Financial Services Firm
Industry: Financial Services
Stats: Over $22 billion in mortgages
Location: Toronto, Ontario

“While many IT service providers have good pre-sales engineers, many fall down on execution. CDW has both. They pulled together a technically competent pre-sales team and backed it up with their back-office operations team.”

In its quest to become a Schedule I bank, a financial services firm teamed with CDW to build out the technology operations and associated infrastructure to support anticipated future growth.

The evolution from startup to federally regulated bank

A financial services firm that provides residential mortgages through select independent mortgage brokers has grown rapidly since its inception, currently sitting at just over $22 billion mortgages under its administration. The company has undergone rigorous requirements to build a bank-ready platform that will allow it to operate as a Schedule I bank. Currently in the late stages of its bank application, the organization has built out the technology operations and associated infrastructure to support anticipated future growth.

The application to operate as a Schedule I bank comes with a great deal of added scrutiny from OSFI (the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions). The pending application with OSFI necessitated a more robust technology operation. The leadership team knew they had to up their game when it came to managing the IT infrastructure at a level that would be acceptable for a federally regulated institution.

Challenges

• Rapid growth and stringent regulatory requirements called for an enterprise-level infrastructure and managed security operation

• Required a service provider who had the expertise to manage the security and infrastructure of a federally regulated Schedule I bank

The team was looking for a credible and trustworthy technology solutions provider combining the people, depth of expertise and operational capabilities in place to grow with their company. After going through a vetting process, CDW was awarded the contract for the managed disaster recovery business, which ultimately led to management of the entire infrastructure. The Chief Information Officer noted, “While many IT service providers have good pre-sales engineers, many fall down on execution. CDW has both. They pulled together a technically competent pre-sales team and backed it up with their back-office operations team. The business has expanded because they have proven themselves to be capable.”

Bolstering security with managed services and solutions

The CIO outlined his security vision and the CDW team took this information away and proposed a combination of equipment and services to meet the requirements. “As a financial services company, we cannot afford to lose the trust of our customers. Protecting our data is critical and CDW has both the people and vendor relationships that are recognized as tops in this space,” said the CIO. The company’s decision to outsource the management of its compute/storage/security/networking infrastructure makes both economic and logistical sense. “Matching the CDW technology and resources would be cost-prohibitive – they bring scale to the game, he added.”

Highly reliable compute and storage servers were installed, along with a new virtualization platform, which provides more flexibility when moving workloads and sharing resources. Defence-in-depth security was put in place with two layers of firewalls bracketing an intrusion prevention solution. In addition, two-factor authentication (2FA) has been installed to harden remote access.

Solutions

• Managed Services

  – Managed Disaster Recovery

  – Managed Backup

  – Managed Infrastructure

• Infrastructure

  – Brocade Network

  – NetApp Storage

  – HP Servers

  – VMware Windows 2012

“As a financial services company, we cannot afford to lose the trust of our customers. Protecting our data is critical and CDW has the people and vendor relationships that are recognized as tops in this space.”

CDW’s team of security experts provide real-time analysis of log file data, monitoring file transfers in and out of the company, providing 24x7x365 coverage. All electronic files that were not in a database have been pulled into the disaster recovery program, meaning everything employees require to do their jobs is readily available in the case of a disaster.

Stage one: Managed disaster recovery

OSFI puts a lot of emphasis on the ability to operate under adverse conditions; the company’s initial objective was to meet disaster recovery obligations. The managed disaster recovery service is a robust solution where all critical applications and data are mirrored from Toronto to the Brampton data centre. If anything goes wrong, the entire business can be brought up in less than four hours. This provides a fully redundant enterprise infrastructure at a fraction of the cost of building and maintaining a second site.

Stage two: Managed infrastructure

With the disaster recovery solution successfully operating, CDW earned the right to manage the security and infrastructure operations. In speaking about CDW’s expanded footprint into the account, the company’s Chief Compliance Officer mentioned the quality of the customer service. “We have signed up for additional services because they are doing a good job. With vendors, it is not about how they deal with things when everything is going well, it is how they respond when things are bad. If we ever have a problem, we can get people on the phone and they are responsive.”

Scaling up to $22 billion with CDW’s help

Over a period of a year and a half, the financial services firm’s entire technology operations and infrastructure has been updated to a bank-ready platform with bank-level security. “The infrastructure required to run a financial services business with $2 to $3 billion under management is a lot different from what is required of a business managing $22 billion. With CDW’s help, we are now much more robust and capable of satisfying the requirements of a business of our size,” said the Chief Compliance Officer.

Benefits

• Confidence in knowing a highly trained security team is monitoring the environment for security events

• In the event of a business disruption, disaster recovery program provides full recovery in less than four hours

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