Billions in investments, better protected
- Solution protects billions of dollars in investments
- Bank can ensure regulatory compliance
- IT staff spends less time and money on maintenance
Protecting more than 200,000 deposit accounts and 40,000 active loan accounts worth billions of dollars requires sophisticated thinking about security. That’s why North Carolina’s Southern Bank takes a comprehensive, proactive approach to the safety of its clients’ financial information and the ability to serve mission-critical systems.
Southern Bank’s IT department, headed by Raymond Smith, Vice President of Information Technology and Information Security, undergirds the bank’s approach. “We’re a very conservative bank,” says Smith. “Safety, soundness and information security are key elements in my department.”
Bank must meet disaster recovery requirements
Smith and his team spend a lot of time working with auditors to make sure that the bank is in compliance with all the regulations set for financial institutions. Whether it’s the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which ensures confidentiality of customer information, or state and federal mandates, the IT team must have bedrock confidence in the backup and disaster recovery software they are using in order to meet these regulations. Unfortunately, for too long, they did not have that confidence.
“We are responsible for all the back-office systems here in the bank,” says Smith. “About four years ago, when the mortgage department became very active, the bank decided it needed a disaster recovery protocol along with a replication system for our mission-critical applications. We also need disaster recovery for our big imaging system, which includes about 15 million documents, and for the mortgage department, which is at another location and runs File Server on Microsoft SQL Server with customer mortgage data, collection of payments and origination applications.”
Company spent too much time on manual disaster recovery processes
The bank’s recovery time objective was less than four hours to recover all the back-office systems at a remote location. “We bought Double-Take and had a good run for about a year,” says Smith. “But we were never really happy with it, and it also became unstable. I found myself spending a lot of time trying to reassure myself that we were still protected if it hiccupped.”
Smith’s team found that Double-Take® would not recover itself without manual intervention, and the team spent way too much time managing re-mirroring events. As a result, Smith could not guarantee a recovery window for the mission-critical applications that were used by more than 450 people at the bank, and it was taking more and more staff time to deal with the product. “If anyone from our auditing department, or FDIC, or whoever, walked in my office, it was hard for me to believe that I was going to be able to instantly demonstrate a recovery,” he says. “I didn’t have the confidence that my results would be usable.”
Organization sets up a new solution
To better meet business demands, Smith switched to Dell™ AppAssure, a backup and recovery solution that gives the bank the ability to quickly recover from server failures.
The disaster recovery process at Southern Bank now includes two separate locations, with data copied to a replication core at the remote target site on the wide area network, where the Hyper-V® virtual option is turned on. For testing, the IT team simply copies the virtual machine and then runs the test. Recovery data is kept on a virtual host at a remote location, while the production servers that are protected are a mixture of virtual and physical from two other locations.
Solution protects billions of dollars in investments
Now, Smith and his team can better protect billions in customer investments because AppAssure can quickly and easily back up and replicate more than 240,000 deposit and active loan accounts in real time. The IT team can also back up and replicate the 15 million images on the imaging system to the company’s off-site disaster recovery center.
The solution is also simple to use. “The AppAssure software design impressed me a lot,” says Smith. “I knew from the beginning that if it would perform as advertised and was well-supported, it would fit my needs. It was really a no-brainer.”
Bank can ensure regulatory compliance
Southern Bank can also more easily ensure regulatory compliance to auditors. “The ability to test disaster recovery and show the auditing committee of the bank that everything is good is really important,” says Smith. “Getting everything set up for a disaster recovery test with Double-Take always took us several days. AppAssure takes a day at the most, and that includes documentation for auditing.”
IT staff spends less time and money on maintenance
The bank is meeting its compliance requirements at a fraction of previous costs, in terms of outright dollars and lost staff productivity. “We had already paid Double-Take’s maintenance for the next year, when we decided to go with AppAssure,” says Smith. “Not only that, but our staff easily spent more than 500 hours a year dealing with the challenges of Double-Take. With AppAssure, we’re spending maybe two hours a week at most. Dell AppAssure requires a fraction of the care and feeding of Double-Take. It’s worth every nickel we spent on it.”
Protection. Data safety. Reliability. Southern Bank can ensure all of these things with the help of AppAssure. Smith says, “If the auditors walked in tomorrow, I am confident that we’re not at risk and that we can immediately demonstrate that we can recover in our mandated time. With AppAssure, I can guarantee it.”