Founded in 1996, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health is one of the newest Medical Royal Colleges. It has a major role in postgraduate medical education and professional standards. This includes setting syllabuses for postgraduate training in paediatrics, overseeing the training, running examinations, organising courses and conferences, issuing guidance and conducting research.
Searching for peace of mind
With a strong heritage and reputation of excellence, the College relies on smooth running, efficient and available IT systems and support all its critical operations; including front-line services, membership and research activities. The major issue for the College was that it lacked an effective business continuity plan and provision for IT recovery.
To address any system outages, the College’s original disaster recovery (DR) activity consisted of using backup recovery tapes, stored at an offsite location. In the event of a major outage, the restoration of its systems involved a lengthy manual rebuild and recovery process. The potential of a significant delay in restoring operational continuity wasn’t acceptable for the reputation of the College.
In late 2009, the College undertook a major incident management plan, covering all aspects of its operations. The College worked in tandem with a business continuity consultant who made them aware of the many potential threats facing its IT systems. This activity prompted the College’s IT team to consider a more effective DR method.
Olly Rice, Head of IT at the College explains, “Although our IT systems were well protected, we had no means of recovery from a major incident, such as fire, flood or a London-based terrorist attack. We urgently needed to address this issue and find a new, simple to use and flexible DR system that could deliver near immediate access to working recovery systems – from any location.”
Finding a guaranteed DR solution
The College conducted a search for a specialist DR provider. Rice explained his selection criteria, “We felt that Plan B’s expert knowledge, proven track record and reputation removed any doubts about RCPCH selecting them as our disaster recovery partner. Unique service features from Plan B were their recovery guarantee, unrivalled recovery times and highly competitive pricing structure. If we were going to invest in disaster recovery, we needed to be sure it was going to be a fool proof solution. No other provider could match the reliability of Plan B’s unique solution.”
Plan B provided a free trial period allowing the College’s IT team to assess how effectively they could replicate and protect its 10 servers, supporting critical operational systems including mail, print, mail, finance, membership application, CRM and databases.
The trial offers a fully working disaster recovery service which Pre-recovers the College’s entire server architecture every 24 hours, in effect giving them a working standby system. The entire recovery system is then booted and tested daily to ensure instant recovery following an incident. This offers the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health a fully managed, certified and guaranteed disaster recovery solution with a known recovery time.
Rice added “With Plan B, we now possess a simple to use DR system that works in the background and needs almost no management from us. I can sleep at night, know that invocation is only a phone call away and Plan B’s support staff are reassuringly experienced and very helpful.”
The College’s systems are now protected by the DR service that employs a best practice approach to ensuring comprehensive business continuity for its operations. If any incidents occur, recovery can be achieved as quickly and effectively as possible – and it’s still business as usual.
Rice concluded, “The Plan B service works – it’s our safety net. I have also discovered that Plan B’s localised snapshotting appliance can be used as an instant back up tool to cover minor incidents, such as file deletions. To top it all, Plan B has a highly competitive price point – I think it’s the best value for money DR service on the market.”