16 Jun Microsoft Infrastructure Solution at Libra Bank
With the new IT infrastructure implemented by CRESCENDO, Libra Bank offers a touch of speed and flexibility to the customers.
The high growth rate recorded by Libra Bank in 2005, and plans for territorial expansion and growth of the number of customers have made it necessary to implement an efficient IT system that meets bank’s objectives.
To support the development and territorial expansion, Libra Bank needed a stable infrastructure, to operate 24 hours, it needed an advanced infrastructure to meet security standards specific to banking. These requirements could not be implemented without a modern IT solution.
Due to the facilities offered by Microsoft Windows Server 2003, installation of a new domain on new systems was decided, and all application servers, computers and users were to be migrated into this area.
One of the basic requirements of the project was that “downtime” to be as close to zero as possible in order not to disrupt the activity of users and of the bank.
Libra Bank has decided to implement a solution based on Windows Server 2003 that will ensure safety, flexibility and stability needed in a bank. Thus, an auspicious working environment was created for both users and Help Desk team. The functioning of systems and services improved and remote interventions upon workstations and servers have become faster and more efficient.
“The decision to implement this infrastructure is in line with the strategy of diversifying Libra Bank’s services and products and provides technical support for smooth functioning of an extensive regional network, as Libra Bank aims to have,” President of Libra Bank Axel Hummel says.
The project of transferring the existing infrastructure based on Windows 2000 Server, to a solution which meets Libra Bank’s requirements, was conducted together with experts from CRESCENDO Solution House and had three stages.
Each stage had three tasks and after each task Libra Bank has been provided with a project plan or a solution installed and configured, delivered as documentation. In order to meet the need that “downtime” is as close to zero as possible, CRESCENDO’s specialists used ADMT (Active Directory Migration Tool), recommended by Microsoft in such cases for migrating application servers, computers, users and their profiles. Thus, users had just to restart the computer to sign in the new domain using the same username and same password.
Before deploying Group Policies, questionnaires were conducted for management to determine a security policy specific to company’s activity. Afterwards, CRESCENDO implementation team along with IT representatives of Libra Bank, established security policies to be implemented and applied within the company.
A new structure for organizational units in Active Directory has been achieved, to correspond to the internal organization of the company.
Within the solution, CRESCENDO’s experts used Microsoft recommendation named AGDLP (A for account, G for global group, DL for domain local group, P for permissions) which is a strategy and allocation of permissions.
During the migration process they moved from a simple File Server to a File Server specialized on this feature, consisting of Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2003, with management opportunities from Web interface.
Finally acceptance tests were carried out and they have been passed successfully.
“Customers are the main beneficiaries of this project implemented by Libra Bank and CRESCENDO, because this infrastructure provides additional flexibility and speed in carrying out operations through more efficient activity of the IT department”, President of Libra Bank Axel Hummel says.
“The solution brings immediate benefits such as better control over existing applications, resulting in increased safety and reduced incidents of administration, but also long term benefits, because it allows users to increase productivity and hence leads to an increased customer satisfaction. The unitary infrastructure is consistent with industry standards. A solid foundation was thus created for implementing new applications and services that support the expansion strategy of Libra Bank,” CRESCENDO’s Managing Director Marius Tulea says.
Following completion and migration of solution deployment, Libra Bank Company has a range of facilities such as:
- high security through the implementation of security policies in accordance with company’s activity
- scalability by possibility to open new branches or new services and servers without disrupting business activities
- redundancy when it comes to services and functions within the solution (domain controller, DNS, DHCP)
- centralized management and possibility to delegate management to certain members of the IT team
- better server, computer and user organization within organizational units in Active Directory and possibility to apply group policies according to the group of users desktop or laptop type etc.
- integration with Linux servers in the company, using the same credentials and synchronization in case of a change
- full documentation provided during the project that includes description of solution, backup and restore procedure, activities to be performed by the system administrator etc.
The client company
Libra Bank is a member of the U.S. investment fund New Century Holdings since May 2003. Romanian companies controlled by NCH Broadhurst are the shareholders of the bank. Libra Bank has begun a deep restructuring process after the takeover by member companies of NCH. It established a new strategy, it changed processes and operations, and it created new products. Image of the branches was changed to create an open and friendly atmosphere that communicates bank transparency and closeness to its customers. Libra Bank Acquisition by member companies of NCH group also meant re-launch of bank’s entire business. Libra Bank has begun a steady and solid growth process since then.
Thus, Libra Bank recorded one of the highest growth rates on the Romanian banking market in 2005. The factors underlying Libra Bank’s success are the following: strong support from U.S. investors, keeping promises made to customers, and flexibility and efficiency of its services.
Medium and long term strategy of Libra Bank’s management team aims to increase market share of the bank, increase customer number and assets, as well as territorial expansion in major economic cities. Increasing of the market share is particularly directed to professions and small and medium-sized companies.