Acceptance Insurance was relying on a Quest Rapid Recovery data protection solution. By moving to a combination of Cohesity DataProtect on-premises and the Cohesity Backup as a Service (BaaS) offering hosted on AWS, they were able to greatly simplify backup and recovery management. With the new solution, all daily and incremental backups now easily finish within the maintenance window to meet SLAs, and by adopting BaaS, they were able to reduce their CapEx spend and the time IT spent on infrastructure management; allowing them to work on more strategic projects. Additionally, the team was able to reduce the time required to create test data copies by nearly 90%. And finally, Cohesity has enhanced Acceptance’s ability to detect and recover from ransomware attacks.

The Challenge

The insurance industry is highly regulated in the United States, with very strict data retention rules for all customer claims and policy information. Federal regulations currently require insurers to keep records for at least six years after their filing date depending on the policy type, and several states have additional data retention requirements that must be met to obtain compliance. “According
to some state laws, if a minor is involved in an insurance claim, we have to keep records until the individual turns 18,” explained Shawn Robertson, Platform Manager at Acceptance Insurance. “That’s why we need to store so many documents and large TIFF images containing all information related to claims for such long periods of time. We currently store over 286 TB of data, and that volume is increasing every day.”

Acceptance had been using Quest Rapid Recovery (previously named Dell AppAssure) for system backups and recoveries. “Backups took far too long on the previous systems,” said Robertson. “Even though we had two appliances running at the same time, we were unable to create full backup copies in the 24-hour maintenance windows.”

It was also very complex and time-consuming to restore the Rapid Recovery backups. “We had to restore backups of our key systems every month to demonstrate compliance with SOX and state insurance regulations,” said Robertson. “It would take our team a day and a half to restore all of the major servers requested by the auditors, and then document everything to create an audit trail.”

The Solution

Acceptance Insurance’s Rapid Recovery solution was reaching end of life in 2021. The IT team evaluated several different options for the refresh, including Veeam and Dell EMC Data Domain. After a thorough evaluation of the alternatives, they selected Cohesity running on-prem in the company’s main data center in Nashville, Tennessee, and are replicating everything to a second Cohesity appliance at a data center in Alpharetta, Georgia. The IT team is now able to run daily backups on all file servers, and meet shorter backup windows for Microsoft SQL databases and their Exchange environment.

“We had a lot of issues around cloning, scheduling backups, recovery times, expansion flexibility, and security on our previous platform,” said Robertson. “The fact that we could solve all of those issues with a single solution for both on-prem and cloud deployments is why we chose Cohesity as our next-gen data management platform.”

Acceptance Insurance is also using Cohesity’s BaaS offering, DataProtect Delivered as a Service, to protect its Microsoft M365 user data. “The main reason we chose the Cohesity hosted service was so we wouldn’t have to bring everything back on-prem for M365 restores,” explained Robertson. “With BaaS, we can keep everything in the cloud so we aren’t using excessive bandwidth to pull that data down every day. Although cost savings were not the main driver in our decision to go with Cohesity for M365, it will be less expensive to keep our data in the cloud rather than buying more on-prem hardware in the future.”

The Results

The Acceptance Insurance monthly compliance audits used to be labor intensive and extremely time consuming for the IT team. “With Cohesity, we no longer dread the audits,” said Robertson. “It used to take our team a day and a half to restore backup copies for the auditors. With Cohesity, it takes just a few minutes to create a clone, start the servers, take all of the snapshots, and document the test. The entire process is now done in just a few hours. When the auditors are finished testing the environment, we can delete the clone so it doesn’t take up capacity on our servers or impact any workloads in production.”

The ability to quickly create clones is also very useful for the company’s database administrators (DBAs) and developers. “Some of our databases are over 100 GB,” explained Robertson. “Rather than restore full backup copies when the DBAs need to apply updates, we can just clone a copy of our M365 database in the cloud. We have approximately three TBs of M365 data out there and it’s much more efficient if we keep it all in the cloud with Cohesity BaaS.”

Data management is much simpler on the Cohesity platform. “Our legacy solution required daily maintenance,” said Robertson. “We had to troubleshoot a lot of errors across all the different components of the environment nearly every day. With Cohesity, we don’t have to spend all day managing the systems anymore, we just get an email when someone needs a file restored. By moving to Cohesity, our data management support costs are much lower. Our IT team can now focus on more strategic projects and supporting other end users, instead of being tied up with backups and recoveries all day long.”

The Cohesity solution also provides Acceptance Insurance with increased ransomware protection. “The immutable architecture
from Cohesity ensures that our backup data can’t be tampered with or maliciously deleted,” noted Robertson. “Luckily, we’ve never experienced a ransomware attack, but with Cohesity, I feel very confident in our ability to detect and rapidly recover from any attack if something catastrophic ever occurred.”

Key Benefits

  • Easily complete all daily and incremental backups to meet SLAs
  • Lower costs and streamline BaaS for M365 backup and restores
  • Reduce the time to create and document test environments from
    1.5 days to just a few hours
  • Simplify backup and restore management, reducing OpEx
  • Increase ransomware detection and recovery capabilities

About Acceptance Insurance

Acceptance Insurance is a leading provider of personal automobile insurance and other related products, including renters’ insurance and supplemental plans. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, the company started at a single desk in Texas in 1969. Today, Acceptance Insurance’s 1,400 employees and insurance agents serve nearly 200,000 people from 350 offices located in 15 states and online.

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