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Skipping New Servers, Colo. Bank Goes Big in the Cloud

The Eastern Colorado Bank in Cheyenne Wells, Colo., has been dealing in the cloud for years, but an aging IT infrastructure pushed it to further outsource its business.

The $350 million-asset bank recently moved much of its infrastructure onto CSI's cloud solution, including its file, Citrix, print and Exchange servers as part of a business continuity plan.

The decision to move various operations to the cloud can be difficult for some bankers, as security and other concerns dominate the conversation. Executives at Eastern Colorado, however, didn't have that problem — the bank's core system, Precision by Fiserv, has been hosted for several years, said Megan Harmon, the bank's chief operating officer.

But the bank did have to wait until its existing servers were ready to be retired.

"We've long been a bank that is comfortable with outsourcing things we can't do better," Harmon said. "But once you purchase a server you use it until it dies."

The decision to move servers to the cloud involved more than just replacing one system — it involved two systems, actually. Given the rise of digital banking, and the subsequent expectations of customers for the bank to always be virtually "open," the bank had started looking at backup systems in case of an outage or a natural disaster. Tornadoes, for instance, are not uncommon on the eastern plains of Colorado.

"We were talking about building an entire redundant system," Harmon said. "But we thought, 'Before we buy double, why don't we consider outsourcing?' … We didn't give up anything in the trade."

The company already had a relationship with CSI — the vendor provided managed services for the bank.

Harmon said the outsourcing means the branches no longer have to worry if one of the other branches goes down. Additionally, the move has allowed its one and a half IT staffers to focus on other projects instead of devoting all their energy to maintaining routers and switches.

"Now we get to talk about products, services and acquisitions; we get to be more strategic," Harmon said, "rather than spending our days focusing task-list items."

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