Apollo Indraprastha Secures Critical Data

by Sohini Bagchi    Jul 11, 2012

Secure Medical Being responsible for the IT department of one of the largest corporate hospitals in the world - Indraprastha Apollo, isn’t any easy task. Once you enter the world of healthcare IT at Indraprastha, your life starts to revolve around infrastructure, applications, policies and management. Even then, for Srinivas Raman, Head – IT at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals life was moving on the fast lane, supporting thousands of doctors and faculty and millions of patients, while trying to standardise the massive data that he refers to as the ‘lifeline of healthcare IT’.

…And there lies the challenge. Raman believes dealing with issues ranging from data management to storage, loss to retrieval were challenges that kept him occupied all the time. A tensed Raman was seeking the right answer for streamlining the hospital’s critical data.

Based in Delhi, the 695-bedded hospital with the third super specialty tertiary care set up, has won several accolades for its state-of-the-art facilities, excellent diagnosis and management. Even though it had in place a well defined data backup policy, there were complexities due to incumbent data protection, archive and disaster recovery (DR) methods.

“The need of the hour was an even more powerful disaster recovery application that can support an optimised architecture by resolving issues such as bandwidth utilisation, data security and recovery, while keeping the cost factor at bay,” says Raman.

Raman examined most DR sites were way too expensive for the hospital and nothing was just working out that can help in scaling up both the efficiency and ROI.

The Silver Lining
It was then that a Gurgaon based mid-sized data storage, backup and protection firm Ace Data Devices came to its rescue. The company was already offering a part of its on-premise backup and storage solution to Indraprastha, which was running successfully.

It was Neeraj Mediratta, CEO, Ace Data Devices who came up with the proposal of a multi-featured cloud based backup and recovery solution that would protect critical data of the hospital. As a cloud based solution, it would be located off the premises.

To address various data backup and recovery complexities in enterprise, Ace Data had introduced in the market Backup Vault - an SLA driven solution designed to free the IT managers from problems of daily backups and DR.

The shared cloud module was a matter of concern to the management - at least in the initial stage – because of security issues, especially because Apollo deals with highly confidential patient data. After a few rounds of meeting, Raman decided to try the new solution on non patient data. It was then that Ace took the plunge of managing and backing data for the hospital’s File management system and gained the trust of Apollo’s management in a very short time.

“Initially we started with the SQL database backup project with the Apollo Hospitals. Soon, based on our expertise and the visible benefits of the solution, the scope of the agreement was scaled up to include MS Exchange 2010 data base spread over multiple information stores,” says Mediratta.

As the vendor and implementation partner, Ace Data was involved in analysis, testing and deployment and provides ongoing support to the hospital’s data management.

“Backup Vault provided architecture for backing up desktops, laptops and servers including online backup of databases, de-duplication of data travelling on cloud. The 256 bit encryption solution is also compliant with SOX, HIPPA, Basel II and FIS standards,” says Mediratta.

A Cost effective Secure Option
Raman believes conventional DR has always been expensive, time consuming and error prone. But Cloud enables faster recovery times and multi-site availability at a fraction of its cost. Finally, a hybrid cloud model makes the data more secured for storing and recovery.

“In just a matter of six months, we could see these clear benefits. Today, we are able to secure our database, and can be certain that all the information regarding our patients is secure and easily available,” says Raman.

Of course he adds that there were certain challenges in the testing stage and getting that resolved was just a matter of time, on the whole, the fast and reliable software service from Ace Data’s Backup Vault has enabled us to achieve this.

As part of the agreement, Ace Data is providing Indraprastha Hospitals with backup services and solutions for MS SQL, MS Exchange, Oracle and other critical data. The SQL database of the Apollo Hospitals has very critical patient and pharmacy data which now gets automatically backed up every six hours.

Raman informed, going forward, the hospital is planning to move the entire image database on Cloud and is looking to safeguard some of its highly confidential data. “The tension phase is over. Now we can focus on other core functionalities. With a robust data backup system, I can now breathe a sigh of relief, literally,” says Raman with a smile.