Cashco Financial Cloud Migration

Improving business continuity
& cost certainty through cloud migration

Recent research shows that increasing numbers of companies are making the leap to the public cloud, and with good reason: the cloud enables businesses to operate at scale and speed and benefit from powerful security while eliminating the unpredictable costs and hassle of maintaining private servers.

The Edmonton-based financial services company Cashco Financial is one of them: “Our reason for migrating to the cloud was to take advantage of the robust availability and disaster recovery,” says David Frederiksen, Vice President of Information Technology at Cashco Financial, which provides underbanked Canadians with alternative financing solutions; these solutions include short-term and installment loans, and access to financial literacy education, support, and tools.

To guarantee business continuity, improve cost certainty, and benefit from ongoing support to its IT team, Cashco began working with FuseForward in 2019 to move its services from on-premise servers to the cloud.

Reinforcing availability by moving
mission-critical applications to the cloud

“A few years ago, we started looking at the customization, development and scalability benefits offered by the public cloud,” David explains, “what we learned led us to reconsider owning, managing, and maintaining our own physical equipment while dealing with the hardware lifecycle and capital expense on a continual basis.”

Cashco’s Full-Service Lending (FSL) application, which enables the company’s 60+ branch network to offer a range of lending services, was until recently hosted entirely on-premise via a multi-server solution. Not only did the hardware require continual maintenance time and investment, but it was also subject to power failures that could bring the business to a halt for several hours at a time.

On-premise means continually dealing with the risks associated with single points of failure. Since the migration, we have had a couple of power failures and nonetheless maintained availability, which has been phenomenal.

David Frederiksen​, VP Information Technology

Cashco was therefore in search of a solution that would improve business continuity through optimal disaster recovery with lower RPO and RTO. FuseForward worked with the team to architect a new design and replicate Cashco’s on-premise production environment on AWS, where datacenter infrastructure is fully redundant with no single point of failure, using AWS Application Migration Service.

Supporting Cashco’s internal IT team with managed services

Canadian data hosting was a major requirement for Cashco, who furthermore appreciated the opportunity to work with a local company: “We’re a Canadian company ourselves, so whenever possible, we prefer to support and invest in other Canadian businesses,” David says.

Cashco’s production environment is now replicated across two AWS Regions in Montreal and Oregon, meaning that in the case of a major incident, services can be switched over and back up and running in a matter of hours.

The company was furthermore interested in migrating to AWS so they could leverage third-party integrations that were already running on the platform. As an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, FuseForward was ideally suited to help Cashco not only migrate their applications but also provide ongoing managed services.

“The team was amazing at helping us work through the process and solve problems as soon as they came up,” says David.

FuseForward implemented the cloud management system FuseControl to enable ongoing managed services, while multi-layer security for Cashco’s mission-critical applications is ensured via the cloud application security service FuseSecure.

Many vendors just get you through the migration and then hand over the keys, whereas FuseForward walks you through the migration project, secures your applications, and offers managed services that help you adapt and move into the cloud.

David Frederiksen​, VP Information Technology

We have a very small infrastructure management team, who no longer have to concern themselves with maintaining the workloads and taking care of updates, but now focus strictly on the application side. I would encourage everybody to take the leap. Not having to deal with physical equipment is a blessing.

David Frederiksen​, VP Information Technology

Enabling savings & cost certainty on the cloud

A common misconception around migrating to AWS is that the cloud doesn’t enable Bring Your Own Licence or BYOL. Cashco wished to maintain their existing Microsoft licensing, a request FuseForward was able to accommodate by deploying all servers on AWS EC2.

Furthermore, Cashco wanted to eliminate the cost uncertainty that comes with maintaining on-premise servers: private servers are not only subject to hardware failures that impact companies’ ability to offer their services, but they also require costly and often unpredictable upkeep and maintenance. The migration has provided the company with a reliable basis upon which to predict its monthly expenditure, without having to predict the cost of replacing faulty hardware.

FuseForward’s status as an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner enabled Cashco to access AWS Partner Opportunity Acceleration (POA) funding that covered the full cost of the migration.

Having completed the migration of its production environment and disaster recovery solution to AWS, Cashco is now looking to do the same with its development and testing environments alongside its secondary applications.

The company’s end goal is to run the entirety of its operations on AWS cloud: “Once everything has been migrated to the cloud, the goal will be optimization,” David says, “We’ll be looking at the behavior of our workloads in the cloud and fine-tuning them to operate optimally and cost-effectively. We’ll then be thinking about refactoring some of those workloads into cloud-native services.”

The company is looking forward to continuing to partner with FuseForward.

You could say we’re in it for the long haul. FuseForward is knowledgeable, patient and understanding, and the level of communication has been fantastic.

David Frederiksen​, VP Information Technology