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Bupa (Asia) Limited
System Integration
Bupa needed to review its continuity planning to get prepared for Swine Flu to minimise business disruption and protect the well being of employees
COL runs and supports the production systems for Bupa, while maintaining a set of backup equipment at different site. In addition to disaster recovery planning, COL has helped Bupa review and develop a continuity plan with regular drill to ensure the plan is up-to-date
Bupa is Well Prepared!
Flu Pandemic is Underway

The sudden attack of influenza A (H1N1) (or Swine Flu) in late April 2009 first struck Mexico, then spread quickly to the USA and the rest of the world. With the increase in global transport, as well as urbanisation and overcrowded conditions in some areas, the flu has swept through the globe reaching over 100 countries, infecting more than 100,000 people. The world is moving into the early days of its first influenza pandemic in the 21st century.

It has been 6 years since the outbreak of SARS, but no one in Hong Kong would forget the times when we were fighting hard against it - business activities were affected and human lives were threatened. Yet the general public and business sectors have been more vigilant and prepared after SARS.

Being one of the world's major financial centres, business continuity planning (BCP) is important for Hong Kong, particularly for the financial and insurance sectors. In the event of global epidemic, proactive continuity planning would be crucial to minimise business disruption and protect the well being of employees. Bupa is one of the corporations ready for the challenge.

Bupa is an international health and care company with bases on three continents and more than 33 million customers today. Bupa in Hong Kong is serving over 200,000 individuals and 2,000 companies with its individual and group health insurance services. Over the past 30 years, Bupa Hong Kong has become well-known for its quality health insurance service and is one of the top three medical insurers in Hong Kong.

The high-trust relationship between Bupa and COL, an IT services subsidiary of WTT, dated back to the late 1970s when COL started to help Bupa to design and operate various core IT systems. By developing a close relationship with Bupa, COL helped Bupa design an optimal and practical business continuity process and has been its business continuity and disaster recovery (DR) solution partner since 2003.

COL was involved in the development of Bupa's customised BCP and DR plan during the SARS period in 2003. Based on the existing plan, COL assists Bupa to further revise and update the plan and procedure to cope with the current business needs.

COL develops, runs and supports the production systems for Bupa, while maintaining a set of backup equipment at different site. COL also offers shared seats/ workspace for Bupa's BCP including standard office equipment (e.g. workstations, fax machines, photocopiers and laser printers), shared conference rooms and pantry which is cost effective yet practical to their operational needs. To ensure the plan is practical and up-to-date, COL also provides regular drill with Bupa to facilitate a smooth transition in case of crisis situation, such that the procedures are well practised and reflects the current business needs.

Whenever necessary, Bupa could activate its DR plan within 4 hours which critical staff of Bupa could move-in to COL DR site with office facilities and computer systems ready and critical data retrieved from COL backup server.

Ms. Audrey Chan, General Manager, Operations Development, Asia Region of Bupa (Asia) Limited said, "The sound BCP plan we created during SARS has already provided a base to work out an effective plan for human swine flu. We have already held a drill in mid-May and we are well-prepared for the pandemic threat."

"COL's expertise and solutions on business continuity and disaster recovery provide strong support for us, we just need to focus on our crisis management plan, communications strategy and critical business operation. Our relationship with COL is very close, to the extent that COL staff know our systems almost as well as we do," added Audrey.

Swine flu pandemic has begun with the World Health Organisation raised the alert to the highest level on 11 June 2009. The SAR Government would concentrate resources on mitigating the spread of the virus. Active caution and preparedness is what is called for. "It is never too late to craft a sound continuity plan to maintain business operation in case the virus is spreading widely in the community. The most important thing is to understand our customers' needs, identify their critical operation and have the communications plan and system ready. A professional IT partner could work hand-in-hand with its customers and design the most suitable continuity solution for them," said Norris Hickerson, Vice President of COL Limited.