Insurance firm invests €300k in IT upgrade

15 Sep 2009

A homegrown insurance company with 11 locations around Ireland has invested €300,000 in an IT upgrade that includes disaster recovery to help reduce business risk.

Campion Insurance Group, which was established in 1984 from a single office in Urlingford, Co Kilkenny, has evolved to become one of Ireland’s most modern and innovative commercial and personal lines brokers with a staff of more than 100 people and offices in 11 locations around the country. 

Campion Insurance has implemented a disaster recovery solution and IT infrastructure upgrade in order to keep pace with the company’s expansion, reduce business risk, deliver high availability and be better prepared for disaster recovery.

“We plan for continued growth and improved customer satisfaction and that increased the pressure to standardise and upgrade our operating platform and IT infrastructure,” explained Stephen Breen, IT manager at Campion Insurance.

“We also wanted a disaster recovery solution to reduce business risk, deliver high availability and be better prepared for disaster recovery,” Breen added.

Datapac was appointed to optimise the business and to provide consultation, installation, implementation, training and on-going support services. 

Datapac implemented a solution that links all their offices through an Eircom BIP network via Cisco routers. This has allowed Campion’s to centralise and publish all their critical business applications using Citrix from a central site to all their branch offices. 

Campion Insurance can now distribute all services to any location, as well as to their disaster recovery centre in Dublin. This structure has also allowed for ease of business growth and systems support.

Due to Campion’s considerable expansion, Datapac implemented a new Windows Active Directory domain and MS Exchange services to cater for current and further expansion. This has created an integrated and reliable platform that is more easily managed by Campion and increased efficiency for their customer services representatives.

Datapac worked with the company to integrate its DR infrastructure into Campion’s data network by utilising the BIP Wide Area Network.

Campion Insurance can now host virtual replicas of their live environment using technology from VMWare, HP, Microsoft and Citrix. This provides the infrastructure to allow online replication for Campions’ email, file servers and critical applications by mirroring them to a hot site location based in Dublin.

Datapac also implemented Double-Take which, each night, provides an incremental backup for the system state of the remaining servers and rebuilds an updated image of the same in the hot site.

“We have centralised everything, so from a management point of view, it’s all in one place with the security and anti-virus protection that we need,” Breen explained.

“We now have real-time online replication with regard to our email and applications and this allows us to respond quickly in the event of any failure or disaster,” Breen said.

The next phase for Campion Insurance will be to link the phone systems into the BIP network and introduce voice over IP.

By John Kennedy

Photo: From left to right, front: Edel Creely, managing director, Datapac; and Jim Campion, managing director, Campion Insurance. Back, from left to right: Stephen Breen, IT manager at Campion Insurance; and Pat O’Leary, account manager, Datapac.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years