Star Union Dai-ichi enables Cloud for back-up & recovery

Powered by Sify, Star Union Dai-ichi becomes the first BFSI company to enable cloud backup and recovery, enjoying substantial cost savings and reduced time-to-deployment.

When India’s two leading banks - Bank of India and Union Bank of India, and Japan’s Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance Company came together to set up a joint venture life insurance company called the Star Union Dai-ichi, in 2008, IT wasto play a very important role in making them a strong player in the Indian Life Insurance market in a short time. So much so that it became the first company in the BFSI sector to harness the power of the Cloud to set up a Back-up and Disaster Recovery Service, with the help of Sify Technologies - its trusted technology partner. Here is how they did it.

Need for a Secondary DR Site

Driven by insurance and regulatory compliances, Star Union Dai-ichi was looking for an off-site back-up and disaster recovery site in a city falling under a different seismic zone from its primary datacenter. It was criticalthat they have this secondary site set up quickly, while not compromising on security at the same time. Since its primary data was being hosted by Sify at its Tier-III Plus data centre at Airoli in Mumbai, Sify suggested setting up Star Union Dai-ichi’s secondary disaster recovery services in cloud infrastructure at Sify’s Bangalore data centre,using a secure VPN and SSL. From here all operations relating to investment, risk management, settlement, cash flow preparation, NAV computation, funding for redemption processing could be carried out in case of a disaster.

Mitigating Security Concerns

What Sify did was to set up a secure VPN (Virtual Private Network) exclusively for Star Union Dai-ichi, connecting its primary data centre in Mumbai to the backup site in Bangalore using a 168 3DES encryption, which is considered secure enough for military use. Since both the data centers are on the same network backbone, bandwidth was not anissue. The RTO (Recovery Time Objective) and RPO (Recovery Point Objective), the most crucial factors in the case of Disaster Recovery is just two hours, says Shivkumar Pandey, Assistant Vice-President, IT Infrastructure and Security, Star Union Dai-ichi Life Insurance. The company had done its due diligence and was satisfied with the security framework of the service. “We knew where our data would be hosted, unlike in a faceless server on a public cloud. Sifyenabled end-to-end data encryption at both the sites and only four employees from the IT and investment teams have access to the data”, adds Shiv.


Moving on to an Opex model from the start, instead of a Capex model helped Star Union get management buy-in easily. According to Harnath Babu, Head-IT, Star Union Dai-ichi Life Insurance, setting up a similar service in an on-premise data centre would not just have taken a considerably longer time, but would have cost almost 70 percent more. Apart from the cost benefit, the whole process was implemented in just ten days, which included getting internal approvals, setting up the infrastructure implementing and testing the service. A traditional approach would have taken a minimum of two months, which we could not afford. Sify’s cloud provided a flexible and scalable infrastructure to which we could add or reduce capacity as and when required, he adds.

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