Verus Analytics applies big-data and artificial intelligence technologies to recover money for state agencies and their citizens. The company’s analytic and forensic capabilities are central to the success of its ongoing efforts with states to audit life insurance policy records and return billions of dollars in unclaimed benefits to their rightful beneficiaries.
Video: Verus Analytics counts on IT resilience to mine data
With billions in rebates riding on mining terabytes of sensitive data, Verus analysts need a solid, secure infrastructure to perform their work. For more than eight years, the company has relied on Sungard AS to host its primary and DR infrastructure and to provide vaulting services for critical data, assuring the resilience and security that Verus needs to deliver on its commitments to customers.
Data is our business, so it’s extremely critical that we maintain a solid, secure infrastructure for our analysts to perform their work. We’ve partnered with Sungard AS to build redundancy and resiliency into everything we do, and we’ve never had an issue with downtime that’s caused by environment, location or networks.
About Verus Analytics
Verus Analytics LLC is a data analytics company that finds, saves and recovers money for state government agencies and their citizens. Founded in 2007, Verus initially focused on unclaimed life insurance benefits. The company has since expanded its service offerings to help state regulators identify tax evasion, avoid improper payments and reduce Medicare waste. The company today counts 48 of the 50 U.S. states as its customers.
Delivering on Commitments to Customers
Analysts at Verus Analytics use sophisticated techniques to integrate public, government and proprietary datasets, conduct forensic analyses, and establish matches for the assignment at hand. “Our statistical models include millions of records and can take hours to run, so any interruptions could result in work that has to be redone—leaving us in a position where we might not be able to meet our commitments to customers,” says Peter Lee, CTO at Verus Analytics. “That’s why we need to have a very flexible and survivable infrastructure.”
In its first few years as a startup company, Verus housed its IT infrastructure in a server room at its office in Southern California. The company encountered ongoing challenges with environmental control and was constrained by network bandwidth. “We simply outgrew our in-house IT and started looking for a hosting provider,” says Lee. “We wanted an industry leader to help us manage the physical datacenter environment, and in 2010 we selected Sungard AS, initially hosting our infrastructure at its San Diego data center.”
The Verus business grew rapidly, and the company established offices in Boston, New York City and Waterbury, CT. Its reliance on Sungard AS grew, as well. Today, eight years into the relationship, Verus entrusts Sungard AS to host its primary and recovery IT environments and to provide vaulting services for data backup and recovery, as well as workplace recovery services. Verus collaborates with its Sungard AS team to conduct annual DR testing to prove that its IT recovery meets defined goals.
With Sungard AS as a partner, we gain instant credibility with auditors. We don’t have a large staff in IT, but together with Sungard AS, we can prove we know what we’re doing and that we have everything under control.
Hosting and DR that inspires confidence
The Verus primary IT infrastructure is hosted in a Sungard AS data center in the western U.S., with server, storage and network equipment housed in numerous cabinets in a secure, caged area. The Verus failover infrastructure is hosted in a Sungard AS data center in the eastern U.S., which also houses a vaulting solution to manage backup and restore for terabytes of data.
“We worked with Sungard AS to design a fairly straight forward failover,” says Lee, “so if there’s any problem at the primary data center, we declare disaster, and can quickly bring up our failover infrastructure to continue operations.”
The most recent DR test confirmed once again that Verus can restore its email and enterprise applications within an hour and restore the analytic engine within 48 hours.
Isolated secure infrastructure satisfies customer audits
With Sungard AS as its hosting provider, Verus gains the benefits of world-class data centers and operational expertise, as well as the security of isolated infrastructure and networks to meet the stringent requirements of its customers. Verus runs its own dedicated MPLS network into the primary infrastructure cage in Scottsdale, and Sungard AS provides primary and backup network services if Verus declares a disaster.
“Because we are doing work for state customers, much of the data we handle is extremely sensitive,” explains Lee. “They want to make sure the data they provide to us is totally protected and 100 percent auditable. We’ve passed many audits and gained numerous certifications, including SOC 1 and SOC 2 compliance, as well as some ISO certifications. We are also qualifying to meet IRS standards to handle federal tax data so we are prepared to pursue opportunities in that area.”
Lee says that Verus spends more than a month each year either preparing for or performing audits. “Sungard AS has made the auditing process a lot simpler for us,” he says. “We’ve never had an auditor demand to go visit our data center, because Sungard AS has certifications that meet their criteria, as well as a proven reputation and track record.”
“With Sungard AS as a partner, we gain instant credibility with auditors,” he says. “Once they understand that we contract with Sungard AS for hosting both our primary IT and a DR site—and that we have a Sungard AS certificate citing the successful DR test we perform every year— it eliminates a lot of additional questions about data center infrastructure.”
“We don’t have a large staff in IT,” Lee continues, “but together with Sungard AS, we can prove to auditors that we know what we’re doing and that we have everything under control. Then, we can move along to respond to questions about our applications and how we protect the data we get.”
Workplace Recovery Services for resilient business operations
Verus takes a broad view of business resiliency, assessing risks beyond IT to prepare for events that may impact its people and offices. “Our primary concern is for our personnel in Southern California,” says Lee. “We’ve built our infrastructure in such a way that if an earthquake—or the so-called ‘big one’— happens, all of our personnel are equipped with remote computing capabilities. So, we don’t have to come into the office to work, and our business operations can continue even if a workplace is unavailable.”
Those same capabilities extend to regional office personnel, as well. “In New York City, if midtown is closed due to a terrorist threat, our personnel can work from home or another location,” Lee adds.
Hosting offers a clear path for growth
Verus recently worked with Sungard AS to expand its primary IT infrastructure, acquiring additional floor space and new cabinets. Now, Verus is embarking on a technology refresh, swapping out older servers and replacing them with newer servers that use a smaller profile. “We’re able to have more computing capacity within the same physical space,” says Lee. “Sungard AS was able to support the power and cooling requirements of the higher-density infrastructure.”
The Verus core business, the unclaimed property audit services, continues to grow, and Verus is ramping up the new lines of business. The expanded floor space is sized to accommodate additional infrastructure that will support the company’s growth projections.
Proven resilience built on a trusted relationship
When asked what advice he’d give to companies seeking a partner for hosting and DR services, Lee is succinct: “It’s simple—go with the best in the industry. The old saying that you get what you pay for is especially true when it comes to data center infrastructure services. You can cut corners or cut costs on anything else, but don’t be cheap when choosing your hosting service provider.”
“We are a small company that behaves like an enterprise organization,” Lee continues. “We’ve worked with Sungard AS to build resiliency and redundancy into everything that we do, and we’ve never had an issue with downtime that’s caused by environment, location or networks.”
Lee also appreciates the quality of account management he’s had with Sungard AS. “We’ve had three account executives during our tenure with Sungard AS, and I have nothing but good things to say about all three. They understand our business and are very proactive reaching out to me. It’s been a wonderful working experience.”