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Cynthia Lawton

10.16.2020

Industry:  Banking

Cloud Foundation and Managed Services help architect an Azure environment to securely support a new line-of-business application

Business Challenge

A regional bank in the Pacific Northwest was facing a challenge. The company had 200 locations and aggressive growth plans to triple its business in the next two years. To accomplish its objectives, and offer more modern customer experiences, the organization needed to make changes to its applications and infrastructure.

The company operated two data centers in an active-passive architecture. Maintaining the active-passive configuration meant every time hardware or software was installed at the primary location, a duplicate was installed at the backup site.

Operating two data centers in this way was expensive. The company found that it was buying 2-3 times the amount of capacity it really needed, leaving a lot of costly resources stranded and unused. For this reason, the bank wanted to move applications to the cloud and eventually eliminate the need for a second on-premise data center.

To begin, the company selected a customer-facing application to move to Microsoft Azure. The goal was to integrate the new 3rd-party SaaS application while purchasing no additional hardware, adhering to security and regulatory compliance, and improving business continuity.

But the company had no previous experience working with Azure or with managing cloud environments.

Solution

Seeking help with the move to Azure, the bank engaged Lightstream in 2019. To gather data about the company’s technical environment and to establish a baseline, Lightstream consultants performed a Cloud Foundation Workshop. The workshop helped the company better understand Azure and the basics of cloud operations and security.

When the workshop concluded, the Lightstream team worked with the company to design a secure architecture to support the SaaS application. The effort included writing custom integration code that enabled the SaaS provider to securely access line-of-business application data in Azure and creating re-factored SQL databases in Azure to support a SaaS solution. The design allowed the company to successfully move the application and created an architecture, process, and procedure for moving more applications into Azure without needing to re-write, re-architect, or re-engineer the environment for every subsequent application.

Business Outcomes

Cloud Architecture to Support Strategic Business Goals

Beginning with a Lightstream Cloud Foundation Workshop, the company was able to design and implement a secure cloud architecture. This enabled bank operations to support a new customer-facing line-of-business application while providing visibility for operational and security teams. And it established a baseline process for moving more applications to Azure as business needs arise.

In addition, the cloud architecture positions the company to move forward with its redesigned disaster recovery strategy. The company can now confidently move more applications to Azure and reduce the need for additional hardware at its backup data center.

Ongoing Cloud Management and Optimization

Having limited experience with cloud environments was a concern for the company. To address this, the company uses Lightstream Cloud Managed Services for ongoing Azure management and optimization of financial, technical, security, and operational aspects of the environment.

Access to Specialized Technical Experts When Needed

Cloud expertise and specialized skills can be difficult to find and expensive to hire. Engaging Lightstream has enabled the company to get the benefit of cloud experts without adding people to its staff.

Improved Cross-IT Communication

One unexpected benefit of working with Lightstream has been the impact on cross-IT communication. Like many organizations, the company’s IT group operated in vertical silos. This often was a challenge, because technical problems often crossed silo boundaries and required cross-group communication and collaboration to resolve them. But effective communication between groups was sometimes hard to achieve and caused delays in finding the root cause of issues.

Lightstream Cloud Managed Services, while focused on supporting the company’s Azure environment, has provided a consistent presence to help solve technical problems. With technical expertise in all aspects of IT, including networking, storage, server, and security, and visibility of the company’s entire network, Lightstream’s technical experts have provided valuable insight and helped bridge communications between different parts of the IT organization.

Contact Information

To learn more about how Lightstream Cloud Foundation Workshop or Cloud Managed Services can help your business create a secure cloud architecture, reduce costs, and improve user experience, visit www.lightstream.tech/solutions/managed-services/.

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