How the Malaysian Highway Authority Modernised Its Business Operations

Veeam Software recently announced that the Malaysian Highway Authority (MHA), the government agency in charge of the design, construction, operation, maintenance, and toll collection for 1,820 kilometres of highways and expressways across Malaysia, has chosen Veeam Availability Suite and Aegis to modernise their data protection.

To learn more about the strategic partnership with Veeam and how it has aided MHA in modernising its data protection and management capabilities, DSA spoke with Mr Mohd Sukri bin Shuib, Assistant Director of Technology at the Malaysian Highway Authority.

He started the interview by painting a picture of the agency’s own digital transformation journey. Today, MHA must evaluate each kilometre using a variety of IT applications in order to improve safety, reduce traffic congestion, and integrate automation. These include an expressway performance indicator system, a highway construction monitoring process, and a toll-road evaluation system. 

“Beyond these, MHA’s website is also critical in providing travellers with helpful maps, construction updates, traffic status and toll-rate information. It is crucial to ensure that the website and IT applications supporting highway management, maintenance, and customer service are well-protected,” said Sukri.

All of this generates a large amount of data, and MHA requires qualitative and quantitative data to support its daily operations. It manages raw data such as images, videos, and highway traffic, all of which require solid backup. This information is derived from a variety of sources, including government agencies, third parties, and concessions. 

Fulfilling the Need for Modern Data Protection

“Given the sheer volume of data MHA collects daily that needs to be backed up every 8 hours per day for those stored in the critical system and once a day for the rest of the data, it required a robust solution,” Sukri explained. 

He shared how MHA’s backup solution was rapidly becoming obsolete. There were times when data backup was slow and data recovery was unreliable, making it increasingly difficult for MHA to meet recovery objectives in the Malaysian government’s business continuity standards. Outdated and unreliable backup solutions also meant that MHA was extremely vulnerable to cyber attacks.

When confronted with the challenges posed by the out-of-date backup solution, MHA needed to find a replacement right away. According to Sukri, MHA was looking for a solution that would simplify and streamline data protection, while also strengthening its backup and disaster recovery strategy. By combining Veeam Availability Suite, Veeam Cloud Connect, and Aegis Secure Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery (DR) Service, MHA was able to resolve these issues and significantly improve its data protection capabilities.

He further explained that Veeam backs up and replicates up to 10 TB of data across more than 20 physical and virtual machines (VMs) on-premises and off-premises to Aegis. Veeam Cloud Connect links MHA to Aegis, enabling the agency to extend data protection to the cloud without the cost and complexity of managing a second infrastructure. The Veeam and Aegis solution ensured backups and replicas are encrypted and secure, increasing MHA’s protection against ransomware attacks.

To put it simply, the Veeam and Aegis modernised data protection solutions enable MHA to effectively meet recovery objectives and business continuity standards required by the Malaysian government. 

Furthermore, Veeam offers several features that MHA’s legacy backup did not provide. For example, Veeam ONE includes monitoring and reporting for resolving issues proactively, while Veeam DataLabs enables verifying the recoverability of backups and replicas. 

Sukri went on to say, “Scalability is another crucial feature because MHA’s data proliferate due to CCTV coverage that monitors traffic daily. Veeam is also hardware, software, and storage neutral. As Veeam backs up any workload on any hardware to any storage, MHA did not need to invest in new resources, which reduced annual IT costs by 50%.”

This has allowed MHA to re-allocate its financial resources to other business functions.

Further Benefits Gained From the Partnership

Aside from the cost-effectiveness aspect, Veeam and Aegis have assisted MHA in modernising its business operations in the following ways: 

  • Aegis Managed Services provided MHA with unlimited Disaster Recovery (DR) drills in a year, which are hosted by expert disaster recovery drill professionals. These drills help ensure MHA’s DR plan’s workability and secure the organisation from any unprecedented attacks. 

  • By monitoring and managing data backup and disaster recovery operations, allowing the organisation’s IT personnel to free up time from completing administrative tasks and focus on addressing more crucial business pain points.

  • Providing a consolidated dashboard for monitoring that helps streamline asset monitoring, with automated backup regularly scheduled.

Lastly, with cyber threats being such a huge phenomenon for the past couple of months, MHA was also announced to have successfully implemented the ISO 27001.

ISO 27001 is an internationally recognised best practice framework for an Information Security Management System (ISMS). An ISMS is a holistic approach to securing the confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA) of corporate information assets. It consists of policies, procedures and other controls involving people, processes, and technology.

Sukri explained that good compliance with the ISO 27001 standard represents MHA’s commitment to establishing a management system relevant to information security and continual improvement. With a successful and effective ISO 27001 implementation, MHA is able to deliver better practices in security management moving forward.

“This also raises MHA’s credibility as a government representative, thereby strengthening the government’s trust in the agency to manage Malaysia’s highway operations. Beyond that, the implementation of the framework also helps to ensure business continuity, legal compliance, improved risk management, and optimal customer satisfaction,” Sukri concludes.

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