Making the company’s data center applications accessible to its overseas subsidiaries
Virtualizing its physical servers
No longer storing data and applications in remote locations
Providing real-time access to data and applications from the company’s five subsidiaries
No more on-site storage, centralization of data and backup
Managing and optimizing application performance
Looking at outsourcing storage to the Cloud and using Gmail instead of the existing messaging service
Cbp provides expertise in the domain of brokerage, credit insurance consultancy services and pension products. The Cbp group has been offering its clients a range of bespoke digital solutions for twenty-five years. Cbp assists its European clients, which include internationally renowned banks and the biggest European insurance companies, by providing them with advice as well as operational services: call centers, risk selection, processing policy applications and claims through its local platforms. When a distributor sells a loan it must be covered by an insurance policy. All policyholder files are processed over the phone, by mail or email or through web platforms solely dedicated to data management.
Cbp actively participates in the European insurance and protection product market by developing products and solutions not only perfectly suited to its policyholders but to its partners too. In 2015, Cbp represented one out of four mortgages handled by Cbp France.
With over 700 employees, Cbp operates from its headquarters in Nantes but also from Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany and Poland. Cbp’s goal? To become the leading credit insurance provider in Europe.
Challenge: Sharing its applications with its subsidiaries
It was not until Cbp opened its first European subsidiaries in Barcelona in 2007 and in Milan in 2009 that a major problem appeared. The company soon noticed that the software applications installed at the data center in its Nantes headquarters were not fully operational from its remote offices.
Users in sites situated over 1,000 km away or those closer using a low speed WAN network, were experiencing problems. “The first application that caused us the most headaches,” explains Olivier Lavry, Head of Networks & Telecoms at Cbp, “was our file sharing application, which we use constantly in the company to manage the various documents required for insurance dossiers. In addition, there were challenges with the messaging service, which was absolutely vital for a company located in three different countries at that time.”
The solution of virtualization, however, also created a problem. While server virtualization can make the most of available compute resources, it can also increase network traffic over non-virtualized systems. OraSure discovered that maintaining growth would require significant and costly upgrades to its network to achieve the tenfold increase in bandwidth the projections showed was needed. At this point WAN optimization and Riverbed SteelHead entered the picture.
In order to resolve the problem, Cbp decided to install the industry’s #1 WAN optimization solution, Riverbed® SteelHeadTM, a highly effective solution in terms of optimizing and standardizing its network. SteelHead was deployed in each new site in Germany and Portugal, giving Cbp visibility and control over the applications in use. However, increased activity at Cbp and the addition of new subsidiaries a few years later meant that the company seriously needed to rethink its approach to remote IT infrastructure more fundamentally. By 2014, the Milan and Barcelona subsidiaries had over 50 employees, and each subsidiary had its own physical server with 1Tb of data stored locally.
Solution: Centralized and secure virtualization
In each remote location that had local servers and storage, Cbp deployed Riverbed® SteelFusion™, a software-defined edge solution that delivers unprecedented data security, business continuity, IT agility and end-user productivity to distributed enterprises.
SteelFusion enabled Cbp to virtualize remote physical servers as well as centralize and secure remote data and therefore, backup processes into the data center. All remote data and applications are now controlled centrally, meaning branch IT can be scaled up and down when needed, without the need for remote IT staff. And with Riverbed SteelHead WAN optimization natively embedded in each SteelFusion appliance, Cbp was able to maintain accelerated access to applications housed in its data centers or in the cloud.
“We no longer have any physical servers, which means that we can install interchangeable Riverbed devices not only in our subsidiaries but also in our data center,” explained Olivier Lavry. Thanks to SteelFusion, the company was able to open a third subsidiary and standardize its IT implementation based on existing remote sites. Branch IT was set up very quickly and all staff enjoyed far easier access to data.
“Today, no applications or data are stored locally; everything is centralized in our data center, with users accessing information in real-time. The major advantage of using SteelFusion with integrated SteelHead technology is that the data is protected and, in the event of a business continuity plan being triggered following a crisis in a subsidiary, it can be up and running in just a few hours either from its own premises or from an external structure.”
Benefits: Optimal quality of service
Riverbed solutions have now been deployed in all Cbp subsidiaries including Germany, Portugal and Poland. This resulted in two significant changes for the Cbp group. First and foremost, these solutions require minimal maintenance. “Thanks to the quality of Riverbed solutions we can now outsource a subsidiary’s maintenance to a local IT expert with technical skills or a maintenance company, which can intervene in under four hours,” explained Olivier Lavry. But the most significant improvement is that the broker can now control the quality of service of its IT network as well as monitoring the classification and definition of flows circulating in its infrastructures.
“Riverbed SteelFusion and SteelHead have given us back control over our branch IT. We can be certain that staff are getting the best possible user experience and if we need to scale a branch up or down, we know we can do it quickly and efficiently without having to invest heavily in local IT.”