Recommendation #1: Keep and Maintain a Hardware Inventory
If you don’t have a hardware inventory record for your bank, it’s a great place to start. A complete list should include the following for both voice and data equipment:
- Software Level/Firmware Level
- General Function – Server, Firewall, Router, Switch, PBX
- Warranty Term and Expiration Date – End of Support Date, End of Life Date
Tip: Remember to include routers, switches, servers, PBXs, Wireless Access Points, and essentially any other device that has an IP address — be aware of devices approaching or past end of support or end of life.
Recommendation #2: Keep and Maintain a WAN Services Inventory
It’s also a good idea to keep and maintain a WAN services inventory for each location in your financial institution. The inventory should include the following information:
- Circuit Provider
- Circuit Type – T1, Ethernet, Cable Modem
- Circuit Bandwidth
- Circuit Function – MPLS, Internet, Point-to-Point, Voice (PRI/SIP/Analog)
- Provider Contract Signing Date
- Provider Contract Term – 12 month, 24 month, 36 month, 60 month
Tip: Most WAN and telecom circuit contracts are 36 month terms. Most carriers provide contracts with shorter terms (i.e., 24 or even 12 months), but expect to pay a premium -– approximately 20% or more for each reduction in term.
Recommendation #3: Review Your Voice and Data Solution Annually
Because bank voice and data networks are a large portion of your IT operating expense, the best practice is to conduct a yearly review of your technology solution.
For example, if you have not reviewed your MPLS network costs in the past year, you may be paying too much. Pricing pressures from competing providers (e.g., cable companies) have significantly reduced the cost of MPLS WAN circuits in recent years. In addition to pricing, technology advances at a lightning pace, so your solution might have become outdated since your last review.
Tip: If it’s been a year or longer since you reviewed your business communication solution, odds are it’s time for a review.
Engineering Best Practice
Create complete hardware and WAN service inventories to help you better manage your bank’s current business communication solution. These inventories will be very useful when you are ready to review your technology for improvements – you need to know what you have to work with before you start to solve problems. Once you have a thorough understanding of your existing IT communications environment, review your options to ensure you have the best price and technology available.
Don’t Go It Alone!
Safe Systems has seasoned WAN and telecom engineers that will help you throughout the process of evaluating your bank’s voice and data solution. There are a lot of choices, but we can ensure you get the right technology for your bank’s unique voice and data needs.