As one of the largest banks in Jordan, Jordan Kuwait Bank (JKB) is a critical financial player in the national infrastructure.
JKB has 64 branches distributed throughout Jordan, plus a branch in Cyprus, supporting retail, private, SME and corporate customers. JKB delivers a rich variety of financial services through a range of digital channels.
Business continuity has been built into JKB’s corporate planning. Like other corporate and financial institutions, the Covid-19 pandemic has placed a great strain on the bank’s plans.
Seeing events in China unfold and recognizing the likelihood of a lockdown in Jordan and Cyprus, the bank moved quickly to enable remote working for key staff. The priority was to ensure that customers could access cash and financial services needed to manage their personal financial needs and business operations during the uncertainty of the emerging pandemic.
Enabling remote working to ensure business continuity
Jordan Kuwait Bank has worked with Citrix since 2017. A successful implementation of Citrix Application Delivery Controller (Citrix ADC) delivered load balancing, operational consistency and extra levels of security. At a corporate level, there was trust in Citrix solutions.
Discussions around Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops had already taken place. With the help of Citrix Gold Partner PRO TECHnology, the bank developed a proof of concept (PoC) on the Citrix Virtualization solution, involving 20 staff from JKB’s IT team and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops. The plan was to roll out to 200 users identified to be the critical recovery team within the bank’s business continuity plan which covered a wide spectrum of staff; such as the executive management, core individuals from departments and branches, and the call center.
“Every organization needs to develop a business continuity plan to ensure its business operations can continue, no matter the disruption, to ensure that users remain productive while maintaining the necessary level of security,” said Khalid Al Rashdan, CEO, PRO TECHnology. “With Citrix solutions we have empowered IT to deliver on-demand apps and desktops to any device and enable remote work as a long-term solution for a radically different future.”
Secure and user-friendly solution
Ibraheem Jaser, IT Infrastructure Manager at Jordan Kuwait Bank, added: “We knew we needed to make remote working a priority, and for that reason we adopted Citrix solutions. We have worked with Citrix since 2017 and, now more than ever, we believe that their solution can transform how we serve our customers during these unprecedented times. It was clear that the Citrix solution was user-friendly by the speed in which the accounts were being activated and used, which is vital to any bank as many users are not IT experts. In addition to delivering results with the call centre agents, business departments, and support employees working remotely, all our customer calls and needs were answered, which was the major differentiator.”
The Citrix solution was also easy to deploy, helped by having integration with Active Directory. From initial discussion, to board level approval, to roll-out took less than four days. The bank also has a clear view of user behavior, allowing managers to check who is working and when.
Security was also important. Built-in integration with the bank’s firewall removes many of the bank’s security concerns and Citrix ADC provides an additional layer of security, ensuring the bank uses best practices for SSL parameters and Security Ciphers, whilst multi-factor authentication protects users’ devices from cyberattacks.
Continued operations during tough lockdown
Lockdown in Jordan started on March 21 2020, with citizens given just a few hours’ notice. The conditions were among the toughest in the region, starting with 72 hours of curfew.
Remote working has enabled the bank to continue operations. All ATMs continued to operate as branches closed. Business customers, managing critical imports, have been able to continue trading. Having a functional call center allowed the bank to provide anxious citizens with updates on the latest news from Jordan’s central bank.
According to Ala’a Qaddoumi, Information Security and Business Continuity Manager, Jordan Kuwait Bank, “our call centre employees need to be able to provide customers with real time, uninterrupted updates on the latest news from Jordan’s Central Bank. And even in these most challenging times, with employees working remotely, all customer calls were answered. That was a major differentiator for the Citrix solution.”
The plan is to extend to all HQ departments. Qaddoumi says users have enjoyed the flexibility and ease of use. Virtualization means the solution will be easy to scale. Capacity is a simple matter of adding another virtual server.