Face it, it’s not easy being an IT professional today ─ especially if you are tasked with spearheading the digital transformation of a large financial institution. You must find a solution that will enable you to meet your customers’ expectations for fast and easy access to all of their data and services, while safeguarding your company’s valuable information and applications from cyber criminals and ransomware. You are also expected to select and deploy these new technology solutions quickly, while staying within your allotted IT budget.

To accomplish these often-conflicting goals, many financial institutions are now replacing their legacy, monolithic backup environments with more modern IT infrastructure. The solutions they are choosing are ones that can provide the ability to securely and quickly connect to essential data and applications, safely back up all critical systems, easily recover data in the event of any disaster, and scale the environment seamlessly as the amount of data stored and end-user needs escalate.

As a federally regulated financial institution with a large national presence, Canadian Western Bank (CWB) is a great example of an enterprise that is meeting these challenges head-on. Well known across the financial industry as IT innovators and early adopters of new technology, CWB recently launched an extensive digital modernization project.

CWB had been relying on multiple backup and recovery technologies that were increasing the overhead and complexity of the IT environment, in addition to not meeting the institution’s recovery objectives. The lengthy delays in data recovery were clearly not acceptable to CWB’s busy customer groups.

“We wanted to develop a hybrid cloud delivery model that could support our organization’s digital transformation strategy and prepare for rapid growth going forward,” said Dion Dubé, Sr. AVP Infrastructure, CWB. “We needed a solution that could deliver that flexibility and be more cost-effective and efficient.”

The Canadian financial institution was also preparing to move from its own data center into an Equinix facility to rein in IT costs, decrease data restoration times, and improve data and document security. “We needed a data management solution that was much more flexible, worked equally well on-premise or in the cloud, and offered a single pane of glass to simplify management,” said Dubé.

CWB made the decision to work with Canadian IT partner Reliant Technologies to bridge the gap between project strategy and execution. Reliant is known as one of the most creative technology partners in western Canada,” said Dubé. “Their professional team worked very closely with us to thoroughly understand our needs up front, and then identified all of the steps required to develop and deploy a unified solution.”

Reliant and CWB considered multiple software solutions for the transformation project, including Cohesity’s next-gen data management platform for hybrid and multicloud environments. “Cohesity’s approach is different from other data management providers, since they also provide file and object services, which allows for direct access to data in the backups. Businesses cut down overnight batch jobs to minutes, while users can use this backup data for deriving additional value – including to accelerate dev/test, and many other use cases. Additionally, Cohesity’s unique ability to store fully hydrated copies of the backup data allows backups to be recovered at scale within minutes, – a very powerful feature for risk management going forward,” said Sandy Kohler, CEO, Reliant Technologies.

“Cohesity is much simpler to manage than our previous solution,” noted Dubé. “It enables our IT team to focus on delivering solutions for our internal clients through automation of key backup protection policies and role-based access levels. With the implementation of Cohesity, we have been able to refocus our IT resources on other high value activities for CWB.”

Data security has also improved significantly with the move to Cohesity. “Ransomware attacks are one of the biggest risks faced by all organizations today,” said Dubé. “Cohesity’s next-gen data management solution provides us with peace of mind that our valuable data is well-protected and easily restored, which is critical in the financial services industry.”

When asked what advice he’d give to his peers in IT, Dubé said, “Don’t rush through the project design phase. All of the time we spent upfront with Reliant, explaining what we wanted the solution to do and how we envisioned to use it for platforms we haven’t even developed yet, was well worth it. This process enabled Reliant to provide us with multiple options and explain some of the challenges we could encounter as we grew and allowed our team to focus on design and architecture that will truly provide value for us. And finally, always look to be a change leader in your organization and question existing boundaries. By challenging the status quo and looking to move forward quickly, previously unforeseen benefits may be presented that might be easily achievable ─ our implementation of Cohesity is a great example of this.”

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