Unibuddy connects – and protects – students and their data

We recently sat down with Kimeshan Naidoo, CTO and co-founder of Unibuddy. Kimeshan co-founded the company in 2015 to empower university applicants to make better decisions about their higher education journey based on human connections with their peers.

A digital environment where important decisions don’t need to be made alone

“University prospectuses and websites can only go so far,” says Kimeshan. “Engaging in one-to-one conversations with other students who have real-life experiences to share about their higher education journeys at various institutions gives young people a more precise understanding of the pros and cons of pursuing different learning paths at different venues.”

Kimeshan and his team developed a SaaS-based online platform that’s embedded in university websites and easily accessible to prospective students. It connects university applicants with current students to get a solid grounding of what to expect from those who know best. The solution is also available to students via a platform on university websites and mobile apps.

“We currently work with about 600 universities across the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and other countries in Europe and Asia. Our university customers sign up for an annual subscription, but it’s available free of charge to prospective students,” says Kimeshan.

The code backup imperative

Approximately half of Unibuddy’s 125 employees work in product and engineering and extensively use GitHub for coding and development. As part of his commitment to risk due diligence and mitigation, Kimeshan sought to ensure he had a reliable mechanism in place to back up all of Unibuddy’s code.

This includes maintaining robust backup processes that ensure data is always protected and available to users—even in unwelcome or unexpected events such as natural disasters, cyberattacks, and accidental data corruption or deletion.

Pre-empting black swan events

Kimeshan knows that black swan events happen rarely, but when they do, they can destroy a company overnight. “Part of my job as a director and an executive is making sure my company isn’t vulnerable,” he explains.

“In addition, a backup solution made business sense because it comes up frequently in the security questionnaires we have to complete for our prospective university customers. Before signing up for our service, they want a guarantee that our systems, data, and code are comprehensively backed up and that we can restore them in case of a disaster. I also wanted a backup solution to ensure we could achieve and maintain compliance with ISO 27001 standards.”

Certifications like ISO 27001 is considered one the most thorough audit organizations can go through to prove they’ve taken all necessary steps to protect business and user data. To successfully earn this certification, a company’s backup processes must align with its business continuity plan, and the tools it uses should be able to handle its backup processes.

While ISO 27001 compliance isn’t a legal requirement, the certification is especially beneficial to organizations that deal with sensitive information. They send a clear signal that the company takes data security seriously and considers it a business priority.

Minimizing the impact of data loss

Kimeshan adds that a third motivation for investing in a backup solution was evidence that the company had taken pre-emptive action to minimize the impact of an unwelcome data loss event.

“We wanted to ensure we could always present an audit trail, such as screenshots, logs, and timestamps that prove we’ve restored the backup. Being able to quickly and easily do that and provide all the necessary information was critical for us from a legal and compliance perspective.”

Kimeshan searched for backup solutions for GitHub on Google and found BackHub, now known as Rewind Backups for GitHub.

Rewind is built from the ground up with a “security-first” ethos. As experts in data backups, security isn’t just a feature — it’s at the core of what we do. We’re upfront about sharing our security practices, and we keep our security portal updated regularly. Customers can also subscribe to receive update notifications.

Set and forget

Another particularly appealing feature for Kimeshan about Rewind Backups for GitHub was the ease of use.

“Of course, being able to easily connect and integrate the backup solution with our apps was appealing, but the ability to ‘set and forget’ was also really important. When it comes to backup, we didn’t want something we had to constantly maintain and update. The more automated the solution and the more we can just pay for it and forget about it, the better.”

Kimeshan Naidoo
CTO, Unibuddy

The all-important trust factor

Another of Kimeshan’s key motivations for partnering with Rewind was its solid reputation for delivering on its promises.

“When you invest in a backup solution, you’re trusting your provider with a very important task. We recently had a bad experience with a code coverage tool vendor that let us down, so we’re especially vigilant about any potential vendors’ track records of trust, reliability, and transparency. That’s something we found in Rewind,” he adds.