A revamped IT infrastructure A revamped IT infrastructure. (Source: Shutterstock)

Extra Credit Union ($241 million, Warren, Mich.) needed a backup plan, literally, they had no redundancy or failover strategy; plus running an IT infrastructure, and compliance maintenance was taxing organization resources.

Their solution was to green-light implementation of Grand Rapids, Mich.-based US Signal’s Remote Monitoring and Management platform, Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service, Backup-as-a-Service, and Cloud solutions.

By using US signal services, Extra Credit Union solved some specific IT challenges:

  • No true redundancy or failover plan in case of a disaster or outage.
  • The high cost in running IT infrastructure could divert focus and financial resources from core-community support work.
  • Maintaining compliance with Michigan’s Department of Insurance and Financial Services.

“From an infrastructure standpoint, as a smaller credit union, Extra Credit Union looked to focus more on being a credit union than being an IT shop,” Paul Shammas, IT consultant at Extra Credit Union, said.

After assessing a number of vendors and service providers, Extra Credit Union, which has two branches, Warren and Sterling Heights, Mich., selected US Signal’s RMM platform to manage its network and virtual server endpoints.

“Some of the barriers we ran into was to understand how the users are using the applications here and how they would behave in the cloud,” Shammas noted. “Extra credit union did a cloud assessment, which told us what type of applications we could move to US Signals’ cloud, ensuring we were sizing their environment properly.”

The credit union’s IT manager now receives email alerts from the US Signal managed services team about potential risks that could lead to downtime. The RMM platform monitors thresholds on key network performance metrics such as CPU usage, connectivity speeds and storage space. In addition, US Signal provides Extra Credit Union with cloud backup and disaster recovery solutions.

As part of a wider project, Extra Credit Union migrated its Tier 1 applications to US Signal’s network powered and enterprise grade cloud. Now Extra Credit Union can scale its computer, memory and storage capacity when necessary. As a result, Extra Credit Union has saved 30-40% year over year.

Shammas explained Extra Credit Union houses its servers in the cloud, fully managed. US signal takes care of the remote management of auto-reboots, file clean-ups, patching, antivirus, firewalls and intrusion detection, as well as the quarantining or deletion of viruses and other malware without credit union IT staff involvement.

In addition, US Signal provides the financial institution with reports to meet regulations and enterprise security; systems Shammas pointed out a credit union their size normally would be hard pressed to afford.

The replication of Extra Credit Union’s primary production environment occurs continuously between two US Signal diverse virtual data centers. In the event of a power outage occurs or a fiber disconnection at one data center, the system fails over immediately to the other data center.

“The financial industry is competitive, and banking organizations need to provide an excellent digital experience for their members. Extra Credit Union partnered with US Signal to be an extension of their IT staff, and we really value the opportunity to take care of their daily operations while they transform their business,” Amanda Regnerus, EVP, products and services, said.

“We have been working with US Signal for over 18 months and, during that time, they have truly become an extension of our IT team. Their tailored approach to RMM has removed complex and time-consuming tasks from our IT staff and made it simple to understand and operate our network on a day-to-day basis. As a result, we are free to focus on our core business with far fewer IT-related worries,” Shammas said.

Shammas indicated the credit union is still consolidating and updating databases that are part of the normal business day. “We started out with that cloud assessment and within six months we had moved over 20 servers and databases into the cloud; fully managed and fully redundant.”

The Extra Credit union IT consultant explained they did a business continuity test where they failed everything over from one branch to the other to test the connectivity. “All the applications really proved this solution has got us to the point where we feel like our data is secure and that it’s fully redundant.”