Med James Inc.

The Background

Med James, Inc. is a privately held insurance intermediary placing commercial and personal lines through independent retail agencies. As such, they underwrite and broker individual submissions according to the risk selection and pricing guidelines of their A-rated admitted and non-admitted company partners. Additionally, their insurance company, Key, is an admitted carrier insuring private passenger auto in three states. The Company operates from six locations in addition to its Overland Park, Kansas headquarters. The IT department of six professionals, including the manager Ed Sitz, supports all headquarters and branch office locations from Overland Park.

The IT Situation

Ed joined Med James in 2002 and currently oversees their entire IT operation. He and his team managethe central data center and handles technology needs arising from both sides of the Company’s business – commercial and personal lines. They are responsible for all infrastructure, operating systems, telecommunications, security and the day-to-day software that runs the business units.

The IT Challenge

The Company maintains 20-25 terabytes of data that require regular backup. For years, backup was handled in-house. “Believe it or not,” Ed explained, “we were using tapes for backup for the longest time.” He described how the whole process for doing backup and disaster recovery was difficult, time-consuming and risky. “We accepted a much higher level of risk with our approach than what you would expect from an insurance company,” he elaborated. Every three years, when maintenance contracts were up for renewal, the team would explore other data backup options. For one reason or another, other IT initiatives took precedent and making the change was postponed. When the IT Department was ready to upgrade their approach, they initially selected Veeam. The infrastructure required to run Veeam was substantial and required many servers. It was very expensive from the outset, according to Ed. On top of the cost, the solution had operational problems daily from the start, he added. “It was a struggle to make sure the data backup actually completed in the first place, much less on time with Veeam,” he explained. They even pared down the data to try to make it work more efficiently. Yet, problems continued, even with overnight backups. “There were occasions in which we were not even sure the data backups were even valid.” It would sometimes take days to correct the problems once they started. “We also needed another site, off premise, for the backup in case of a real emergency. We didn’t even have that with Veeam.” The team was more than ready to make a switch. They created and circulated an RFP. They also approached their partner, FREEit, for suggestions.

The Solution

Assured Data Protection was introduced and ultimately chosen for the managed service approach to the Rubrik platform, ‘Rubrik-as-a-Service’. Assured manages all the backup locally as well as their off-site location at the Equinix data center in Virginia. Disaster recovery tasks are also provided, if and when needed. “With Assured, data backup is on autopilot,” Ed describes. “If something should fail, I get an alert. I’m not in the dark anymore.” Ed praises the ability to log into a dashboard and see everything that is taking place. I rarely do that more than once a week, he adds. The automatic daily report that summarises the success rate of the backup provides tremendous peace of mind. Most of all, he is pleased with all the newly found time that he longer has to devote to data backup. “I gained so much time each day that it’s hard to quantify.”

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