Demand for digital banking services has skyrocketed in recent years, dramatically increasing the volume of data that banks must manage and protect to deliver competitive services.
To provide customers with a convenient, secure and reliable banking experience, SmartBank works around the clock to ensure that the IT infrastructure and applications powering its services are always available.
Daniel Hereford, CIO at SmartBank, said: “Today, customers expect immediate access to their bank accounts and services across multiple digital channels — and any unplanned downtime would have a significant impact on our reputation. As a result, preventing disruption to our services is one of our top priorities.”
For many years, SmartBank relied on a Managed Services Provider (MSP) to run, monitor and maintain its backup and recovery systems. While this approach enabled the bank to deliver always-on services to customers, it was also a big cost driver for the bank that offered limited visibility into the integrity and recoverability of system backups.
“Everything that we do, including our backup and recovery processes, is governed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC),” said Hereford. “To maintain compliance with our regulatory obligations and keep our operating license, we must prove that we have backed up and retained operational and customer data for the time periods stipulated by the FDIC. Our MSP couldn’t provide granular reports on our backup environment, which potentially exposed us to regulatory compliance risks.”
To reduce operational costs and enhance regulatory reporting, SmartBank selected an in-house approach to data protection based on the Veeam® Availability Suite and Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365.
“We have a lean IT team, so we wanted a backup and recovery solution that was intuitive and easy to operate,” said Hereford. “We are very impressed by how user-friendly the Veeam solutions are. The fact that Veeam runs on almost any hardware and is compatible with VMware was also a huge plus — helping us to avoid vendor lock-in and simplify system management.”
To strengthen business continuity, SmartBank decided to establish primary and secondary on-premises backup environments for long-term data retention, running on HPE StoreOnce servers. For added protection, SmartBank deployed a third recovery environment using Microsoft Azure Blob Storage and deployed the Veeam solutions to orchestrate all backup activities from end to end.
Hereford said: “We decided to use HPE StoreOnce for our Veeam environment because of the excellent compatibility between the two solutions. We’ve specially configured the global deduplication feature in Veeam for our HPE solutions, ensuring we only send new data blocks to our backup systems — boosting the efficiency of our backup environment.”
SmartBank now backs up its mission-critical data — including transactional information, SQL databases and file servers — on-premises, and uses its cloud environment to back up Microsoft 365 applications.
“Maintaining complete control over all our data is essential,” said Hereford. “To augment the native backup capabilities in Microsoft 365, we decided to back up these applications using Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365, too. If Microsoft’s backup services fail to preserve our data for any reason, we will always be able to recover our files, emails and application data using Veeam.”
SmartBank had a limited window to migrate from its MSP services before its existing support contract expired. To accelerate the implementation, the bank worked closely with Veeam and a Veeam Platinum partner, SHI, to set up its new backup and recovery operations.
“The support from Veeam during the implementation was fantastic and they helped us to quickly overcome any challenges that we encountered,” said Hereford. “Thanks to the close cooperation and expertise of Veeam and SHI, we went live with our new backup environment on time and within budget, while avoiding any disruption to our customer-facing services.”