Customer Story: Florida Surplus Lines Service Office
FSLSO is a self-regulating, nonprofit association for all Florida surplus lines agents. The term surplus lines refers to a specific segment of the property-casualty insurance market. Surplus lines insurance is coverage that consumers can purchase when the standard market is unable or unwilling to provide the same coverage. FSLSO’s responsibilities include monitoring activities and compliance of the licensed surplus lines agents conducting business in the State of Florida as well as the eligible surplus lines insurers.
FSLSO has the primary oversight responsibilities for one of the largest surplus lines market in the U.S. and serves as a marketplace for property insurance covering otherwise difficult to insure items such as cruise ships, airplanes and many other forms of property.
FSLSO required a disaster recovery plan that did not require an expensive hardware outlay. Uptime is a critical factor particularly in the event of a natural disaster such as a hurricane.
Working with FSLSO’s IT staff, we placed all of their critical IT infrastructure under protection using Azure Site Recovery (ASR).
ASR allows you to fully orchestrate your disaster recovery plan, offering:
- Automated protection and replication of virtual machines
- Remote health monitoring
- Customizable recovery plans
- No-impact recovery plan testing
- Orchestrated recovery when needed
- Replication to—and recovery in—Azure
We analyzed their network and decided that, rather than replicate their subnet structure and DMZ, we’d get the simplest and fastest recovery if we used one subnet and applied Network Security Groups (NSGs) to individual machines. We identified machines that only needed RDP or SSH and locked those endpoints down to accept connections only from FSLSO and ISC networks. We identified web servers and added public access to HTTP and HTTPS ports.
Several virtual and physical machines required unique configurations. We used recovery groups and ASR Runbooks to bring machines up in a logical sequence (database servers before web servers, for instance) and to assign the correct NSGs (our Runbooks look for NSGs matching machine names and if not found, each recovery group has a default NSG to apply.)
Deploying the ASR solution was the initial phase of the project. We then turned to validation testing. Multiple test and actual failovers and failbacks were executed over a 2 to 3 week period of time.
FSLSO’s IT staff now enjoy a high degree of confidence that their disaster recovery solution works, and that they’re ready for anything from a small outage of a single IT resource to a complete inaccessibility of their data center.