To safeguard its clients’ sensitive and financial data, the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA) – an organization helping teachers through retirement – transformed its aging system with a modern solution that addresses the growing threats from ransomware and other cyber threats.

TIAA oversees over $1.2 trillion in assets under management for millions of individuals working in education, government, medical, cultural entities, and other nonprofits. TIAA relies on Dell Technologies solutions to provide robust protection and cyber resiliency for its constantly growing customer and financial information against potential attacks.

“Dell Technologies data protection solutions ensure that data is available for TIAA users whenever they need it.” Rusty Martin, the senior engineer for the Mainframe Group at TIAA, said in a Dell Technologies customer report.

Previously, TIAA backed up its mainframe data to tape. The physical tape systems were housed in 18 large mainframe tape systems occupying 2,500 sq. ft. in the organization’s data center.

Backup was inefficient and costly, requiring manual handling to scan barcodes and ship the physical tapes back and forth to an offsite storage facility. In addition, preparing for recovery or disaster recovery testing meant loading many physical tapes, which was manually intensive and time-consuming.

Dell Disk Library for mainframe (DLm) and Dell PowerProtect DD series appliances have streamlined the process and made it much more efficient.

“Data protection is extremely important. We need to be prepared for anything that might happen. Dell Technologies data protection solutions ensure that data is available for TIAA users whenever they need it,” Martin said.

With DLm and PowerProtect DD, TIAA stores more than four petabytes of data used by its core applications running on mainframe systems. TIAA has also eliminated duplicated data and reduced backup storage requirements by more than 80 percent. In addition, recovery from a potential disaster could be underway in as little as five minutes.

“DLm and PowerProtect DD have done a great job of eliminating lost tapes, improving our efficiency, and simplifying disaster recovery,” Martin said.

TIAA also utilizes the Dell Data Protection Suite with Avamar and PowerProtect DD series for backup, site swap, and disaster recovery for its open, distributed systems right to the edge.

Martin explained that the Dell Data Protection Suite and DD series appliances efficiently protect critical data across the enterprise and deliver a high total rate of return. This is especially important because TIAA needs its mainframe-based core systems and distributed systems to be seamlessly protected.

“The Dell TLA enables us to leverage Dell Technologies data protection solutions across multiple products, lowering our costs over time,” explains Martin. “We want the tools from our data protection solutions on both our mainframe and distributed systems to be seamless and uncomplicated, so we can sleep at night.”