Mergers and acquisitions are a prominent feature of the banking landscape. According to the FDIC, the number of commercial banks and savings and loan companies decreased from more than 9,000 in 2004 to just over 5,000 in 2018.
Consolidation offers numerous benefits such as expanding services while decreasing the cost of operations. However, the process of consolidation introduces challenges – including how to quickly, securely and cost-effectively integrate new locations into a bank’s existing IT network. Integration can be slow and complex, with the bank’s IT team coordinating the efforts of multiple technology providers. It can also be costly with numerous new pieces of hardware to add.
These were the challenges one Midwestern bank was trying to solve recently when it acquired a nearby competitor with three rural branches. However, with Managed SD-WAN from Spectrum Enterprise, the bank was able to surmount all of them.
Prior to the acquisition, the bank had connected its seven branches to each other and its main data center using a fiber Ethernet network provided by Spectrum Enterprise. The bank initially planned to simply add the three new branch locations into its existing network.
Two of the branches were within the Spectrum Enterprise service area. One of them could be treated like the bank’s other seven locations, using fiber Ethernet to connect to the existing WAN. The other, however, did not have fiber network access. And the third branch fell entirely outside the reach of the Spectrum Enterprise service area. A cost-effective solution for the two locations without fiber needed to be identified quickly to meet the terms of the acquisition, which stipulated that secure connectivity be established within just five weeks.
The bank’s IT team collaborated with Spectrum Enterprise engineers to identify a suitable solution that could not only meet this aggressive timeline but also the bank’s security requirements, which mandated that Internet traffic for all branches be routed through one firewall in the main data center.
The best option was to build a hybrid SD-WAN architecture that integrated the existing Ethernet sites with native Layer 2 SD-WAN sites.
A customized solution for the bank was a design that centered on Spectrum Enterprise Managed SD-WAN. Managed SD-WAN enables connectivity to an existing Spectrum Enterprise Ethernet network from any location that has Internet access.
Economical broadband Internet service was used as the underlay for the Managed SD-WAN solution at the branch outside the service area and the in-network branch without fiber network access. Installing and configuring a simple network device quickly established connectivity. “Being able to work directly with the engineers during the implementation and testing was really integral in getting things up and running smoothly,” says the bank’s vice president and IT director.
Within the required five-week timeframe, Spectrum Enterprise was able to use Ethernet and SD-WAN technologies to connect all 10 locations together in a private WAN and satisfy the needs at each location. The result is reliable connectivity from the corporate hub to all branches, which supports core banking activities, Internet access and cloud-based applications.
The Managed SD-WAN solution has exceeded the bank’s expectations. “We’re seeing really good results,” says the IT director. “You could walk into any of the new branches and not tell any difference from our existing branches at all”.
With Managed SD-WAN and Ethernet technologies, bank executives have confidence that they can quickly and seamlessly integrate new branches from future acquisitions into their network no matter where they are located.
To learn more about Managed SD-WAN from Spectrum Enterprise, watch this video.
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Steve has over 25 years of professional experience in product management, product development and sales leadership. In his current role, Steve is responsible for the SD-WAN and virtual security services product portfolios. Steve holds a Master of Business Administration from Duquesne University and a Master of Science in Information and Communication Sciences from Ball State University.