Created in 1997, complementary social protection company Groupe AGRICA is an historic provider of offerings for supplementary retirement, health, life insurance, savings and prevention in the agricultural sector. The company, which employs 800 people, has a turnover of €2.8 billion and 2.2 million employed and retired clients.
Historically organized by branch, the complementary social protection and supplementary pension sectors are now undergoing a profound transformation. Firstly, the opening of the life and health insurance market to non-industry specific insurers has led to major competition. Secondly, there is the planned merger of pension systems, which is part of the pension reform project initiated by the French government.
To stand out and remain competitive in this evolving sector, the company had some key challenges. They needed to preserve the organization’s reputation by continuing to provide high quality offerings and maintain good customer relations, whilst increasing their responsiveness in processing contributors’ records. To meet these challenges, Groupe AGRICA focused on modernizing its information systems, providing robust infrastructures and ensuring high data Availability. This in turn will ensure business continuity and a high quality service to its customers, as well as its own business teams, who needed functional and reliable applications to carry out their work.
Data Availability has a direct impact on Groupe AGRICA’s core activities. Therefore, it must always be accessible so that employees can process their clients’ records and respond promptly to requests such as repayment, compensation or pension payment.
“While outages and downtime were tolerated 20 years ago, we cannot afford this today. It would leave internal teams without applications and leave customers without a service…let alone the damage of losing data, which cannot be retrieved,” explains Olivier Auschitzky, Head of System Infrastructure at Groupe AGRICA.
Since 2014, Groupe AGRICA has been trusting Veeam® across its IT estate: Veeam Backup & Replication™ protects its virtualized servers and workstations, which represents a total of 1,700 VMs and 100 TB of data. The company also deployed Veeam Agents to back up its physical environments. In 2019, Groupe AGRICA expanded its footprint to protect its 1,500 mailboxes by implementing Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365. Auschitzky remarks, “The protection of our Office 365 data ensures we retain access and control over our critical emails and documents.”
For Groupe AGRICA’s IT department to focus on the main priority of modernizing its infrastructure, reliability and automation is essential.
“Veeam’s capabilities means that handling backup and recovery issues is no longer time-consuming and requires minimal human resources, which is crucial at a time when teams are needed to work on priority issues relating to transformation,” said Auschitzky. For the team, checking the quality of all backups, including server VMs, desktop VMs and Office 365 data, takes no more than 15 minutes per day overall. IT also benefits from the platform’s userfriendliness and simplicity — things that are particularly important to the team, as all administrators need to be able to manage the different infrastructure systems. Auschitzky explains: “When you need a recovery, it’s always a matter of urgency! Therefore, it is important that the procedure can be carried out easily by any member of the team. It is the case with some complex solutions that you need people that are trained and dedicated exclusively to the solution, but this is not the case with Veeam. Everyone knows and can take care of recoveries, which, as a manager, gives me peace of mind.”
Groupe AGRICA also benefits from the performance of Veeam’s Instant VM Recovery®, where users can be operational again in just 30 seconds, ensuring minimal impact on the business. In addition, the Group has now integrated Veeam with HPE 3PAR Storage, which has reduced backup windows by 40 to 50%, and uses HPE Infosight to effectively monitor their environments and benefit from greater responsiveness.
Veeam also stood out from its competitors in the way its capabilities have been a key pillar in Groupe AGRICA’s cyber-resilience efforts. “Backup and recovery play a key role in our cybersecurity approach and helps make us more resistant to viruses, ransomware and other external attacks,” states Auschitzky. This is done through features such as SureBackup®, which performs automated VM recovery tests, or Replica Failover, which allows the most critical VMs to be cloned outside of the main VMware platform. This means the IT department is also confident that it can meet the data protection levels required for regulatory compliance.
Auschitzky concludes: “Groupe AGRICA will continue to expand its Veeam footprint, as they are a world-class Cloud Data Management™ provider. The company will also leverage Veeam for the backup of its 6.5 TB NAS, replacing the legacy solution currently being used. Thanks to Veeam and the security of our IT systems, the company now has the confidence to change to the evolving industry conditions it faces, providing business continuity and ultimately a better service to its customers.”
Groupe AGRICA is a complementary social protection company with a turnover of €2.8 billion. The company provides offerings for supplementary retirement, health, life insurance, savings and prevention in the agricultural sector. It has 2.2 million employed and retired clients.
Faced with the life and health insurance market’s opening to competition and the government’s pension reform project, Groupe AGRICA has spent the last several years modernizing its infrastructures and systems, in order to stand out from competitors through reputation and customer relations quality.