Baloise is becoming the first choice for people who want to feel “simply safe.” The Baloise brand stands for safety, simplicity and partnerships. Safety is the company’s core promise and provides the foundation for every benefit, every service and every product. Simplicity expresses the company’s ambition to offer an outstanding customer experience with simple products, easy processes and clear communication.
Baloise has been keeping people safe for more than 150 years. To continue keeping them safe and remain a market leader, Baloise meets their changing needs through tailored, omni-channel communication and innovative safety products and services.
Products and services are varied. Customers who purchase a homeowners’ insurance policy receive a security box containing items such as a smoke detector, fire blanket and surge protector. Customers who purchase car insurance policies are offered in-car safety-training courses to learn defensive driving techniques and earn policy discounts. Customers who experience a difficult circumstance like a robbery or the death of a loved one are offered psychological assistance.
Several IT systems (SAS Data Warehouse, SAS Business Intelligence and proprietary insurance and banking applications) support products and services. They must be available continuously so Baloise can meets customers’ needs and retain its competitive edge. If they’re not available, customers in crisis can’t access online services for claims assistance and mobile banking, putting Baloise at risk for brand damage and customer loss.
To avoid these risks, Baloise restructured its business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) strategy. The first step was to replace two legacy backup solutions (IBM TSM and Microsoft DPM). Both solutions lacked the enterprise scalability required to back up, replicate and restore thousands of virtual machines (VMs) fast enough for the IT team to meet service level agreements (SLAs) with business units, which in turn provide products and services to customers. Legacy backup solutions didn’t provide adequate ransomware protection either.
“Enterprise scalability and ransomware protection are essential to our company’s success,” said Thomas Salvisberg, IT Service Continuity Manager at the Baloise Group. “We’re on course to attract an additional 1 million customers by 2021, and that wouldn’t have been possible with legacy backup.”
The IT team considered several replacement solutions including Commvault, NetBackup, vSphere Data Protection, VMware Site Recovery Manager and Veeam® Availability Suite™.
Baloise replaced the legacy solutions with a single solution: Veeam.
Veeam delivers the enterprise scalability required to protect the Baloise brand and the company’s competitive edge. Veeam strengthens the BCDR strategy, supports the fight against ransomware, helps attract an additional 1 million customers and saves €1 million in IT costs over five years.
“Veeam keeps our IT systems available,” Salvisberg said. “We meet SLAs with our business units, they deliver innovative offerings to our customers and our company maintains a solid edge over competitors.”
Salvisberg said the company’s critical systems are available around the clock, enabling the IT infrastructure to remain agile and respond to changes in the market quickly — another competitive edge.
“By staying agile, we can create new safety solutions quickly to meet the changing needs of customers. For example, when a customer app we created in collaboration with the University of Luxembourg became extremely popular, we transformed it into a safe-driving program. We were able to do that because Veeam keeps our IT infrastructure agile and affords us time. We spend 50% less time on backup management because Veeam is so easy to use, saving 20 hours each week.”
Veeam backs up 250 TB across 2,000 VMs on-premises from NetApp storage snapshots and replicates off-premises for BCDR. Veeam also sends backup copies to Dell EMC Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) for ransomware protection. Not only can Veeam restore critical data from backup copies fast in an emergency situation, but it can also detect a ransomware attack in the initial stages by monitoring for suspicious or abnormal activity. Veeam analyzes CPU usage, datastore write rate and network transmit rate to identify higher than normal amounts of activity on a particular VM.
“Veeam monitoring enables us to be proactive, which wasn’t possible with the legacy solutions,” Salvisberg said. “Here’s another good example: Veeam alerted us to a cluster going offline, which would have made it impossible for 1,500 employees in a branch office to work online. Just one hour of downtime in a single office could cost the company €500,000.”
Veeam helps Baloise save money too. It was more affordable than legacy backup, saving €1 million in IT costs over five years.
The Baloise Group is a leading provider of prevention, pension, assistance and insurance solutions in Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg. In Switzerland, Baloise also operates as a specialized financial services provider, offering a combination of insurance and banking services. Baloise is headquartered in Basel and employs 7,600 people.
Baloise is not a traditional insurance company — it’s an innovative market leader. Every business decision the company makes is based on society’s changing security, safety and service needs in the digital age. Baloise’s unique selling proposition is reflected in a Simply Safe strategy that combines forward-thinking products with customer-focused services; therefore, the IT systems supporting products and services must be available every minute of every day. Ensuring availability was a challenge with legacy backup solutions. They didn’t provide the enterprise scalability required to protect the IT systems supporting products and services, putting the Baloise brand and customer acquisition at risk.