Finding the Perfect Internet Service Provider

When it comes to household repairs or routine auto maintenance, doing it yourself can save you time and money. Unfortunately, the DIY mentality doesn’t always work in a financial institution, especially when it comes to providing internet service to multiple branches.

This was the case for First Texas Data, Inc., a wholly owned division of First Texas Bancorp, Inc. The division, a CSI Meridian.NET core customer since 2004, manages the core processing and communication needs of three independently chartered First Texas Banks—and their 16 branches across the Lone Star State.

In 2006, the branches were transmitting data on a frame relay network. After switching to a multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) network and establishing a domain, the First Texas team decided to implement corporate strategies for internet and email. Sidney Long, senior vice president of First Texas Data, said they quickly realized they lacked the necessary resources to pull this off on their own.

“We planned to go through a standard internet service provider (ISP) and bolt on all the additional services we needed,” Long says. “It would not have been a good solution to maintain and keep compliant. We were in way over our heads and overwhelmed, and it was a godsend that we found CSINet.”\

Everything In One Box

CSINet is a flexible internet platform—built and implemented on CSI’s enterprise-level secure infrastructure—that provides comprehensive, scalable internet service. According to Long, CSINet provided everything First Texas Data needed to deploy internet service across its many locations.

“We had already established our domain, so we had a pretty good idea of what we were dealing with from an endpoint perspective,” Long says. “CSI assigned
two technicians to the project, and they met with us and walked us through the steps. It took about three weeks to get it all done. It was very successful, and we were very happy.”

On top of the smooth deployment, CSINet also saved Long the hassle of sourcing the firewall and other network security elements through additional vendors, including malware and distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection, an intrusion prevention system and customizable content filtering.

“We must have a robust firewall, and the protections of a firewall are not enough on their own,” he says. “We didn’t have any additional engineers, so we would have had to rely on multiple secondary vendors to establish all of that correctly and maintain it. By deploying CSINet, we had all of that in one box. It was the perfect solution for us.”

A Strong Cybersecurity Profile

First Texas Data conducts regular cybersecurity training with its employees, including education on how to recognize phishing emails meant to trick bank employees into sharing valuable personal information. However, despite the training and education programs, a few malicious emails fall through the cracks each year. But when that happens, Long says CSINet is there to help catch them.

“In each of those instances where someone clicked on a malicious link in an email or opened a suspicious attachment, we’ve run forensics and contacted CSINet security,” Long says. “Then, the CSINet team comes back with a report that shows how the protections we have in place kept an infection from propagating down into our network.”

These reports are helpful when working with examiners and auditors, and Long says he’s never had a network or an internet-related finding in any exam or audit. He cited one assessment in particular where he’s had outstanding results: the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s Cybersecurity Assessment Tool (CAT).

“We’ve had very good risk ratings on our CAT because of the protection CSINet affords us, and we feel very comfortable that our cybersecurity profile is strong.”

The Human Element

Along with Meridian.NET, CSINet and other CSI solutions that First Texas Data uses, Long says it’s the relationship with CSI’s people that makes everything work so well.

“We can always call the security team if we have questions, and we’ve even had [CSI Vice President of Internal Audit] Steve Sanders come and do cybersecurity seminars for our communities,” Long says. “Between the people, the service they provide, the products and the pricing, CSI has been an excellent technology partner that has never let us down.”

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