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How BBS’ Cloud Migration Modernised their Security Capability

Regulations tighten, market demand swings, technologies retire and renew – any one of these levers can accelerate rapid, deep change and innovation for a building society.

Agile and operationally resilient, Buckinghamshire Building Society (‘the Society’) have, over the years, continued to invest in developing a reliable, resilient, and modernised IT platform. Responsible for delivering key financial services throughout the UK and Wales – including savings accounts and specialist mortgage products – the Society saw an opportunity for growth by migrating workloads to the public cloud.

In today’s fast-paced consumer marketplace, technologies can be the difference between businesses that digitally thrive and innovate, and those that fall behind either competitively or regulatorily. A cloud migration presented the ideal opportunity for the Society to upgrade and improve its security capability, enabling improvements across their wider IT environment.

Regulations Tighten for Building Societies

Regulatory reform is, for financial services providers at least, a frequent and necessary change that can reshape how building societies and banks alike secure their employees and customers in an increasingly digital market. For 2023 and thereafter, there has been a groundswell of regulation following Parliamentary activity and the success of the Financial Services and Markets Bill (December 2022) in the House of Commons.

But whilst regulations may tighten, the financial market is improving the kinds of flexibility and capital available to building societies, according to sources. Change on this scale can help with the modernisation of banking, as money and finance become more digital every year.

 

 

Young couple working on their mortgage.

Understanding the Main Challenges

The Society’s existing IT estate was reaching its end-of-life, increasingly at-risk with ageing infrastructure. Financial service providers are often quick to adopt new technologies, whether that move is pressured by regulations, competition, or market demand. The Society wanted to invest in these technologies, which was ideal for a move to Microsoft Azure.

BBS Reaches the Cloud

For heavily regulated businesses, outdated or legacy systems can produce, or even escalate, all kinds of risks, from security invasions to performance issues. A cloud migration, on the other hand, can rapidly unlock growth over time, especially for those investing in areas such as security and innovation.

With so many competitors already journeying to the cloud, the Society furthered its partnership with CSI to support a system upgrade with leading technologies. CSI has continued to work with the Society to drive service excellence and relevance, leveraging cutting-edge security capabilities from an Azure Cloud environment.

Modernising with new technologies, however, enables a business to upgrade away from ageing kit that can quickly feel tired. A common criticism amongst financial service providers, legacy systems need to eventually become reimagined with refreshed and upgraded solutions. The Society needed to not only optimise how successfully it can compete in a digital marketplace, but also how well it complies with the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) tightening regulations. Cloud technologies have become a lever for advantageous transformation from the inside out, meaning that the Society is now well-positioned as a resilient, agile brand.

Outdated, or ageing, legacy technologies are often drivers for meaningful innovation, where businesses can start to level up different, critical capabilities across their environment, like the Society did with its cyber security solution. Moving to the cloud, for the Society, was a way of unlocking even more reward from its ongoing IT investments, whilst benefitting from performance and speed improvements.

The Challenge with Resources

Perhaps one of the most pressing challenges facing financial services providers is how to manage resources during periods of disruption. Many building societies have identified the struggle with resourcing existing BAU activities whilst adhering to changing regulations. This makes it even more challenging to conduct a major modernisation project like a cloud migration.

CSI works with clients to overcome the common challenge with resources. We achieve this by:

  • Using our tried and trusted solutions
  • Managing risk within project delivery
  • Prioritising collaboration
  • Deploying specialists to do the hard work, thereby ensuring client requirements are always considered when a solution is built.

This project modernised the following areas:

  • Migration of servers
  • SQL and Mail were migrated to Azure and Office 365
  • Desktop and laptop environments updated (deployed all operating systems via Intune)
  • Security upgrade into Fortra’s Alert Logic MDR (Managed Detection and Response) service

Building a “Walled Garden” Standard for Security

Cutting-edge security products are deployed to prevent and cure breaches, using advanced intelligence to root out, prioritise and rapidly remediate escalating threats before they worsen. Financial services providers are amongst the most highly targeted industries, where a disruptive threat landscape has created more urgency than ever to innovate security controls.

Upgrading its security capability to compete with these modern threat types, the Society now uses Fortra’s Alert Logic, running a premium 24/7 Managed Detection & Response (MDR) product to harden its deference perimeter. More than just another security tool, CSI’s MDR services bridge security gaps, providing access to advanced technologies and the skilled resources required to excel business objectives. From the inside, the Society operates what it calls a “walled garden”. Their security, or resilience, consists of superior MDR and firewall solutions to tightly envelope their IT environment.

The security paradigm has challenged many regulated businesses to become more proactive in how it addresses today’s aggressive threat landscape. For the Society, this meant maturing security products and tightening coverage and visibility to ‘wall in’ critical data and resources from outside threats.

CSI Supports Building Societies

Benefits of Upgraded Security

With any cloud environment, security capabilities are responsible for fully protecting data and maintaining strict compliance.

Fortra’s Alert Logic, with its cloud-based approach, benefited the Society’s new Azure platform by offering a more robust, continuous view of threat activity across their cloud IT infrastructure. This enhanced MDR solution offers the Society a highly responsive security service, where the addition of 24/7 monitoring and dedicated security research further fortifies their “walled garden” approach to data.

About our Client

Since 1907, Buckinghamshire Building Society has been providing England and Wales with highly valuable financial services, including mortgages and savings accounts. Simplifying financial products for customers across the UK, the Society is renowned for its dedication to its members.

Buckinghamshire Building Society logo

Talking Differently – Securing Financial Services

In partnership with Buckinghamshire Building Society, CSI engaged in key security conversations, ensuring a bespoke, compliant IT solution that could continue to benefit from being upgraded.

CSI’s cloud services consultation is award-winning, launching key UK building societies into the cloud with rewarding results. Regulatory expertise measured in critical corporate certifications – from FSQS to PCI ISA, ISO 27001 and more – CSI’s specialists know the headaches of regulation too well. Our consultants also understand the fastest, most secure route to modernising a building society using the latest cloud technologies.

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