Automated network operations help First Bank deliver better client experiences
One of the largest family-owned banks in the U.S., First Bank has steadfastly helped individuals and businesses thrive for more than four generations. To deliver an excellent client experience, First Bank relies on a secure Juniper network in its data centers and branches.
Branches in Missouri, Illinois, and California and mortgage operations in Kansas and Nebraska
Ranked 7th for performance among U.S. banks (S&P Global Market Intelligence)
Reduction in time spent managing the data center network
Simplified adoption of data center network automation
Family-owned bank helps other family-owned businesses thrive
As the COVID-19 pandemic magnified the importance of digital channels, demand for First Bank’s online business, commercial, and personal banking services grew. Customers could open checking and savings accounts without coming into the branch. The loan process was streamlined from start to finish. In-store branches were redesigned.
“We wanted to modernize and simplify our data center while strengthening cybersecurity,” says Andrew Miller, assistant vice president, network support at First Bank.
Refreshing its data center infrastructure would enable First Bank to assure the performance and availability of its banking, loans, and wealth management services across channels.
Leaving behind a legacy data center network architecture and inefficient protocols like Spanning Tree would increase agility, freeing IT from manual network operations and speeding deployment of network services.
First Bank also wanted to optimize protection of its digital assets as cybercrime rose sharply during the pandemic.
Network automation is a force multiplier for a lean network team
First Bank laid the technology foundation to enhance the digital experience of customers and employees.
The bank refreshed its data center network with a complete Juniper solution, delivering greater resiliency, scalability, and efficiency for its core financial services applications and branch experiences.
First Bank relies on the Juniper QFX5100 line of Switches and Juniper EX4300 Ethernet Switch for its data center IP fabric. The network team uses the intent-based Juniper Apstra system to design, deploy, and operate the data center network. A microsegmented network provides granular security for business-critical applications and data.
“We designed the network fabric using Apstra’s blueprints before we had our switches onsite,” says Mike Pazarena, network infrastructure technician at First Bank. “We had a fully operational network from the moment we plugged in the switches.”
Next-generation firewalls, including Juniper SRX4200 and SRX4100 Services Gateways, provide scalable protection for east-west traffic in the data center as well as at the edge.
Juniper EX3400 and EX2300 Ethernet Switches provide fast, reliable connectivity at First Bank’s St. Louis headquarters and 79 branches in Missouri, Illinois, and California, along with mortgage operations in Kansas and Nebraska. Juniper Mist Wired Assurance brings the advantages of cloud management and Mist AI, enabling the IT team to improve operations and deliver a better network experience to employees.
A technology foundation helps family-owned businesses grow
First Bank has served four generations of clients, helping families save money, own their homes, and pay for college, and helping businesses manage their finances and get funding for growth.
Applications in the data center run with greater efficiency, lower latency, and increased scalability. Servers and virtual machines can be placed anywhere in the network, making it easy to move workloads to meet sudden increases in demand or business continuity requirements.
With the move to permanent remote work, automation is more important than ever. The network team can be confident that the data center network runs as intended with continued assurance. Real-time performance metrics mean that if there’s a problem, resolution is swift.
“Getting away from the command line and using Apstra provides us with a level of management and flexibility we didn’t have before,” says Grant Vosse, senior network analyst at First Bank.
With secure networking that protects users, applications, and infrastructure, First Bank can uphold the digital trust of its clients and maintain regulatory compliance. In regional offices and branches, interactive teller machines, videoconferencing, building controls, and potentially insecure IoT devices are isolated in their own microsegments.
Published October 2021