Disaster Recovery

An international B2B insurance company had an expensive disaster recovery plan.  They had essentially cloned their primary U.S.-based data center to Amsterdam.  Their plan was to smoke test logon to systems (~ more than 200) to demonstrate a successful execution of business continuity.

This was expensive, since the Amsterdam data center sat idle about 11 months out of the year and incomplete.  It did not demonstrate that critical end-to-end business systems could function completely, and did not demonstrate to compliance that the business could survive in the event of some catastrophic event.

The broad term for this project was business continuity planning and execution of key functions for survivability. This is what we did:

  • Collect system architecture diagrams and complete the missing components for Insurance, Reinsurance, Accident & Health, and Corporate.
  • Complete a set of use cases demonstrating the minimal functions required to write a policy, pay out a claim, collect a premium, and produce end of month ledger reports.
  • Create an executive briefing document (3 pages) showing minimum time to recreate critical systems and how much potential data might be lost.
  • Develop comprehensive checklist to conduct the test, communication plan to inform, and set of synthetic transactions to be used to demonstrate business survivability

When the test was completed over a very long weekend, it demonstrated that the business could survive for at least 30 days while less critical systems could be rebuilt.  It paved the way to reduce costs from idle assets and satisfied compliance.

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