NEIBP Working Toward a Turnkey DR System

By Brian Schwartz, TierPoint Content Team

Introduction
Ron Tedesco has served the National Elevator Industry Benefit Plans (NEIBP) for more than two decades. The organization, which administers collectively-bargained benefits for the International Union of Elevator Constructors, serves approximately 100,000 members and their families. Tedesco, who runs the IT department, concentrates a significant portion of his time on protecting member data because he knows that any data loss could make it more difficult for them to receive medical and retirement benefits.

In early 2015, Tedesco set out to modernize the NEIBP’s approach to backup and disaster recovery. At the time, his team was not satisfied with their cloud solution because data could not be easily recovered. Their goal was to implement a turnkey disaster recovery (DR) solution that would be simple to manage across multiple locations.

ron-neibp

Ron Tedesco, Director of IT, National Elevator Industry Benefit Plans, is leading a creative effort to design and implement a DR solution for data and telecommunications.  

 
“I’ve been in the trenches as the person who has to work crazy hours, seven days a week or more, just to restore a subset of our data/infrastructure,” Tedesco says. “It feels terrible to spend all that effort and still come up short, with a week or two delay in restoring data. No one was happy with those results. It was also very costly. Fortunately, our leadership understood we could use our resources differently and come up with a better result.”

Challenge
Tedesco had very specific ideas about what he wanted.  He sought a vendor partner that could deliver seamless restorations, including the tools to speed the process, and that could provide more than an updated backup solution. None of the vendors Tedesco looked at could fulfill both of those requirements, so he began designing his own conceptual solution. He eventually presented his plan to vendors in the hope of finding one who could work with him to implement it at the NEIBP. TierPoint was the only vendor willing to be flexible and develop a custom solution specific to the NEIBP’s needs. Most other vendors could only provide their off-the-shelf solutions.

Adding to the challenge was the NEIBP’s complex, yet critical, telecommunications network, which also needed DR support.

Solution
Working together, and on a budget, the NEIBP and TierPoint created a DR plan that included:

  • Backup and recovery of systems and data
  • Private cloud data replication
  • A workspace recovery option
  • A disaster recovery and business continuity plan
  • Testing and validation

“TierPoint brought in experts who understood the technology and how to collaborate with us to achieve a common goal. They understood our cost concerns, too. Anyone can design a great system with a million-dollar budget, but that’s not the world most of us live in,” Tedesco said.

After nailing down the business case justification and objectives with the NEIBP management team, they began a 10-month design process that required close teamwork between the NEIBP and TierPoint. The results have been extraordinary

Results
The solution for the NEIBP was a strategic and original system that reduced the NEIBP’s Recovery Point Objective (RPO)—the time between data saves– from 24 hours to less than 15 minutes.  In addition, the Recovery Time Objective (RTO) – the speed of recovery –improved from 48 hours (or more) to just four to six hours.

The end user experience has also improved. Most end users can’t tell when the system is running in DR mode.

Next
NEIBP delivers many of its member services via its call center. This requires high-performance telecommunications services. The team was concerned that the current system was limited and not as stable as it could be.  So the NEIBP is now building an extension of their custom DR solution to include telecommunications failover planning. The complex system includes a call center, several different telecommunication systems, telecommuting technology that supports remote staff, and an extensive phone tree with afterhours and holiday access.

Tedesco, NEIBP and TierPoint are up for the challenge.