With more than $1 billion in assets and 15 branches in the Rio Grande Valley, Lone Star National Bank retains the small-town bank feeling while coping successfully with a big bank headache - reporting annually to the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on how the bank manages its information technology resources. Lone Star National Bank, however, sailed through its most recent OCC audit by quickly generating all the reports it needed to demonstrate it was managing software licenses, network security and other information technology assets.
"It takes about a week for the audit," said Robert Reese, the sole network administrator who keeps track of about 330 servers and desktop machines used by about 300 employees scattered throughout all the bank's locations. "The auditors come in and we have to show them, among other things, how we handle our software deployment and whether we're in compliance with our software license agreements."
For the audit Reese created a customized report that provided all the information required to satisfy the auditors using BOSSDesk, the network asset inventory and software deployment utility from BOSS, a network asset management software and services firm based in Norcross, GA.
"Using BOSSDesk, we proved we were in compliance," said Reese. "We were able to show the auditors exactly how many software licenses were in use at each branch."
For a bank, that kind of information provides an enormous comfort level during any sort of outside audit process. For a network administrator who must single-handedly track that level of detail throughout the organization every day, the comfort level is enormous, Reese said.
Not only can he sit at his desk and use BOSSDesk to track licensed software on each machine across the network, he can also use it to discover unauthorized software on the machines - things like downloaded software that lets users put smiley faces and other emoticons on their e-mails, "chat-ware," spyware, Internet search tool bars, "hot" bars and other malicious programs that threaten network security and reduce end user productivity. And, for budgeting and planning purposes, BOSSDesk also enables the network administrator to determine - branch by branch - operating systems and software to be upgraded, amounts of memory and storage capacity on each desktop machine, and security holes that must be plugged.
For example, Reese says the BOSSDesk utility inventories desktop systems using a wide array of identifying tags, like serial numbers, physical locations and network (IP) addresses.
The bank's security officer, who constantly tests for possible information leaks or potential security breaches, identifies suspect computers only by their IP addresses, but by working with Reese and the BOSSDesk platform, they can quickly identify the problem computer and immediately take corrective action.
"We don't have a set list of who's assigned to what IP address," said Reese, "but with BOSSDesk, I can not only determine which computer is involved, but also who is logged in at the time (the problem occurred)."
Since each branch has its own IT budget, Reese said he finds BOSSDesk especially helpful in planning for the bank's imminent migration of more than 200 of its desktop machines from the Windows 2000 to the Windows XP operating system -- an initiative that will require upgrading some of the Dell computers on the network from 256 KB to 1 GB of conventional memory as well as installation of new software.
"We need to know how much this upgrade will cost each branch," said Reese. "With BOSSDesk, I can generate reports that will show them exactly which machines in their branches will be upgraded and lets me and the branches know how the upgrade will be charged for each location."
Although Reese says he picked BOSSDesk after a side-by-side comparison of a similar product because "BOSSDesk does exactly what it's supposed to do," he conceded that he got some unexpected added value from the relationship with BOSS. Whenever he needs some help in customizing the software's many standard reports or in writing a template for a totally new report to address his specific network environment, he's received plenty of help from the BOSS staff.
"Customers like Lone Star National Bank help us build better products," said Suri Anantharama, senior technical consultant at BOSS. "Our job is to show customers that the native flexibility that BOSSDesk provides them with the tools they need to do their jobs"
BOSS serves financial institutions across the USA. BOSS is an infrastructure management firm that specializes in IT lifecycle management, comprehensive asset management, integrated service desk solutions, and IT services.
"Using BOSSDesk, we proved we were in compliance. We were able to show the auditors exactly how many software licenses were in use at each branch."
Sole Network Administrator