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Enterprise-Class Data Governance Helps Global Nonprofit Focus on Overcoming Poverty and Social Injustice

 Odaseva automates the intricacies of backup, restore, and retention – allowing Oxfam to keep a laser focus on its global mission  

Oxfam is a global nonprofit organization working to end the injustice of poverty. International in scope, Oxfam retains affiliations in 20 countries and dedicates its resources to emergency response and preparedness, as well as programs to overcome poverty, campaigning for social justice, and provide public education. Oxfam’s mission, with support from donors, has sustained its programs and expanded its global footprint for 78 years, since its founding in 1942.

As a charitable organization, Oxfam is regulated and has a public-records retention policy for handling, backing up, archiving, and destroying documents. And, Oxfam, like other European entities, is also subject to data protection and privacy regulations such as GDPR.

Given the number of compliance and data privacy laws that even charities must adhere to, Oxfam turned to Odaseva for aid in automating its backup, restore, and retention for data relating to its supporters – to ensure compliance.


A Look Back

Phil Blaney Oxfam GB

We needed to provide a better experience for our supporters, and, for one thing, that involved a move from our old CRM platform to Salesforce,” said Philip Blaney, Technical Design Authority at Oxfam GB. “With that move it was key for us to be able to safely and securely backup our supporter data.

Oxfam GB also needed to ensure that it could scale while continuing to safeguard the personal data of its supporters. Oxfam keeps and manages that data in Salesforce – a foundational component in Oxfam’s ability to serve and document its many charitable missions around the globe.

But Oxfam GB also knew that, in moving to the cloud, it would need to partner its Salesforce platform with an enterprise-class backup solution for securing its supporter data. It was then that the organization adopted the Odaseva platform. “We conducted a market appraisal before we selected Odaseva. We found that other tools came with a high upfront cost and that we wouldn’t get the full feature set we were looking for.

“By contrast, the flexibility and modularity of Odaseva’s pricing model allowed us to adopt the capabilities that are relevant to our needs now – and to add additional capabilities later if our needs change.”

Oxfam Begins Its Governance Journey with Data Protection

Oxfam’s first goal was to ensure it had a bulletproof backup and security strategy for its Salesforce database. “The Odaseva platform enables us to manage our backups of the Salesforce platform through a single interface that ensures the data remains safe and secure at all points in the data lifecycle,” said Blaney.

“We’re still relatively new Salesforce users, and we could see it had functionality that we could grow into as we needed it – especially as our business and requirements change. We went live with our phase 1 users last September, and the rest of our users and processes went live in January, 2020.”

For Oxfam GB, a key component to managing its operations is visibility. “All of our backups are managed and monitored by Odaseva,” said Blaney. “As part of our onboarding, Odaseva worked with us, and they set up and administered our schedules of backup jobs. We have visibility into how they split the jobs, and I can go in, for example, and see the last hundred jobs and the time that each completed. Odaseva also configured an app within the platform to easily see what was and wasn’t being backed up, giving us an easy way to see, at a glance, that our key data is protected.

Blaney gets a measure of confidence in knowing that backups are not only automated but fully secured. “When you set up an account with Odaseva, you also set up a key that is unique to Oxfam—and, without that key, nobody, including Odaseva, can access your data.”

“If we need to restore data to production or to a sandbox environment, the data remains in one place and secure,” he added. “We can also compare the data and the config metadata, all within the Odaseva platform.”

As part of onboarding, Odaseva looked at Oxfam’s data to ensure that all critical data in the organization would be backed up on a schedule. “Most importantly, Odaseva gives us the same options as a traditional on-premise backup solution, allowing us to have a backup schedule that suits our needs.”

Oxfam GB backs up not only user data, but also the metadata behind it. That is an automated process. “What distinguishes one Salesforce org[1] from another is the metadata, which is essentially a configuration setting. Odaseva backs up that metadata as a separate job. Say you made a configuration error – maybe you changed a config setting, field or label. You can easily recover that metadata to get that config back. So, you’re protecting not just the data itself but the platform, too.

He added that, because Odaseva offers critical functionalities on a single platform, admins find daily operations to be more streamlined. “A single-pane view of our backups makes it very easy. We go to a portal where we see a dashboard of open jobs. I know where everything is. I know where our data is.”

And how does Oxfam GB ensure that it can meet the demands of external auditors? “The dashboard, which displays all our backup jobs, when they ran, and how that data is being securely stored, enables us to show evidence of compliance at any time we need to.

[1] A Salesforce org is an identifier that represents a customer’s version of Salesforce and its data within an instance.

Sandboxing Aids Oxfam in Managing Salesforce Data

The anonymized sandbox is also a critical requirement for Oxfam GB, said Blaney. One of the guiding principles of GDPR pertains to ‘lawfulness, fairness and transparency.’ “We can use Odaseva to anonymize supporter data in a sandbox, and that ensures that we are respecting the principles of GDPR. Being able to work with that data in an anonymized sandbox is a big win for us,” he said.

“The GDPR module of the Odaseva platform was attractive to us. It is impressive and in such close alignment with GDPR policies. We could see how it would be easy to demonstrate compliance.”

There’s a way that the Odaseva tool aligns itself with the clauses of GDPR,” he said. “One example is GDPR’s assurance of the Right to Be Forgotten — one of the fundamentals of achieving GDPR compliance. If a consumer says, ‘I don’t want you to store my data anymore,’ the tool shows you quite easily how you can meet that requirement.”

Internal Users

Oxfam GB’s Public Engagement Division is on the front line in working with the company’s supporters. “They have one-to-one relationships with supporters in all forms of engagement, such as fundraising, campaigning for change through advocacy, petitions and activism, educational resources, volunteering, and partnership relationships with organizations, community groups, schools and non-institutional trusts.

“In terms of the visibility of Odaseva, many of our internal users don’t even know that Odaseva exists – which is a sign that we’re doing our job well. They rely on us as their Ecosystem Support Team in looking after the platform. We want our teams to focus on doing their work rather than having to worry about the underlying systems they use.”

And Blaney wants to keep it that way.Today, with Odaseva, we have data protection, operations, data privacy automation, and security on a single platform, available from a single pane of glass. We know where all our data is. We don’t have to worry that our data is moving around. And we know where it is being stored. It makes life infinitely easier for us. And it allows us to keep a laser focus on fighting to end poverty.

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