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Client Story

Building a Bank-Ready Platform: Financial Services Firm Addresses Growth and Regulatory Hurdles with Managed Infrastructure Services

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

Mid air view of residential neighborhood with green lawns, streets and trees located in The Villages, a retirment community in Florida.

Financial Services Firm

Toronto, ON

Finance

Objective

Update the infrastructure to be acceptable for a federally regulated institution while addressing the rapid growth the company had experienced in recent years.

  • 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 4 hours
  • Brocade Network
  • NetApp Storage, HP Servers
  • VMware Windows 2012

Customer Challenge

The Evolution from Start-Up 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 them 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.

The team was looking for a credible and trustworthy technology solutions provider that has the people, depth of expertise, and operational capabilities in place to grow with their company. After going through a vetting process, Scalar 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. Scalar 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.”

A lot of companies have good pre-sales engineers, but fall down on execution. Scalar has both – they pulled together a technically competent pre-sales team and backed it up with their back office operations team.

Chief Information Officer

Scalar Customer

Approach

The CIO outlined his security vision and the Scalar 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 Scalar has both the
people and vendor relationships that are recognized as tops in this space,” said
the CIO. The decision to outsource the management of their compute/storage/
security/networking infrastructure makes both economic and logistical sense.
“Matching the Scalar 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 with 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, twofactor
authentication (2FA) has been installed to harden remote access.
Scalar’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.

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

Chief Information Officer

Scalar Customer

Solution

Stage One: Managed Disaster Recovery

OSFI puts a lot of emphasis on the ability to operate under adverse conditions
and the initial objective was to meet disaster recovery obligations. The
managed disaster recovery service is a robust solution where all of the critical
applications and data are mirrored from the Toronto to the Brampton data
centre. If anything goes wrong, the entire business can be brought up in less
than 4 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, Scalar earned the
right to manage the security and infrastructure operations. In speaking about
Scalar’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.”

Results

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 Scalar’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 4 hours
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