This Financial Services firm grew from 1 to 40 branch offices and completed a successful acquisition by a large bank: their journey to leadership in IT, security, and compliance.

In 2017, KalioTek™’s client of 15 years completed a highly successful acquisition by a large national bank. Given the bank’s regulatory requirements, much attention was paid in their diligence phase to the company’s IT and security systems implemented by KalioTek™. Not only did their IT come through with flying colors, but with the modern cloud-based IT and security solutions implemented with this end in mind, KalioTek™ has helped position the client’s IT team for technological leadership in the now 12,000-employee bank.

While the firm grew to several hundred people and hired an internal IT team, KalioTek™ continued to be intimately involved by handling complex technology implementation and security projects, providing IT management consulting and filling in for unplanned team vacancies.

Their chairman, understanding the firm’s reliance on solid IT, noted: “With KalioTek™, I can sleep at night because my IT is not at risk of getting 2-weeks’ notice from anyone on my IT team. Stable IT requires a stable IT team. KalioTek™ provides that and will always have a key role in our IT strategy.”

What Did KalioTek™ do for the firm?

Migration from internally-hosted Exchange to cloud-based Microsoft Office 365.
Microsoft Office 365 compiles the best features of the range of Microsoft solutions in a cloud-based environment, and offers businesses new and exciting ways to make use of those features. In a nutshell, Microsoft Office 365 takes the Microsoft programs you’ve most likely been using for many years, like Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Excel, and combines them with the flexibility and accessibility of the cloud.

  • 99.9% Uptime Guaranteed: You can expect minimal downtime or inconvenient planned maintenance, allowing you and your employees to work efficiently and without interruption.
  • Email and Calendar, On The Go: With Microsoft Outlook, you can seamlessly integrate your calendar features directly into your email, so that scheduling a meeting, responding to invites, and keeping track of your upcoming appointments is that much simpler.
  • Comprehensive Availability: Microsoft Office 365 provides an undeniably convenient end user experience. You can access your own Microsoft Office 365 configuration with ease, via browser login on any Internet-capable device, the Outlook web app for email and calendar access, or simply at Office.com.

Cookie-cutter setup for new branch offices, enabling rapid expansion and acquisitions.

Growing a business as large as this client’s can be a difficult and complicated process unless you have the right strategy. KalioTek™ ensured the client had an easy-to-follow, easily replicated process for starting up new branches as need be in a timely fashion, which meant no delays or downtime that would slow their growth.

VeloCloud was implemented to link all offices in a secure and easy to manage SD-WAN using low-cost internet connections.

Connectivity and uptime are vital to a business’ productivity, profitability, and quality of service. Without a strong Internet connection, so many of the tools a business relies on every day will lag and waste company time.

These are just some of the issues with traditional WAN – insufficient bandwidth and high-cost bandwidth severely limits the capabilities it can offer businesses. That’s not to mention the fragmented security, limited app awareness, and lack of compatibility with new cloud platforms and solutions.

Enter SD-WAN: the approach to building and designing a WAN that utilizes SDN techniques to optimize and automate — as well as protect — traffic between diverse locations.

Using a cloud-based controller, an overlay network is created in order to build encrypted tunnels, define applications, determine where sites are, and more. This portal/controller is the critical lynchpin, as it’s where you manage and operate the WAN from.

According to Gartner in their 2016 report, they predicted that 30% of enterprises will have deployed SD-WAN technology by the end of 2019. What benefits does it offer?

  • Increased bandwidth
  • Reduced cost for circuits
  • Simple WAN management
  • Improved user experience on applications
  • Flexible security, whether that’s every single branch or just in specific “chokepoint” locations

Migration of numerous enterprise systems from a co-location facility to cloud-based applications and platforms, including Azure.

  • Modern cloud-based applications and solutions have a lot to offer KalioTek™ clients, with benefits including:Streamlined operations:
    • Reduced complexity
    • Modernized legacy IT environments
    • Access to the IT infrastructure from anywhere on any device
    • Enables multiple offices, mobile workforce, or employees that work remotely to be productive
    • Scale to add new functionality quickly, easily, and cost-effectively
  • Enhanced security and business continuity:
    • Disaster Recovery and Backup are automated and fully handled
    • Cybersecurity protocols are strictly followed
    • Updates and Upgrades are done automatically and regularly
  • Controlled costs:
    • Predictable, subscription-based pricing
    • Set up new employees – or remove departing employees –  faster, cheaper and easier
    • Use it without having to “own” it – no capital costs to install, update, and maintain the infrastructure
    • Extend the useful life of your workstation investment
    • Eliminate the need to invest in building out a new server room when moving locations

Implementation of Okta for Single Sign-On, Multi-Factor Authentication, and automated provisioning/termination of users.
Okta makes it simple for our client to control and secure user access throughout its many locations and thousands of employees. While Single Sign-On capability allows for convenient access to company accounts, Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) enforces a strict security policy right at the time of access.

When a user attempts to login in using their username and password, they receive a push notification on a separate device to confirm the action. In plainer terms, MFA ensures that only users with both the security credentials (username and password) and well as an independent additional device (such as a smartphone) that corresponds to those credentials will be able to access the account.

Implementation of Box for secure file sharing and partner collaboration.

The ability to work together is a key consideration for businesses of any size or type. Box allows our clients’ employees to easily and securely share their work with each other as needed, which keeps their collaborative efforts optimized and effective.

Encryption of all user machine hard disks.

Confidentiality is the cornerstone of any firm’s ability to do business – especially in the financial services industry, where regulations are so strict, and consequences for non-compliance are so severe.

That’s why encryption is such an important part of their security. Encryption is the cryptographic transformation of data — or plaintext — into cipher text, which makes data unreadable to anyone who accesses that data without authorization. Users with the correct authorization can then translate the encrypted message back into the original plaintext upon access.

By ensuring their hard disks are properly encrypted, we can make sure that their data is unreadable even in the event it is accessed by an unauthorized external party.

Axcient backup systems were implemented to provide secure disk-to-disk-to-cloud backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity of files and systems.

Without effective Business Continuity contingencies, their firm could suffer devastating consequences during an emergency. Data loss can affect their company’s reputation, leading to loss of business, and result in regulatory fines and legal action.

We equipped the client with an Axcient backup system to ensure that their data is always backed up and recoverable, no matter what happens to the primary disks. Data loss can occur for any number of reasons, whether it’s a hurricane that knocks out your physical servers or even human error. With this backup solution in place, the client can rest easy knowing that their data is always readily available and secure.

Development of GLBA-compliant policies and procedures.
Compliance is an ever-changing challenge for businesses of all industries, but primarily those that work in finance, like this client. That’s why we developed a range of vital compliance practices to ensure total data protection to support our client. Without these policies and procedures, the client could be liable for massive fines and legal consequences that result from non-compliance.

Periodic vulnerability scans were initiated and penetration tests were performed.
Cybersecurity is only truly reliable if it is thoroughly tested. KalioTek™ ensured the client’s systems were properly secure by continually scanning their critical assets for vulnerabilities to provide incisive reports that help simplify them triage and remediation process.

Implementation of a Cloud Access Security Broker

We also equipped them with SkyHigh as their Cloud Access Security Broker, which will ensure that confidential information does not leak to the cloud. This solution also provides security monitoring and incident management required for implementation of cloud-based Symantec Endpoint Protection to prevent sensitive data from being copied to USB or other plug-in devices.

KalioTek™’s Expert Support Continues

Continued expansion and technology-forward initiatives are now in planning stages, with emphasis on enabling business objectives with velocity while remaining secure and compliant with regulatory requirements.

For more information about the services and solutions that made this client’s acquisition and expansion a success, get in touch with the KalioTek™ team right away at 1 (408) 550-8000 or sales@kaliotek.com. 

Published On: 22nd March 2018 By: Mark Richards
KalioTek™ > Technology Articles > KalioTek™ Builds A Secure And Compliant IT Environment For Rapidly Growing Financial Services Firm