In the coming year, the need to reduce expenses will be paramount. However, this drive to reduce expenses cannot result in a reduction of the ability to serve members. After all, cutting off your arm is a poor way to lose weight. Outlined here are three ways you can not only reduce your expenses but also increase efficiency and better protect member data.
1. The Internet is everywhere. The access is inexpensive. Use it to connect your branches.
Many credit unions continue to rely on old networking infrastructure to connect branches, disaster recovery sites and as backup in the event a primary network outage occurs. These technologies, such as Frame Relay and ISDN, are expensive to operate and maintain and are approaching their end of life. Newer carrier-based solutions like MPLS can be just as expensive and lack the security of end-to-end encryption to protect member information. Using the Internet as your network is much less expensive and reliable (the Internet has never been down). The biggest sticking point in the past has been the security, but this is no longer the case.
One company in the credit union industry had been connecting branch offices with Frame Relay circuits, using ISDN as backup. Unsatisfied with the performance and cost of their ISDN, they adopted an Internet-based network utilizing Blue Ridge Secure Virtual Ethernet Service (SVES). Since Blue Ridge provides the highest level of commercially available cryptography (the same hack-proof cryptography deployed around the world by U.S. intelligence agencies), security over the public Internet backbone was now higher than private line solutions. And since access bandwidth is not expensive, network speeds could be easily improved. The result was an 80% decrease in monthly communication costs, higher performance, and improved security. Even more telling is that they are now migrating their Frame Relay network over to SVES.
2. The Internet is everywhere. The access is inexpensive. Use it for disaster recovery and business continuity.
Ongoing Operations, a CUSO focused on disaster recovery and business continuity was one of the first in the credit union industry to discover the benefits an Internet-based network could provide for their clients. As a CUSO, Ongoing Operations understands acutely the needs of credit union IT shops. Specifically, they recognized that each credit union needs to be able to choose the business continuity options that best fit their tolerance for risk and IT infrastructure. With SVES, Ongoing Operations offers clients have a reliable, secure, and inexpensive option to access critical disaster recovery/business continuity services. Additionally, the availability of inexpensive broadband over cable allows Ongoing Operations to offer backup networks with “last mile” paths that are separate from the traditional carrier bundle. This lowers the risk of network outage caused by all too common construction accidents while still being less expensive than traditional ISDN backup.
3. Ethernet is everywhere. Your IT staff already knows it. Use it for your WAN.
Different network protocols mean more complexity, which means more potential failure point and ultimately higher costs. Chances are you are already using Ethernet for your LAN. Your IT staff understands it. It is simple and effective. Why not use it for your WAN and avoid the hidden costs that come with the moves, changes, adds, and deletes that you make all the time? And SVES WAN works like an Ethernet extension cord from your network. You can plug in a branch office or home office and it is as if you are sitting in your headquarters. Even offices overseas can be treated as if they were plugging in to your main office. No complex protocols to learn or new skill sets to hire. Using Ethernet keeps your WAN simple
Blue Ridge Networks provides technology and solutions to implement impenetrable communications solutions over the public network. We have over 10 years of serving organizations with the highest security standards, including U.S. intelligence agencies, without a single reported security vulnerability during that time. We have thousands of users on our managed network and we have partnered with companies such as Ongoing Operations to make our solutions available to the credit union industry. Please visit http://www.blueridgenetworks.com/solutions/sves.htm or www.ongoingoperations.com to learn more.