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Cynthia Ramsaran
Cynthia Ramsaran
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KeyCorp Cans the Old and Grows with the New

To keep IT up to date, bank upgrades to an automated patch-management system.

When KeyCorp needed a more efficient way to solve desktop or server issues affecting its branches, the Cleveland-based bank chose Novadigm's (Mahwah, N.J.) Radia tool to help automate and execute fixes from a central location.

When KeyCorp ($85 billion in assets) implemented Radia more than two years ago, the company was looking to save money as well as increase productivity in its IT department. KeyCorp's executive vice president and chief technology officer, Bob Rickert, says the bank was looking for a way to deploy new applications, patches and changes to the branches from coast to coast without physically sending a consultant on site to handle these tasks.

BOLDLY CHANGING THE OLD

"What Radia lets us do is push out new software to the branch in Alaska and the branch in Maine," says Rickert. "So that [allowed us to] deploy new applications or make changes or patches when Microsoft has vulnerabilities."

Previously, the bank was using the "old-fashioned way" of fixing desktops or servers. "In the olden days, we would have to get the patch from Microsoft and have a lot of people go visit the various desktops and servers in the branches and the offices around the country and install the patch on the computer," Rickert says.

"If it was small enough, maybe we could electronically send a file to the end user and have that person [enter it] into his or her computer. Either way, a group of people was involved in getting the fix deployed on the PC or server," Rickert adds.

The implementation, which took seven months, did not require the IT staff to change its existing platform, according to the bank's vice president of desktop operations and software, Scott Donaldson.

With Radia, KeyCorp avoided employing extra IT staff by having the solutions automated and deployed from one central point.

FASTER TROUBLESHOOTING

"Now," Rickert says, "from a central location, our data center [can enter] the patch or fix and put it in the central server-then, with the tool, push it out to all those PCs and all those servers from one central point without having to rely on the end user or the IT staff."

Rickert says the solution has helped KeyCorp shorten the amount of time it takes to troubleshoot, because the automated system is able to detect 75 to 80 percent of the problems that occur.

"We're able to fix the problems twice as fast as we would if we waited for someone to call us up and tell us about the problem," Rickert says.

"If you can automatically detect it, you sort of know what went wrong, whereas if somebody calls you up and says, 'My screen is blank,' you have to spend some time to figure out what is wrong. But if your tool tells you that your network router crashed, well, that would explain why you have a blank screen and also give us a head start in fixing it. Depending on what the problem is, we can use Radia to automate the fix."

The product has helped the institution track and increase productivity , says Rickert. The solution has allowed the IT staff to be more productive by automating many mundane patches, while IT staffers are developing new functions instead of supporting existing functions, Rickert adds.

If KeyCorp did not move forward with this automated technology, the bank would have had IT staff still going on site to take care of patches and viruses, according to Rickert.

"With things like Microsoft patches or new deployments on software, we can push the button on the central server instead of having people go around and deploy it," says Rickert.

Without the automation Radia provides, Rickert adds, the bank would have been in a more difficult position during the recent rash of virus threats from the likes of Blaster and SoBig.F, because of the constant need to deploy Microsoft patches.

PUSHING OUT PATCHES

"Because the environment today is so complicated, we have these Microsoft patches that we have to deploy," Rickert says. "We have desktops scattered all over North America. That would be a gigantic pain to push out a patch across all those different desktops-let's not even talk about the servers. From an information security point of view, we really have to do all those things, so having an automated tool to help push out those patches is a great help for us."

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FAST FACTS

INSTITUTION: KeyCorp, (Cleveland)

ASSETS: $85 billion

BUSINESS CHALLENGE: Automate deployment of new applications and changes without sending consultants to various KeyCorp locations.

SOLUTION: Novadigm's (Mahwah, N.J.) Radia automated desktop server solution.

KEY QUOTE: "Having an automated tool to help us push out those patches is a great help for us."

- Bob Rickert, EVP & CTO, Keycorp

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