Montgomery Bank is a full-service, family-owned, community bank that has been serving the residents of Southeastern Missouri since 1957. More than 250 employees work for Montgomery Bank at eleven branches, including five branches in St. Louis. The Bank’s tagline is “Easier and Friendlier Financial Solutions” and it lives up to their motto by offering customers personalized service along with the same comprehensive services found in larger banks. In fact, Montgomery Bank has a reputation for introducing innovative services and features long before the bigger banks catch on.
Montgomery Bank’s eleven branches are linked together by a Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) network, anchored by two redundant data centers. Nearly 99% of the bank’s applications reside on virtualized servers within those two datacenters. This allows those applications to be accessed by bank employees from terminals rather than desktops. However, this degree of virtualization demands and requires a high-performing, reliable Wide Area Network (WAN) for both back-office and customer-facing activities.
In the past, mission critical traffic was always competing for bandwidth alongside other necessary tasks. Tasks such as software upgrades, the archiving of data images and the sending of large files. As you can imagine, this often created a bottleneck along with even more costly challenges. “Due to stubborn latency problems, stable connections were often difficult to maintain no matter how much we invested in larger, more expensive circuits and increased bandwidth”, said Steven Ward, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Montgomery Bank.
Additionally, Ward wanted to strengthen security across the system by adding data encryption. Although the bank had never experienced a security exploit, he was well-aware of the potential for attacks. Knowing that data encryption introduces latency and utilizes additional bandwidth, Ward knew that Montgomery Bank’s previous provider could not provide the performance or support or encrypted traffic, because his network was already congested.
Spectrum Business helped Montgomery Bank to revamp its IT environment from the ground up by redesigning their MPLS network, upgrading their network hardware, and moving from a traditional dedicated circuit WAN to a state-of-the-art privately-managed fiber WAN. Spectrum Business also helped the bank migrate their traditional PRI phone services to a Spectrum Business Session Initiated Protocol (SIP) trunking service.
The Montgomery Bank technology team designed the new WAN with Spectrum Business. The complex project required numerous experts with varied backgrounds, specialized technical skills and systems knowledge. “Spectrum Business’s willingness to participate and engage with the other teams was refreshing,” said Ward. “We had not experienced that with our former provider. If Spectrum Business had not actively participated in the design, we would not have the WAN we have today.”
- In Phase 1 of Montgomery Bank’s multi-layered IT overhaul, Spectrum Business first delivered dedicated fiber Internet service. This new Internet connection permitted large IT projects to be executed without impacting traffic on the existing WAN. The new circuit enabled IT to test eBanking services in the same way their users would experience them.
- Phase 2 involved turning up a new fiber point-to-point between Montgomery Bank’s headquarters and one of their branch locations. As testing progressed without a single outage, Ward converted all existing branch Internet connections to Spectrum Business fiber WAN services. This provided a bandwidth increase from 3 Mbps to 12 Mbps, allowing for the encryption of all traffic end to end.
- In the 3rd Phase, Montgomery Bank increased bandwidth to 50Mbps and moved its data center Internet connections over the Spectrum Business WAN Service. Montgomery Bank’s IT team also transferred the Domain Name System (DNS) record hosting to the Spectrum Business Network Operations Center (NOC). In the past, the transfer of DNS records had proved a painstaking and exasperating experience. Ward was happy to report that was not the case here. “The Spectrum Business NOC engineer was excellent, and the transition was accomplished with no complications or interruptions,” said Ward. “It’s the best experience we’ve ever had dealing with these records.”
- In the final phase, Montgomery Bank upgraded its network hardware to handle greater volume and traffic speeds. They also exchanged their legacy PRI phone service for Spectrum Business SIP Trunking in order to maximize cost benefits and improve flexibility and service. “Our phone savings were hard to believe,” said Ward. “We saw a 90 percent reduction in our phone-related expenses after we converted to Spectrum Business SIP Trunking”.
A Secure WAN that Performs like a LAN
With Montgomery Bank’s enterprise data and voice network running over Spectrum Business fiber, latency is almost non-existent even with end-to-end traffic encryption. Also, bandwidth to most branches has increased 20-fold and users report that application response is so fast that it often feels like they are working on a local network.
Cost Savings Pay for Network Upgrade and Add to the Bottom Line
Montgomery Bank reports that their recurring data and phone service costs savings were high enough to pay for the entire network hardware upgrade and still return significant funds to their bottom line. Ongoing monthly expenses have been reduced by approximately 55%.
A Real Business Partner that Puts Customer Goals First
From pre-sale to implementation and beyond, the Spectrum Business account team have acted as true advocates for the bank. “Their dedication and responsiveness has been outstanding,” said Ward. “We were able to accomplish all of our objectives, purchase new equipment and realize annual net benefits in excess of $300,000—all of this is due to our partnership with Spectrum Business.”
The Bottom Line
By partnering with Spectrum Business, Montgomery Bank secured its WAN traffic, eliminated latency and increased application performance, while slashing recurring costs. “Rarely can IT deliver such an impressive increase in service, performance and stability and do so while reducing recurring costs so dramatically,” said Ward.
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