Thwarting Massive Cyber Attacks for a Micro-Financing Firm

Client Case Study – Microf

“Neovera is the true definition of a partner that is as dedicated to making our environment first class as we want it to be.” – John Savage, CTO, Microf

CLIENT OVERVIEW

Microf is a micro-financing firm for HVAC units. It was established in 2010 to accommodate the growing demand for more flexible options surrounding the replacement of a residential heating/cooling system. Their goal is to ‘Restore the Heating/Cooling Needs of the Consumer with an affordable monthly payment’ through their strategic network of Actively Enrolled Dealers.

THE CHALLENGE

Microf’s innovative rent-to-own strategy provides unmatched flexibility to consumers through limited declinations, quick response times, multiple payment options and extensive contract term choices. Such a robust infrastructure requires a stringent cyber security program. Neovera was brought in as a consultant to assess Microf’s environment and implement necessary cyber security measures.

NEOVERA SOLUTION

Neovera implemented cyber security monitoring and management services for Microf to ensure the security of their environment. In addition, Neovera took them on as MSP client, hosting their services on Neovera’s secure platform and installing WatchGuard Firewalls as an additional layer of protection.

Neovera provides weekly security reports that include a geographic breakdown of attempted attacks and the top 10 threats that tried to penetrate Microf’s environment. Neovera also monitors all of Microf’s traffic through Neovera’s Unified Threat Management (UTM) technology as another layer of defense. They now have a full suite of cyber security services built into their environment, such as Gateway AV, Application Control, and Botnet detection.

BOTTOM LINE RESULTS

Thanks to Neovera’s 24×7 continuous cyber security monitoring and management services, numerous attacks to Microf’s environment have been prevented. After implementing Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) services, potential malware has been blocked from attacking Microf’s overseas development team. Microf is able to focus on achieving its business objectives and provide exceptional service to its end users and clients. They are no longer worried about cyber threats, as they fully trust Neovera to protect their mission critical data and systems.

Case Study – Increasing Business Efficiency with a Fully Managed Hosted Cloud Platform

CLIENT PROFILE

Fortessa Tableware Solutions (FTS) is a globally recognized leader in the design, development and marketing of commercial and consumer tableware products, serving the commercial foodservices market as well as the high-end consumer market.

THE CHALLENGE
FTS managed a small, in-house IT department, which struggled with scaling a growing infrastructure. During its expansion period in 2013, FTS worked with several ERP, CRM, and PIM software vendors to build FTS software applications in support of FTS online presence. During this period, FTS did not have the resources or the bandwidth to internally manage the scaled infrastructure needed to host and support software applications simultaneously. FTS needed a fully managed hosted cloud platform – full service management of network, servers, storage and databases – including 24x7x365 monitoring, OS upgrade, patching, problem resolution and remediation.

FTS’ infrastructure, a critical underlying support component of its business operations, required specific resources and hosting expertise. Their infrastructure included 47 virtual machines with 6.1 Terabytes of usable fiber channel SAN storage, and 35 laptops – all of which needed to be migrated to the cloud. However, FTS lacked the necessary documentation on their servers and configuration management, which made it challenging for them to migrate to a cloud platform on their own.

NEOVERA SOLUTION
Neovera proposed a fully Managed Hosted Cloud Platform with 24x7x365 monitoring, OS upgrade and patching, which included the following services to meet FTS’ infrastructure needs:

  • Migrate, architect and implement a fully managed cloud environment
  • Provide physical and logical security of all infrastructure and data
  • Implement a backup solution that covers routine incremental and full backups
  • Redundant high speed network connectivity
  • Remote access capability through VPN
  • Compliance with technical environment roadmap (e.g. Microsoft updates)
  • Monitoring
  • Mutually agreed and published maintenance and outage schedule to minimize application downtime
  • High availability and redundancy across all infrastructure and application components.
  • Transfer Client X’s existing licenses
  • Citrix and VDI monitoring, patching, problem resolution and remediation.

Neovera worked closely with the FTS IT team to develop a project plan and architecture plan to ensure minimal downtime of their systems as they were transitioned to the new data center facility. The project was implemented in three phases.

Phase 1 – Planning and Design
During this phase, the Neovera team worked closely with key stakeholders within FTS’ IT department to gather requirements and design each component of the solution spanning across server, storage, network and security. Requirements gathered during the planning phase focused on the following areas:

  • Server build design
  • Network infrastructure and management
  • Storage area networking (SAN)
  • Security including firewall, SSL and VPN
  • Monitoring
  • Server load balancing
  • High availability and redundancy
  • Disaster recovery
  • Backups
  • IP Addressing and DNS requirements
  • Disaster recovery design (if applicable)

Phase 2 – Setup and Migration
The Neovera team worked closely with the FTS IT team to implement the architecture and design captured in Phase 1. The overall migration and cutover strategy was developed with the objective of minimizing infrastructure downtime while streamlining the transition. Key tasks during the setup and migration phase included:

  • Physical to Virtual migration of servers if needed (P2V)
  • Test and validate the solution
  • Stage and validate migrated data

Phase 3 – Operations and Managed Services
Once FTS applications were successfully migrated to the new data center facilities, Neovera’s Network Operations Center began actively monitoring the servers, databases, and network using Neovera’s leading monitoring technology systems. This enables Neovera to identify and resolve any infrastructure problems prior to critical business impacts.

  • Neovera provided all the services needed to setup the new infrastructure environment for FTS and executed the migration effort for all hosted and managed options. Neovera’s initial setup services included installation, powering, networking and configuration of all infrastructure components.
  • Neovera also educated the FTS IT staff on antivirus solutions, and recommended server upgrades as needed. Neovera identified single points of failure, mitigated those areas, and made recommendations to diversify server configuration to build in redundancy to reduce downtime in cases of server failure.

BOTTOM LINE RESULTS
In total, 50 servers and 35 laptops were successfully migrated over to Neovera’s cloud solution. With more experienced engineers monitoring the FTS infrastructure on a 24×7 support basis, IT worry and headache were eliminated – freeing up FTS staff to focus on more business centric tasks. In addition, server efficiency was improved significantly, allowing Fortessa Tableware Solutions to focus on delivering better service to their customer base and end users.

Case Study – Maximizing Uptime and Profits in a Highly Secure Custom Application Environment

CLIENT OVERVIEW
Proponix is a financial services consortium that consists of Wells Fargo, Australia New Zealand Bank (ANZ), Bank of Montreal, Barclays UK, the Union Bank of California, and CGI-AMS. Proponix provides trade finance processing in an IT outsourced model. One of Proponix’s key services is to provide letters of credit – documents issued by a financial institution assuring payment to a seller of goods and services during a business transaction. As an international financial conglomerate with billions of international trade transactions annually, Proponix built, hosted, and managed a custom application to process these letters of credit transactions.

THE CHALLENGE
The Proponix environment is a complex infrastructure consisting of hundreds of servers and network devices that must be highly secure, given all of the internal financial processing. These include multiple systems and technologies, ranging from Cisco, Juniper BMC, F5, Windows, Solaris, Oracle, EMC, and NetApp. Proponix elected to seek outsourcing assistance in the monitoring, managing, and developing of their critical banking application that processes $6.5 billion in international trade transactions annually. As such, the cyber security requirements were extensive due to the number of international banks involved, the sensitivity of the data, and the volume and dollar value of trade transactions.

NEOVERA SOLUTION

Neovera, a trusted provider of managed security services, developed a custom cyber security solution to manage, operate, and monitor the client’s environment. Multiple vendor firewalls were used to provide network security from intruders and to create multiple internal network segments internally for additional security. Several intrusion detection systems were used to secure the entire Network Intrusion Detection system (NIDs), Host Intrusion Detection system (HIDs), and network/security correlation tools to secure the client’s servers. Remote access to servers was secured with stand-alone IPSEC hardware virtual private networks (VPNS) and multi-factor authentication using hardware tokens. Neovera also used trusted operating system technology developed for the U.S. Department of Defense to secure some of the core servers.

Proponix was originally architected on Solaris (Sparc, including Trusted Solaris) and AIX on multiple database platforms – Oracle and SQL Server. Neovera performed multiple Oracle migrations, upgrading both database and clustering technologies. SQL Server upgrades were also performed. As part of the CGI acquisition and data center move to Canada, Neovera migrated all Solaris systems to Linux and also performed the database migrations from Oracle on Sun Solaris to Oracle on Linux.

BOTTOM LINE RESULTS
The Proponix project is an excellent example of Neovera’s in-depth expertise of cyber security, threat intelligence monitoring, and custom application management. Neovera successfully architected, implemented, and managed production and disaster recovery operations on a 24×7 basis for Proponix for five years. During this time, Neovera successfully maintained 100% scheduled uptime in an environment that consists of over 300 servers and network devices, while ensuring the security of all systems. In a situation where application uptime was directly proportionate to profits gained, Neovera was able to deliver consistent results and exceed client expectations.

Case Study – Cross Country Datacenter Migration for Commercial Operation Systems

CLIENT OVERVIEW
CGI Group, Inc. is a North American multinational information technology consulting company, specializing in systems integration solutions and outsourcing. Headquartered in Montreal, Canada, the company has more than 35 years of long-term growth with 69,000 professionals in 40 countries.

THE CHALLENGE
In 2004, CGI’s wholly owned subsidiary, CGI Virginia, acquired American Management Systems, Inc. (AMS). Due to the merger, all CGI Virginia commercial operation systems in the Fairfax, VA datacenter had to be moved to Phoenix, AZ. CGI contracted Neovera to help migrate their systems. Neovera worked with CGI in Fairfax and Phoenix to develop a migration strategy and build a project plan recognizing the constraints of time, availability, and age of systems and equipment. The move included over 50 systems including AD, Exchange, Notes, File Systems, SQL Server, Oracle, SharePoint, and many undocumented and unsupported systems across multiple platforms such as Windows NT, 2000, 2003, Solaris, and multiple variants of Linux.

NEOVERA SOLUTION
Neovera’s strategy involved a multi-tiered approach. The team was responsible for the replication of data during the transition through scripts, host-based and application-based techniques. To achieve this, a virtual environment was setup in Phoenix to host the Fairfax systems. Older systems and other candidate applications were virtualized in Fairfax and then replicated to Phoenix and directly virtualized over the network to Phoenix. Systems that could not be virtualized and could not be reproduced (due to lack of installation software or lack of application support) were backed up to physical drives and manually transported to Phoenix. Several systems, such as Solaris, were backed up and reinstalled on Sun Servers in Phoenix while others required similar hardware in Phoenix to operate.

BOTTOM LINE RESULTS
Neovera completed the migration on time and on budget over a period of four months. Our team of engineers successfully managed both virtual and physical environments while anticipating common setbacks, such as lack of software or application support. Neovera satisfied every project requirement and completed the migration with no unscheduled downtime.

Case Study – Nonprofit Achieves Measurable Performance Results with Infrastructure Tuning and Oracle Rac

THE CHALLENGE
A nonprofit organization responsible for the distribution of digital performance royalties selected Neovera to deliver a solution that would help optimize their custom application. The application manages the collection of digital performance records from its clients as well as the distribution of royalty payments to the necessary artists. This process of distributing royalties requires a series of steps to merge data feeds and link that data with artists and labels to determine proper royalty payments each quarter. This was taking a better part of the quarter to process, which resulted in little time between distributions. It was also anticipated that larger data demands could limit the amount of distributions that could occur in this timeframe.

NEOVERA SOLUTION
The Neovera team conducted a thorough analysis of the organization’s infrastructure, including an assessment of the existing Linux Red Hat servers using a targeted tuning approach. We used previous run times for the application to measure and target the most time consuming processes and to focus the tuning approach on those elements that would produce the greatest impact. Neovera performed a comprehensive tuning analysis for the following:

  • Operating System Tuning – I/O wait times, Qdepth size, CPU wait times
  • Storage Tuning – ASM LUN layout
  • Network Tuning – Kernel parameters for public and private network
  • Database Tuning – Database parameters, parallel processing, partitioning
  • Application/SQL Tuning – Analyzing index usage and eliminating unused or redundant indexes and adding indexes to match application usage.

Additionally, Neovera recommended a transition to Oracle RAC, which would enable the company to cluster Oracle databases and bind multiple servers so they operate as a single system. We then architected and implemented the switch to the new platform.

BOTTOM LINE RESULTS – OVER 70% REDUCTION IN PROCESSING TIME
Neovera’s solution exceeded performance requirements with over a 70% reduction of total application processing time, thus allowing more data to be processed in less than one day, and facilitating the distribution to occur monthly instead of quarterly. In fact, the processing time for one of the larger activities dropped from 50 to 11 hours. A smaller procedure was similarly reduced from 6 hours to just 3 minutes.

Case Study – A Custom Approach to Database Migration

Neovera develops custom parsing tools to help U.S. based organization migrate their critical applications and database systems to Oracle on Linux.

CLIENT OVERVIEW
As the nation’s trusted source for education verification and student educational outcomes research, this nonprofit organization has more than 3,500 participating colleges and universities, providing access to enrollment and degree records nationwide – encompassing more than 137 million students and growing.

THE CHALLENGE
Neovera was selected to migrate their systems from an Informix database backend to Oracle 11g. The Informix Oracle conversion project was launched in August 2008 and completed in January 2009. The project involved defining and provisioning a new hardware platform for Oracle database servers, which included the following requirements:

  • Defining and provisioning an Oracle architecture (RAC)
  • Defining and provisioning test and development Oracle databases
  • Data model migration from Informix to Oracle
  • Data migration from Informix to Oracle
  • Migration of Embedded C code to Pro*C
  • Migration of ASP code (SQL Conversion)
  • Migration of Java code (SQL conversion)
  • Migration of PowerBuilder code (SQL Conversion)
  • Architectural changes as needed, most notably:
    • Change in security architecture for Sentry database
    • Remote shell script invocation from database over the network

NEOVERA SOLUTION
Neovera worked with the organization’s personnel to migrate most of their applications and database systems to Oracle on Linux. This involved examining legacy “C”, Visual Basic, and Dot Net code. As part of this engagement, Neovera utilized the Oracle suite of database migration tools, but also developed a set of customized parsing tools to prepare the source code and the data for the migration.

BOTTOM LINE RESULTS
Neovera was able to identify and resolve code issues during the migration, as well as identify and provision new paradigms for architectural issues. Neovera successfully converted the billing application to run as a Pro*C program, and the billing application in Oracle DEV showed a 10x performance gain. The team also successfully translated and compiled member submission code and tested all the converted SQL in member submission related Pro*C files.