Radhika Nallayam

The reasons could be anything—a natural disaster, unintentional human error or cyberattack, but no business can afford downtime and critical data loss. Disaster recovery strategies and solutions have thus become the core of business continuity plans today.

For the financial institutions and insurance sector, a robust disaster recovery plan is an absolute necessity. Nevertheless, a traditional approach to DR often results in increased costs, complexities and unreliable disaster recovery systems. Cloud is therefore emerging as a viable disaster recovery platform option for organizations that deal with critical data.

In fact, many organizations are realising the possibilities and values of cloud-based DR solutions, rather than evaluating it from a cost perspective alone.

Kotak General Insurance is a great case in point here.

Very recently, when the company decided to set up a DR site, it had multiple parameters to factor-in.

Suresh Sankaranarayanan, CTO of Kotak General Insurance, highlights the priorities–“We had three key thoughts when we wanted to set-up a DR site. First was the ability to scale-up, without having to make huge upfront investments. The second was skills and operational ease since it becomes an uphill task to replicate specialized technology skill set in the DR site. Lastly, and very importantly the risks around cloud and the security framework.”

A cloud-based DR model was evaluated as the most suitable solution by the team. In a cloud-based approach, scalability is an on-demand feature and can be done in a few clicks, Sankaranarayanan adds.

The cloud model, combined with managed services, allowed the insurer to significantly reduce cost, optimize efficiency and skills sets. Experts and skill sets are available at the service provider and closer to the site, giving much assurance and confidence to the company.

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Bridging the ‘security’ Gap

Security still remains a burning question for companies that decide to go for DR on cloud. Security should be a top priority if you’re evaluating a cloud-model, says Sankaranarayanan, and requires a bottoms-up approach.

“In the cloud, the greatest risk is “security”. If one has to take the DR site to the cloud, security posture has to be improved multi fold,” he says. He says that the challenge can be tackled only by creating a culture of heighted security awareness within the organization, by involving all stakeholders.

“All stakeholders automatically support the push to an upgraded Security framework. Thus a journey to the cloud finally results in an enhanced security posture which is most desired.”

The DR project is one of the key technology initiatives for the insurer, spearheaded by Sanakranarayanan and his team. Benefits are plenty–the DR automation and management service implemented offers built-in data replication and DR SLAs are monitored real-time, with visibility to automated DR drills and tamper-proof audit/compliance reports.

“The end result was a DR Site built on a scalable model at optimized cost woven around a strong security framework,” sums up Sankaranarayanan.





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