We’ve definitely improved since then.”

Moment of enlightenment

LightEdge initially introduced Own for Salesforce. The key decision-maker in that process has since left LightEdge, but as Luke explains, “he was frustrated and had had enough of trying to restore data,” which led him to Own as a solution. LightEdge’s success with Own for Salesforce had him going from sales to operations and convincing the department to get Own for ServiceNow as well. 

While LightEdge thankfully never suffered an actual disaster, Michael says that the company has conducted readiness exercises with external auditors to comply with ISO 22301 based on business continuity and disaster recovery (DR). “That required us to perform a much more detailed business impact assessment on all of our core systems,” he clarifies.

LightEdge hosted live data and had multiple redundancies and air gap solutions for retention of that data. But in the back office, Michael admits that “there wasn't much of a thought process around DR and business continuity.” LightEdge didn’t independently back up the products it used. Why? Because it thought the owners of those products would take care of the data. 

With no backup, LightEdge had no control over its clients’ data security. The data LightEdge manages on behalf of its clients is split between:

  • Salesforce for sales: account creation, opportunity management, quoting, and currently transitioning into billing—currently “still in a vendor snapshot scenario,” Luke says
  • ServiceNow for operations: customer ticketing, account and service management, LightEdge’s configuration management database (CMDB), and data center management

As such, it was crucial that LightEdge take ownership over this data as quickly as possible. After LightEdge backed up the Salesforce and ServiceNow data with Own, the company’s data resiliency matured significantly. 

How LightEdge backs up ServiceNow 

ServiceNow manages data based on “weeks of discovery processes running and trending analysis—and all the things that the platform does,” Luke explains. CMDB labor cost replacement alone is huge.

“In the event of a catastrophic data loss, we would lose weeks—if not months—of effort,” Luke says. This isn’t just manual effort, but also trending data collected and snapshotted daily. “We can't go back in time and recollect what a trend looks like over the last six months,” he says. LightEdge also has customer-facing support ticketing and service inventories that would go down in the event of data loss.

“We continue to throw more into ServiceNow to support everything within our organization outside of Sales,” Michael says. “It's been a significant investment for ours, but we've already started to see returns to help support employees and provide customer service.”

Why LightEdge uses Own and what it’s like day-to-day

LightEdge looked at off-the-shelf solutions that meant they didn’t have to back up with their own internal platforms. The company’s Salesforce rep recommended Own as the standout.

Why does LightEdge use Own for Salesforce and ServiceNow? Here are just a few of the benefits LightEdge has reaped since deciding to use Own:

  • Cost-effectiveness: “For the price, [Own] made sense out-of-the-box: it does exactly what we need it to do, and using it has been an easy decision,” Michael says. “Own’s suite of services makes it a no-brainer: minimal management relative to the cost of building it internally.” 
  • Granular restoration: One of Luke’s “favorite features is the ability to restore individual records without having to pull up a whole backup.” 
  • Great insurance policy: Day-to-day, Luke says it’s been “set it and forget it for the most part.” Since LightEdge has installed Own onto its platforms, they haven’t needed to use it to protect against actual disaster or recovery. “That’s a knock-on-wood scenario: You never want to have to use it for that kind of thing,” Luke highlights.
  • Integration, not just backup: LightEdge also continues to experiment with Own to ensure it can meet LightEdge’s needs and also push what the company can achieve. “We’ve started looking at different integrations,” Luke says. “Own has the ability to dump to SnowFlake [another tool LightEdge uses], which is interesting, because it's more than just a backup tool—it could be an integration source as well.”
  • Critical data safety net: Both Salesforce and ServiceNow contain a lot of data. An especially large number of LightEdge’s employees are able to change more in ServiceNow than by using Salesforce. But in each case, both Michael and Luke find knowing about Own’s features deeply reassuring.
  • Rollback minor errors that usually have bigger ripple effects: LightEdge’s Salesforce developer uses Own to seamlessly rollback components or instances when people erroneously make configuration or reporting changes that would’ve otherwise taken much longer to correct. “We saw pretty quick benefits from it,” Michael says. 
  • Crowd-pleaser: In addition to SnowFlake, LightEdge uses Tableau and Fivetran. “As soon as Fivetran found out LightEdge used Own, the company was really excited that LightEdge could move and backup data daily,” Michael says. Fivetran told LightEdge that this capability from Own was directly part of Fivetran’s data and AI strategy. “It seamlessly fits in there,” he adds.

Owning the future

In line with GI Partners’ investment philosophy, LightEdge is taking an aggressive growth stance for the future. They’ve already acquired two companies and built four more data centers since the acquisition.

“GI Partners’ investments into these underlying platforms to help support our growth is great,” Michael says. “We don't have to do this with homegrown, lightly-supported platforms—we've invested in the best.”

While other companies might plead lack of cash to back up their customers’ data, LightEdge goes straight to the source for security and peace of mind: “We pick great tools and spend the money to do those things,” Michael emphasizes. LightEdge “has a very aggressive timeline built upon top-notch platforms—we never want to work backwards from data loss or lack of resilience.” All acquisitions follow the LightEdge model—which encompasses Salesforce, ServiceNow, and Own.

“Because we're a colo and cloud company, backups are our business as well,” Luke adds. “We understand the value of peace of mind. That's what makes Own priceless: it’s something I don't have to worry about. And we have a lot of other things we need to worry about.”

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It was a pretty easy decision for us to [choose Own]. With the suite of services Own continues to add, it's a no-brainer. [Required] management is so minimal compared to the cost of building something internally.
For the most part, [using Own] has been 'set it and forget it'. One of my favorite features is the ability to restore individual records without having to pull up a whole backup
Luke Bergeron
Director of Business Architecture
One week after we implemented it, [Own] paid for itself because someone had made a configuration change that would have taken significant time to rollback or figure out. And the [Own] tool allowed that to be done seamlessly. We saw pretty quick benefits from it.
Michael Hannan
Backup and Recovery