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Antares operates a well-regarded syndicate at Lloyd’s that underwrites a diverse range of specialist risks – including property, casualty, marine and aviation – on a worldwide basis. Its vision is to provide clients and business partners with an efficient, effective service and a consistent approach to risk transfer. For this reason, it places great importance on sound business continuity provision and has a longstanding partnership with Sungard AS.
IT Manager Vicky Grimshaw explains, “In this day and age, we can’t afford not to have access to our in-house systems, email or intranet – without them we can’t agree or pay claims. Any downtime could reflect badly not only on our own reputation but also that of the Lloyd’s brand.”
Any prolonged period of downtime would have serious repercussions for Antares. This would lead to reputational damage and financial loss – potentially preventing Antares from underwriting if systems were down. This would be particularly damaging during December, the most crucial month for its numerous January renewals.
As a Sungard AS customer since 1999, Antares has long recognised the importance of ensuring it remains available to do business and invests in Sungard AS’s business continuity services including Electronic Vaulting and Workplace Recovery. Vicky Grimshaw, IT Manager for Antares syndicate at Lloyd’s comments, “Sungard gives us excellent service. We have had various incidents over the years and Sungard has always been very quick to respond and more than ready to help when we’ve needed them. I have confidence in their technical ability.”
Although to date Antares has not yet needed to invoke in a disaster, in line with good practice it tests its systems annually. However, as its data volumes increased, the firm found recovery from backup data was taking an inordinate amount of time. The underwriter was forced to allow a five-day window for a routine test to ensure it could recover all its data and rebuild comms links so that the firm’s multiple servers could talk to each other. There had to be a better way.
Sungard AS suggested replication as a solution and collaborated with specialist replication partner, Capital Continuity. Antares has been delighted with the service, from implementation through to the present day. Vicky Grimshaw remarks, “Capital Continuity was very knowledgeable and supportive during set-up, which is never straightforward and inevitably involves a lot of work. Like Sungard, they’re very quick to respond and proactive in their support, alerting us if there’s a potential problem. Most importantly, our technical team has complete confidence in their technical team.”
The introduction of replication has transformed Antares’ experience of testing, cutting its recovery time from as much as five days to mere hours. A single server can now be back online and available to the business within half an hour and all of its live production servers within three hours. “It’s fantastic – we should have done it years ago,” exclaims Vicky Grimshaw. “Before we adopted server replication it used to be a struggle to be ready for our business users on the fourth day but testing is a pleasure now!”
As for the future, Vicky Grimshaw remarks, “We intend to keep up with the latest technical developments and ensure we are opting for the best of all available solutions. We view Sungard and Capital Continuity as partners. I feel both companies are on our side and value us as a client.”
“In this day and age, we can’t afford not to have access to our in-house systems, email or internet – without them we can’t monitor our exposures, agree or pay claims. Any downtime could reflect badly not only on our own reputation but also that of the Lloyd’s brand.” Vicky Grimshaw, IT Manager, Antares
“Before we adopted server replication it used to be a struggle to be ready for our business users on the fourth day but testing is a pleasure now!” Vicky Grimshaw, IT Manager, Antares
Like most organisations today, Antares relies heavily on its ICT infrastructure and has minimal tolerance for downtime. In the City of London, a good reputation is everything so the firm needed to ensure that, whatever the disruption, it would be able to continue its business uninterrupted.