Background

Compliant Phones is the market leader in cloud telephony services for compliance and risk management. More than 100 financial institutions, including some of the world's largest banks, use the company's mobile-recording services in order to comply with record-keeping regulations introduced by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in November 2011. Established in 2005, Compliant Phones has offices in the UK, New York and Singapore.

The Compliant Phones "Compliant Cloud" platform, enables organisations to manage voice communications for regulatory compliance and risk, without the cost and complexity of traditional on-premise systems. The company's unique global cloud architecture means that services such as mobile and fixed-line voice recording can be consumed in any location around the world, on demand.

Under the FSA regulations, firms must record all telephone conversations relating to client orders and the conclusion of transactions in the equity, bond and derivatives market.  As well as ensuring that customers can meet these regulations, the Compliant Phones solution enables customers to work safely in the knowledge that their voice recording systems will be operating without any downtime. Therefore network monitoring is crucial not only to Compliant Phones, but also for the hundred plus financial institutions using their services as a regulated requirement.

Ensuring network functionality

In 2011 Compliant Phones invested in the network monitoring tool PRTG, in order to ensure that the cloud based operating systems used by its customers is always performing optimally.

Nick Hills, Systems Operations Manager at Compliant Phones explains: "We are providing a business critical service and therefore it is vital that we have the right monitoring tool. PRTG allows us to get an overview of system availability, so we can monitor our Service Level Agreement targets. It also means we can improve our customer service, as issues that could cause problems are identified and remedied before they escalate."

Scalability

Compliant Phones operates a highly scalable and dynamically evolving platform, which shrinks and grows as demand changes on an international scale. This means they are constantly adding and removing different nodes and services into the estate. Nick and his team must monitor the performance of their network very closely to ensure that these changes are not themselves causing issues, and that any failures are quickly rectified. Three key areas that Nick and his team keep an eye on are network availability, performance metrics and service levels.

Nick says "Our product line is constantly evolving and changing. We installed PRTG at an early stage, which has allowed us to gather performance statistics on our current systems to allow us to more accurately predict usage patterns and capacities."

"One of my first priorities was selecting the right network monitoring tool. I chose PRTG on account of its flexibility and features that you don't find with all other products, like failover clustering and the provisioning API."

For Compliant Phones one of the most important features of PRTG is the ability to leverage the Application Programming Interface to add or remove nodes as they scale in or out, to ensure that all nodes in the system are being monitored

Cost was another big factor in Compliant Phones' decision of what software to use. Nick says "PRTG gives us the information we need to establish our baseline, which helps us to scope our platforms usage and future demands. This helps to avoid unnecessary costs from surplus resources running when they are not needed. We have, in some circumstances, been able to save up to 25% just through monitoring and cutting down on any excess capacity." 

Network monitoring for cloud

Compliant Phones is a cloud based service provider so the PRTG cluster is split across two cloud providers to allow visibility into the platform both 'from the outside' as well as from the local network.  This allows Compliant Phones to distinguish easily between events affecting within the cloud environment and events that are external to their systems. Nick explains that "this makes the situation a bit different, because we don't have the same hands-on access to the network it makes it all the more important for us to be alerted before something goes wrong."

Solving problems

As well as saving costs and ensuring a reliable and successfully operating network, PRTG has helped Compliant Phones to solve existing problems. Nick explains, "We now receive early warnings if nodes are running out of disk or our systems are degrading in some way, so we can fix the issue before it comes to a head.  We also have better metrics and historical charts, which help to indicate whether increases in utilisation are just short term spikes or part of a greater trend."

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