Darlington Building Society
Learn how Darlington adopted the cloud to improve the performance and reliability of their business critical application.
DELIVERING Exceptional Client Experience
Success in today’s competitive markets demands that a business is resilient and flexible – a combination that challenges many organizations, but rewards those that make the right decisions.
With 86,000 members and total assets over £750m, Darlington Building Society (Darlington) reviewed its IT environment and saw the cloud as a platform for growth. Darlington is adopting leading technologies to build on the firm foundations laid over many generations.
Tectrade engaged with Darlington to manage a seamless migration to Microsoft Azure and continues to ensure that its clients are protected with AI-powered cyber resilience and data protection. Tectrade’s design uses Azure Infrastructure-, Platform- and Software-as-a-Service (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS) to improve workload performance and reliability.
Following the successful cloud migration, Tectrade now delivers a portfolio of managed services to ensure day-today operations run smoothly and that the new environment continues to be fit for purpose. Darlington now has a secure foundation to invest in further digital enhancements in the future.
Number of members
£ 0 M
Total assets exceed
Started serving the community
Embracing the Digital Economy
Darlington successfully brings together traditional and digital approaches to business – investing in its branch network at the same time as investing in technology.
With “Darlingtonline” providing access to member accounts and an eBroker system to improve processing of mortgage applications, the Society reviewed its IT platforms and a decision was taken to take advantage of the flexibility and efficiency of a cloud environment.
With the nature of Darlington’s business involving access to sensitive financial and personal data, the threat of cyber attacks is always top of mind. Being regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority means that Darlington has to meet extra levels of compliance and IT resilience – being able to identify threats and react swiftly to any potential breach.
Together with Tectrade, Darlington evaluated its systems and applications and matched each one to the best cloud model for maximum efficiency. With this information, Tectrade designed a migration path to move all functionality to a secure environment in the Microsoft Azure cloud.
Migrating to the Cloud
Tectrade designed a new cloud environment for Darlington using a broad range of Azure services to increase application performance, cost-effectiveness, and reliability.
Existing virtual machines were moved onto Azure with the IaaS solution split across two regions to provide disaster recovery. Replication between the two regions is provided by Azure Site Recovery and data protection is delivered via Azure Backup, with data stored across different data centers.
The migration also replaced the existing wide area network with connectivity provided via Azure ExpressRoute which allows more reliability, faster speeds, consistent latencies, and higher security than typical connections over the internet.
Darlington’s database servers were replaced with Azure SQL Database PaaS functionality running on the latest version with 99.99% availability. They also migrated the on-premises email system to a subscription-based SaaS environment with Microsoft 365. The existing Mimecast system was retained for inbound and outbound mail filtering.
The decision to move to the new Microsoft Azure cloud environment saw the Society increase our application performance, cost-effectiveness and reliability. Following the successful cloud migration, we are looking forward to a strong future relationship as we continue to grow and invest in our digital future.Jonathan Harwood, Head of IT – Darlington Building Society
Recent changes in working habits have resulted in employees using personal devices as well as corporate endpoints – and from a mix of office locations and remotely. Staff productivity and responsiveness is improved through access to the internet and many websites, but this convenience is also a security risk.
In response to Darlington’s specific requirements, Tectrade implemented two complementary managed services:
Managed Endpoint Protection
• AI-based defence against malware
• Identification and removal of potentially unwanted programmes
• Pre-execution prevention
Managed Web Filtering
• Integrated web filtering and reporting
• SSL decryption at category level
• Web access control policy
Tectrade built Darlington’s new servers using Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and IT automation. The estate is continually checked, so compliance audits become ‘business as usual’ rather than periodic business disruptions.
By delivering cyber security services to protect endpoint devices together with managed backup and disaster recovery, Tectrade provides Darlington with the first line and the last line of defence against cyber threats.
Following the successful migration to Azure, Darlington received a positive independent assessment of its cloud strategy, highlighting the robust, well-considered approach taken by the IT Department around the wider data protection and information governance challenges.
Gartner’s 5 Rs of Application Migration
- Rehost / Redeploy – “Lift and shift” app to a cloud infrastructure without making any changes
- Refactor – Switch functionality to cloud-based Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings
- Revise / Rearchitect – Break up existing apps into a different structure that can take advantage of cloud technology
- Rebuild – Discard old code and re-write existing apps to become cloud-native with microservices and containerization
- Replace – Discard existing application and move to a Software as a Service (SaaS) model
About our client
Darlington Building Society was formed in 1865 as the Darlington Working Men’s Equitable Permanent Building Society to benefit local people from the very beginning. Today, it continues that commitment with a range of savings accounts and mortgages designed to help members realise the dream of owning their own home today.
In 2021, Darlington won the “Building Society of the Year” category at the Money Age Mortgage Awards. From the start of the first national lockdown, it adopted an “open for business” strategy; all branches remained open, and staff made telephone calls to vulnerable and isolated members, just to keep in touch and to check if they needed any help.