Case Studies: Financial Services
The technology needs of financial service companies are becoming increasingly complex in all areas. Security, data backup and disaster recovery, interaction with outside entities such as clearing houses and service bureaus, communication with clients and legal requirements are all causing increased demands on technology systems. The days of having a couple of home PCs with a workgroup-type network are over. Server- based user authentication, hardware firewalls, redundant storage and backup systems are all basic requirements.
Listed below are several case studies showing QSE”s extensive experience for a wide variety of financial services companies:
Case Study 1 – Real Estate
A large office of a national real estate company was experiencing chronic computer operational and user problems. The primary issues were with lost files, printers that didn’t work, shared user workstations that frequently didn’t work, agents bringing in their own computers and attaching them to the network, etc. Some of the workstations in the office were frequently unusable because users would change settings, download software and add their own files. In addition, some agents would spend hours working on a Microsoft Publisher brochure for a listing, only to have the file disappear. The office had invested tens of thousands of dollars in high-end color printing equipment, but frequently they were unusable because print drivers were getting deleted or corrupted. In addition, the office had no conditioned power backup or data backup procedures for critical files. Virus attacks frequently rendered the system unusable. The server did not have enough horsepower (memory and processor).
The company had a proposal for over $20,000 to replace several of the workstations, with a new proposed server based on a single processor and minimal memory and a single hard drive. The server was not expandable, and it barely met the minimum needs required by their software. QSE implemented Windows Terminal Server© on a new, dual-processor server with mirrored RAID file storage, secured by a tape backup system and uninterruptible power supply (UPS). All the workstations now have exactly the same configuration, so users cannot alter drivers or install unauthorized software. Virus protection is run from the server to protect all systems. All files are stored centrally on the server, and a tape backup procedure ensures that user data is secure. In addition, the printing issues have been stabilized and the system has successfully withstood multiple power outages and virus attacks without major downtime or data loss. Users have reported increased productivity, and now they are able to spend more productive time in the office researching properties and preparing for closings, and less time on chronic computer problems. The company was able to not only keep all existing workstation and printer hardware, but actually add back two additional machines to their system that were not functioning.
Case Study 2 – Mortgage Company
A mortgage company needed to upgrade some of their systems and had decided on a piecemeal approach involving individual workstations. For approximately the same retail cost as several mid-range desktops the company was considering from their former supplier, QSE was able to engineer a server system that also allowed redundant data backups and future growth to meet an augmented business plan currently in the works. QSE also helped them implement a digital document management solution to speed recovery and cut down on paperwork, plus QSE implemented an improved printer and file sharing system that increased productivity within the office by over 50% per individual. In addition, QSE replaced an outdated network architecture involving hubs with Ethernet switches, which eliminated chronic network performance and congestion issues.
The QSE-engineered system is much more stable, less prone to downtime, and contains built-in virus protection, power backup and data recovery elements. The company is now able to achieve its growth strategy of adding approximately 50% more producers over the next 12 months.
Case Study 3 – Financial counseling company – security breach
A large financial counseling company was experiencing significant performance and security issues with their systems. Their platform supported not only their internal operations, but several other financial service companies around the country on a service bureau basis.
QSE was hired to do a security and performance audit. QSE uncovered suspicious activity on their network, and upon further investigation it was determined that some outside hackers had gained access to their systems, and was selling illicit videos using this company’s servers, storage and network capacity. QSE was able to shut down the activity, re-work the company’s security platforms, and did a complete security and software licensing compliance audit. We also helped the client work with their customers to restore their faith and confidence in the client and their services and systems.