How does a community bank stay competitive in a marketplace dominated by rapidly changing technology advances and big-box banks with unlimited resources? They use technology to their advantage. And they not only compete by offering the latest and most robust digital products, but also by overhauling antiquated systems to save costs and leverage internal resources.
One bank that’s doing just that is The Eastern Colorado Bank, a CSI Managed Services customer. The bank was recognized by American Banker as a “Top 10 Community Bank IT Projects” winner for their efforts to make technology a priority through moving their infrastructure to the cloud.
Advantages of Moving to the Cloud
For The Eastern Colorado Bank, experience with outsourcing managed services to the cloud and an aging IT infrastructure made the decision to move to the cloud an obvious choice. But that choice isn’t so easy for community-based financial institutions that take a conservative approach to IT.
If you’re on the fence, there are two criteria that often tip the scales when making the decision to migrate to the cloud: financial motives from the board and compliance demands from regulators. That’s because most cloud managed services providers, especially those who focus exclusively on the financial industry, offer services that streamline IT operations and compliance concerns:
- Stable Security Infrastructure
Once migrated, your bank’s technology resources live in your cloud provider’s data center. The provider invests in the redundancies, stability controls and security infrastructure on your bank’s behalf so you can breathe easy knowing your customers’ data is protected in a secure, stable and redundant environment.
- Healthy Compliance Posture
Anything your bank can do to prove to regulators that your security infrastructure is sound and to get a clean bill of health from a compliance standpoint is a big hurdle. Plus, it relieves internal burdens, since you can piggyback on your cloud provider’s compliance framework, which includes undergoing the same audits and meeting the same regulatory compliance requirements as banks like yours.
- Platform for Digital Services
Sometimes banks even use the cloud as a marketing tool by promoting their cloud-based Web services, including their mobile banking app and digital banking services. By moving to the cloud, banks expand the types of services they can offer—and digital services are a must-have for many financial institutions.
Ensuring a Smooth Transition to the Cloud
Once a bank decides they want to migrate to the cloud, the cloud provider should begin a detailed discovery process, evaluating the bank’s IT environment and business needs. When CSI began The Eastern Colorado Bank’s transition to the cloud, the Cloud Services team understood that the process is not as simple as just putting a server in the cloud. A smooth transition comes down to delivering two essential components:
- Streamlined Business Application Architecture
Before the migration ever begins, cloud providers must know the bank’s applications inside and out. This includes how bank employees access applications and what hurdles the bank is currently experiencing. Then, the cloud provider can streamline business application architecture in the cloud, helping enhance the bank’s overall IT operations and performance.
- An Effective Desktop Experience
It doesn’t matter how strong and secure the servers are; if at the end of the migration, the end user isn’t satisfied with the experience on their desktop, the cloud provider didn’t effectively transition the bank’s infrastructure to the cloud.
Ultimately, the signature of a smooth transition to the cloud is a seamless integration of business applications for the bank’s employees. That’s because the goal isn’t to migrate to the cloud quickly—it’s to avoid disrupting the bank’s business and to make the finished product more efficient for the bank than the internal infrastructure they had before the cloud. And for The Eastern Colorado Bank, migrating to the cloud means they get to spend their days focusing on being strategic—not on managing servers.
Gary Hein is the Cloud Services Manager for CSI Managed Services. With nearly 20 years of IT experience, he has extensive knowledge in cloud computing, cyber security, enterprise messaging and systems architecture. Beyond his technical expertise, Gary also provides insight on managed services topics, including operational and technical support, through industry articles and blogs.