Delivering firewall rule change assurance for a large UK bank

The Client

A major UK bank engaged ECS to establish the root cause of its migration-related firewall rule change issues and make tactical process and procedure recommendations to achieve a far higher level of ‘right first time’ results.

The Challenge

The bank was undertaking a large data centre migration project and divestment process but was plagued by application testing delays because of the need for emergency fix-forward firewall rule changes. The bank needed to improve its firewall change processes and procedures to keep the data centre migration activity on track, while also reducing the amount of time and money spent on avoidable firewall changes.

The Solution

The bank appointed ECS to undertake an objective assessment of its firewall change processes and make detailed recommendations on how to improve these in order to achieve a much higher percentage of ‘right first time’ changes.

The objectives, deliverables and plan were reviewed regularly with the client during the five-week engagement to ensure the best possible outcome. Expectations were discussed and set to ensure that both the client and ECS understood what the right outcome and deliverable would look like.

Working with onsite stakeholders and the bank’s Subject Matter Expert partners, the ECS team began to develop the agreed requirements into a solution. ECS assessed the client’s firewall change process – including a review of feeder processes, documentation and relevant tools. ECS was then able to:

  • Document shortcomings within the existing firewall change process – including an over-reliance on the Peakflow network tool;
  • Propose phased, prioritised process enhancements leading to the identification and utilisation of higher quality data earlier in the process;
  • Recommend how existing tools such as Skybox could be better utilised as part of an optimised end-to-end process that helps minimise any additional investment and accelerates the time to ROI;
  • Demonstrate how the bank could realise additional benefits with further reasonable investment in tools.

Why ECS?

  • Vendor Agnostic. ECS provides a vendor-agnostic assessment that is tailored to the specific needs of the client. Our bespoke solutions are not constrained by selling a defined portfolio of products and services.
  • Rapid Mobilisation and Completion. ECS is experienced in assembling and deploying dedicated teams at short notice to meet tight client deadlines.
  • Wide Scope. ECS has dedicated expertise in data centre, security, WAN and branch office network infrastructure that clients rely on time and again.
  • Measured Evaluation. ECS’s unique blend of deep technical expertise and robust business analysis capabilities ensure that clients’ technical and business requirements are always met.

The Results

  • A clear agreed and documented plan of action. The client knew what needed to be done and in what sequence to realise the benefits as soon as possible.
  • Optimised process results. The change process became much slicker and more reliable through a focus on better quality at the beginning of the process, rather than regular remediation at the end.
  • Tangible savings. The cost of the ECS engagement was quickly recouped by significant reductions in the cost of change failure, rework and remediation.
  • Project plan benefits. Less contingency time was required to allow for change remediation work. Change lead times could be reduced as change outcome became more reliable and predictable.
  • An agreed roadmap for network tool enhancement. The client was now clear about which of their network tools could be adding more value for reasonable incremental cost and minimal retraining.
  • Stakeholder consensus and agreement. The collaborative and proactive approach by ECS kept the client engaged in the right way and supportive at all times. No objections to the conclusions were raised by the client.
  • ECS met all of the client’s deadlines and SLAs.