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Mutual Credit Union (Mutual CU) worked alongside AWS Advanced Partner Think|Stack to
migrate to a cloud-based infrastructure on AWS, resulting in significant internal time savings and
the deployment of new products and services. After journey mapping with Mutual CU leadership,
Think|Stack moved unwieldy on-premises servers one by one to Amazon EC2 instances. Mutual
CU then launched a new mortgage server in 1 week, a process that previously might have taken
up to 1 year. Using AWS, Mutual CU improved security protocols, lowered latency, and simplified
access for credit union members and employees. Mutual CU will continue to work with
Think|Stack to modernize key applications on AWS.

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Modernizing Banking Solutions

As a relatively small financial institution, Mutual CU works to retain customers in a highly
regulated marketplace and attract information technology (IT) staff to the company’s
headquarters in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Chartered in 1931 and now a well-established Mississippi credit union, the company had been using a patchwork of on-premises servers that were difficult to keep up to date, costing the company increasing amounts of maintenance time and hampering its ability to scale quickly to keep pace with the rapidly
changing financial industry. In an industry in which cybersecurity is a high priority, Mutual CU also wanted to move away from time-consuming and costly manual practices to streamline and boost security more efficiently.

Mutual CU turned to its network provider, AWS Advanced Partner Think|Stack, for help finding a comprehensive solution to its IT challenges. Think|Stack helped guide Mutual CU’s migration to the cloud, a transformation that resulted in a more secure, customer-centric infrastructure poised to handle significant changes in the financial industry.

Educating Leadership on Benefits of the Cloud

Think|Stack started in 2011 as a small business focused on helping credit unions with digital transformation and cybersecurity needs. Following an equity investment by Mutual CU and three other credit unions in May 2021, Think|Stack was able to change its business classification to include a designation as a credit union service organization (CUSO). As a CUSO, Think|Stack is able to offer complete cloud adoption and cybersecurity solutions, delivering cloud expertise to support a credit union’s digital transformation on AWS. “You can find technical resources anywhere,” says Michael Mathews, Mutual CU president. “But to work alongside someone who understands your industry, what you need as an end user, and the regulatory requirements—it’s like a breath of fresh air.”

Think|Stack mapped out the cloud migration with Mutual CU’s leadership team to help it see how migrating to AWS could help the company develop new products faster and could
complement the company’s business processes, goals, and strategies. “Migrating to the
cloud was really the only way for Mutual CU to build the infrastructure it needed in an
economical, time-friendly manner,” says Chris Sachse, CEO of Think|Stack. In fact, at one of the initial concept meetings, a Think|Stack technician built a virtual server on AWS right there at the discussion table. “He spun up the server we needed on AWS during the conversation about the server,” says Mathews. “All he needed was the specs, and it was ready to go.”

Finding Functionality and Increased Security

Think|Stack worked closely with Mutual CU’s IT team in a meticulous process of migrating one server at a time to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. One by one, Think|Stack tested each migrated server for functionality, communication, and latency on the cloud before migrating the next one.

Mutual CU’s migration to AWS means that instead of spending additional time on maintaining on-premises hardware, the company now allocates resources to projects that benefit its customers. For example, Think|Stack helped Mutual CU build a new mortgage server on AWS in about a week. That process would have taken up to 1 year to complete with Mutual CU’s previous resources. “When the company changed to the cloud, all those resources were freed up to focus on driving the organization forward and meeting its long-term vision and strategy,” Sachse says. In addition to time savings, Mutual CU anticipates monetary savings because it no longer has to pay to upgrade or replace failing infrastructure every 3–5 years.

As it worked alongside Think|Stack to rebuild its infrastructure, Mutual CU also enhanced security, a challenge for a company without a large, dedicated IT or cybersecurity department. Think|Stack worked closely with Mutual CU to create a robust cybersecurity solution on AWS. “The resources are inherent in the cloud adoption process,” Sachse says. “The cloud gives us a lot of flexibility to provide resiliency as well as backup and recovery solutions, and having the agility to respond and react to ransomware gives a leg up to smaller organizations.”

Mutual CU’s cloud-based infrastructure also helped employees function more efficiently. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when employees worked from home, Mutual CU found value in Amazon WorkSpaces, a fully managed desktop virtualization service that Mutual CU employees can use to securely access the data, applications, and resources they need. Mutual CU’s members have benefited from the remote capabilities the company provides through Amazon WorkSpaces and Amazon EC2, such as 24/7 access and decreased latency. “Since migrating to the cloud on AWS, we’re able to provide service more efficiently and effectively, and our membership is more engaged with us,” Mathews says.

Continued Innovation in Banking Solutions 

As a CUSO specializing in digital transformation, Think|Stack is continuing to work alongside Mutual CU to analyze its remaining on-premises infrastructure and applications and find more opportunities for modernization, such as rearchitecting applications to unlock data. The companies plan to begin by modernizing a few of Mutual CU’s key legacy applications integral to loan and account management processes. Think|Stack and Mutual CU are working together to develop innovative solutions on AWS that help Mutual CU retain customers and attract new ones. “Our customers understand that you’ve got to be in the cloud to be able to innovate and stay secure and thrive,” Sachse says. “What we love about AWS is that using it gives us the ability to architect solutions that are done the right way.”


To learn more visit:  https://partners.amazonaws.com/partners/001E000001Kb4SmIAJ/Think%20Stack 

About Think|Stack

Founded in 2011 as a family-owned company, Think|Stack provides technology and cybersecurity expertise in financial services. Designated as a credit union service organization in 2021, Think|Stack emphasizes education and comanagement in the optimization of its technology solutions

About Mutual Credit Union

Chartered in 1931, Mutual Credit Union is a well-established Mississippi credit union serving more than 22,000 active members and $240 million in assets. It offers a broad range of financial services to its members while emphasizing its local hometown focus.


Benefits

  • Built a new mortgage server in 1 week
  • Freed up resources from maintaining on-premises solutions
  • Enhanced Security
  • Facilitated remote access for employees
  • Improved customer accessibility

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