Microsoft has announced that their Windows Server 2008 End of Life (EOL) is set for early next year (2020) and their Windows Server 2012 is slated for EOL in 2023. End of Life, for Microsoft, means that they will no longer provide any support or updates for these products, putting them at inevitable risk for cyber-attacks. A business with these “dying” servers must make a measured choice, pay the upfront costs to fully replace the server in-house or take advantage of a hosted environment, like IDS. Many financial institutions are moving towards a hosted solution due to the significant advantages they provide.
At its basic level, a hosted environment is simply when another company holds and runs (hosts) a server for your business. Functionally, it operates the same as an in-house or local server; however, all of the operations (potential problems and management) are handled by the other company. A hosted environment provides access through limited connections. This is different from a cloud-based environment, which is designed to provide massive, global access from any device, anywhere through the internet (i.e., Google Maps or Gmail). We highly recommend our hosted environment, IDS, to provide the following benefits detailed in this post.
Servers are an immense cost, easily reaching into the tens of thousands of dollars per unit. Many financial institutions require multiple servers to handle the various aspects of their online presence. For a fraction of the cost of one physical server, an IDS hosted solution can be utilized. Repairs and costly replacements would no longer be a concern, as IDS handles all operations for the servers and the bank only pays a manageable fee. In addition, costly disaster recovery plans (in the event of a natural disaster or technical issue) at the bank level are no longer a burden, as the hosted environment puts safeguards in place and typically creates redundancies to prevent any downtime to provide constant availability.
Purchasing new in-house servers can be overwhelming and they tend to come with “hardware-locked” licensing. This means it locks it into certain specifications that cannot later be modified, providing a limited lifespan (typically 5-years) before needing to be replaced again. IDS is always on the lookout for technical or license limitations to perpetually provide up-to-date servers, preventing downtime in lengthy updates and installations. Hosted environments stay competitive by looking to the future and maintaining modern resources. This translates into lower latency, faster processing, and overall better service. IDS strives to ensure their partner banks can access their data quickly, while providing an environment that meets necessary regulatory standards. IDS is also responsible for transitioning financial institutions from their older, network operating systems to newer, more secure and compliant ones that they manage.
Scalability and Customization
An online presence is now, more than ever, an important and necessary aspect of modern business. Every business must consider their impact on the ever-growing digital platform now and in the future. They must also consider the hardware requirements needed to reach their goals. In hosted environments, servers can be customized and scaled to the needs of the client. If your online presence grows significantly, a hosted environment like IDS accurately determines the resources necessary and adjusts the server to meet the demand. This allows for seamless expansion of your online offerings without hassle or worry.
Security can pertain the many aspects of your bank. In a hosted environment, it means:
Physical and Environmental Security – This encompasses all the physical protections that can be made to the server. It includes fire suppression, multifactor authentication access to the building or data center, security sweeps, physical inspections, power outage protection (redundant power supply provided through generators), redundant HVAC systems, flooring ventilation, and constant operational supervision and alerts. IDS employs all of these items to ensure their servers are protected from environmental risks to ensure their 99.5% uptime guarantee.
Operational Security – This refers to the standard operation protocol utilized to handle sensitive information. IDS data centers are all SOC compliant and perform annual external penetration tests. A security team is also maintained, dedicated to understanding financial security concerns and ensuring their banks are secure at all times. In the same way, a financial institution ensures their customer data is secure, IDS protects all their clients’ data with the highest level of care.
Regulatory Security – A business continuity plan for in-house servers covers backups to protect data in case of a hardware failure; however, downtime is still an issue. Hosted environments alleviate or remove this problem altogether. Backups of the server and the entire datacenter are standard protocols. In the case a datacenter is taken offline, the backed up data is moved to another data center to ensure business as usual at the bank. IDS backs up data using several methods and provides a number of tested disaster recovery sites at their disposal to minimize downtime.
One of the most attractive aspects of a hosted environment is the simplicity of it. It takes the more complex technological decision-making burden away from already busy bank leadership. Once the leap is taken to go to a hosted environment, IDS takes the reigns on many operational concerns:
- Scaling On Demand
This provides a peace of mind that these matters are being handled with your financial institution as a number one priority.
In conclusion, hosted environments are gaining familiarity in business today for good reason. They allow you to keep or expand online capabilities, limit security concerns, reduce overall costs, ease operational burdens, and simplify management of online activity. When your servers near the End of Life, remember that the benefits of a hosted environment are numerous and IDS has got your back.
About Automated Systems, Inc.
Since 1981, Automated Systems, Inc. has been a leader in providing innovative core banking, digital banking, and data processing solutions to community banks nationwide. An array of integrated applications provide partnered banks with tailored, cost-effective, competitive choices. ASI delivers industry-leading technology backed by unparalleled in-house conversion, training and support teams; paving the way for progressive, top-notch customer service. ASI corporate headquarters are located at 1201 Libra Drive, Lincoln, NE 68512, 1.800.279.7312. For more information about banking solutions from ASI, visit www.asiweb.com .
About Insite Data Services
IDS data application hosting services combines secure and cost-effective core banking applications, enterprise-class servers and storage, and proven virtualization technology. IDS hosts all of the bank’s servers in secure data centers that use state of the art security systems including identity verification and biometric scanning. Insite Data Services also offers IDS On-Time, a full-service solution dedicated to back-office bank processing. These operations experts allow partnered banks to focus on their most important asset, their customers. For more information visit www.insitedataservices.com.