Across industries, customer needs have evolved as the new digital world has taken shape. This is especially true of the Banking and Finance Industry (BFSI), wherein the ability to provide secure, reliable digital experiences has been of paramount need. Lebanon’s Bankmed is a pioneer in bringing new engagement channels to its customers.
“Today, our consumer, investor and business customers all have a high probability of being millennials or younger,” said Mohamed Rachwani, Section Head — IT Infrastructure International at BankMed. “That carries with it high expectations of digital services. Our promise to those customers is a secure, Always-On™ ecosystem at their fingertips — convenience and reliability, together with top-grade, personalized service.”
“Bankmed offers a broad range of solutions that are carefully designed to enable its customers grow their businesses and expand the scope of their operations,” said Rachwani. “Nothing less than Always-On Availability of data and systems that fulfil our promise of reliable access to critical services around the clock.”
Bankmed operates mobile apps, internet banking and self-service kiosks, as well as a myriad of critical internal applications — the majority of which now run in virtual environments. The Bank was keen to embark on a Digital Transformation program to introduce flexibility and agility into its technology infrastructure. Stakeholders across departments understand that 100%-available engagement channels are of prime importance in a world heavy with consumers who are digital natives. Additionally, business continuity is a regulatory requirement established by the Central Bank of Lebanon.
“Around 90% of our servers are virtual because we realized that virtualization is truly the only way to go if you value the ability to control your resource pool tightly,” explained Rachwani. “And our eyes are forever on that Always-On promise. A few hours of downtime could cost the Bank substantial amounts coupled with threats to its reputation and image.”
Bankmed’s IT team evaluated Veeam’s® portfolio of solutions designed for Always-On Availability and speedy disaster recovery scenarios. The team noted that Veeam’s offerings are also “unparalleled in the backup and restoration of virtual environments,” according to Rachwani.
“Veeam Backup & Replication™ enables Bankmed to perform on-site replication for High Availability across all our sites,” he said. “We also ran disaster-recovery scenarios and found out that we were able to restore terabytes of data rapidly and even drill down to recover individual files with ease.”
Bankmed’s Veeam solution, Veeam Availability Suite™ — which includes Veeam Backup & Replication — currently supports Group Med users across many locations.
“In addition, we are also establishing a DR site,” Rachwani said. “Our main data center is located in Lebanon, and we have branches abroad. We believe that we are the first bank in Lebanon to test the replication and recovery process for all its branches across geographies, and it worked perfectly well.”
As part of Veeam Availability Suite, Bankmed’s IT admin team also receives access to Veeam ONE™, a comprehensive monitoring and analytics tool that creates a holistic view of an organization’s entire infrastructure across all virtual and physical environments.
“Being able to visualize our whole environment was vital for us in pre-empting possible performance or any technical challenge,” said Rachwani. “Veeam ONE alerts us to a range of events that allow us to be highly proactive and come with smooth business continuity procedures.”
Since the deployment of Bankmed’s Veeam solution, Rachwani and his team have noticed “dramatic improvements” in recovery speeds and availability metrics, as well as a proven material reduction of the overhead on the IT team thus allowing them to attend other important IT tasks.
“Veeam has heightened the availability for some of our mission-critical apps that run on VMs, such as online banking, mobile banking and other critical apps” explained Rachwani.
“We were particularly pleased with Instant VM Recovery®, which allows immediate retrieval of a VM while running a full restore in the background,” he added. Bankmed has already experienced a real-world issue in which Veeam’s instant recovery proved very valuable.”
Founded in 1944 and headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon, Bankmed is recognized as one of the top-tier banks in the country. The Bank provides highly efficient financial solutions that best meet its customers’ needs through a network of 61 local branches, 127 ATMS, five overseas branches in Cyprus, Iraq and Dubai as well as four banking subsidiaries in spread across Geneva, Turkey and KSA. Bankmed has been recognized for its leading role in corporate banking. Capitalizing on this experience, the Bank has actively expanded its banking services to include Corporate Banking, Retail Banking, Private Banking, International Commercial Banking, SME Banking, E-Banking, Business Development, Investment and Brokerage services, Asset Management, Treasury and Investment Services, in addition to Financial Institutions, Trade Finance, and Microfinance.
Focused on providing convenient and exceptional services for its customers, Bankmed operates different digital channels such as mobile apps, internet banking and self-service kiosks. The Bank has recently shifted its servers from hardware to software, which increased the security and technical challenges.