Banks need to be reliable. It is as simple as that. Whether a customer needs to access their money right away or wants to ensure that their personal financial information is protected, reliability is one of the biggest priorities for any financial institution. When it comes to upgrading the technology that banks rely on to keep business running, bank IT teams are often challenged to quickly implement new solutions without losing the reliable service that customers expect 24/7.
One such organization, Horizon Bank, experienced these challenges. For many years, the large, independent commercial bank’s 76 branches were primarily powered by Ethernet Network Service (ENS), which allows customers to connect their various locations as if they are on the same network, and Ethernet Dedicated Internet (EDI), a high-bandwidth way for customers to connect their local area networks with the performance of a wide area network. But last year, Comcast Business worked with the bank system, headquartered out of Michigan City, Indiana, to implement a more reliable, affordable and user-friendly networking solution.
Comcast Business migrated Horizon Bank from ENS/EDI to the Comcast Business SD-WAN ActiveCore℠ platform, a network management solution that can automate network functions, simplify resource management and help ensure comprehensive connectivity and network security. The new platform was implemented for Horizon Bank to manage costs, increase bandwidth, help strengthen operations and security, and ultimately improve customer service and their experience.
“Before we implemented SD-WAN ActiveCore I was of the ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality,” said Mahendra Verma, Vice President, Network Engineer Manager at Horizon Bank. “After working with Comcast Business and seeing what we’ve accomplished together, this upgrade has put us two to three years ahead of our goals across the company. We’re elated with the service, how much time it has saved our team and the peace of mind and security that has come with it.”
Technology Upgrades to Save Time
With a small internal networking team for support, Verma was understandably hesitant to implement drastic network changes, and wanted to make sure that his team could confidently understand and maintain the changes. Ultimately, the process exceeded his expectations. What was estimated to be an eight- to 12-month installation timeline took closer to four months. And, after each installation, Horizon experienced an immediate improvement in bandwidth and internet speeds.
With a three-person networking team to support 76 branch locations, Horizon Bank prioritized efficiency in the transition to its SD-WAN solution. Before the installation, the networking team needed to manually update their technology, usually twice, at each individual location. Now, the team is able to manage the network through a single dashboard that provides an overview of real-time network status, and then make any required network changes in one place.
Using Technology to Alleviate Stress
Reliability can mean many things in the digital world. Protecting data, maintaining connectivity during an outage, and having 24/7 support is a priority for any business, but can seem like an unachievable goal for small to mid-sized businesses.
A huge stressor with implementing new technologies is the potential for downtime. If anything goes wrong during the transition, there is the possibility of shutting off the entire company’s network. Recognizing this concern, Comcast Business worked with Horizon Bank to implement ActiveCore℠ with no downtime during business hours.
Verma also wanted to prioritize cybersecurity. The new SD-WAN ActiveCore connection encrypts all the data between Horizon Bank’s headquarters and each individual branch. The encryption provides an additional cybersecurity solution for a business that is consistently sending sensitive customer information across its network.
The Added Benefit of Cost Savings During an Upgrade
With the new SD-WAN system in place, Horizon Bank has seen a huge improvement in its connection and lower cost. Investing in technology upgrades can be intimidating to a business of any size. The work that Comcast Business and Horizon Bank have achieved together proves that with a bit of confidence and forward thinking, businesses can reap significant benefits.