Smartbank Saves Big, Shows Compliance, and Gains Recovery Confidence with Zerto - Zerto

Smartbank Saves Big, Shows Compliance, and Gains Recovery Confidence with Zerto

Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

Guest Blog Post by Daniel Hereford, Executive Vice President, Chief Information Officer at SmartBank

SmartBank is a full-service commercial bank which opened its first office in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee in January 2007. Exceeding $3 billion in assets, SmartBank has grown organically and through multiple acquisitions, including Progressive Savings Bank (2020), Foothills Bank (2018), Southern Community Bank (2018), Capstone Bank (2017), a merger with Cornerstone Community Bank (2016), and the acquisition of GulfSouth Private Bank (2012). The company operates 36 branches and two loan production offices spanning Tennessee, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle. SmartBank serves cities that are among the Southeast’s most desirable markets with strong MSA’s and/or popular tourist destinations, including: Knoxville, Chattanooga, Murfreesboro, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Sevierville, Tullahoma (Tennessee), Tuscaloosa, Huntsville (Alabama) and Destin, Pensacola, and Panama City (Florida).

SmartBank’s vision is to blend the best of innovation with community banking. Focusing on corporate culture, client experience, and technology, SmartBank endeavors to be a best place to work, great place to bank, and a company that rewards its shareholders.

Zerto is the Superior Solution

“VMware SRM was in place before Zerto. We had to have both of our data centers equipped with the exact same infrastructure, even though only one was used 99.9999% of the time, and SRM was only useable by our infrastructure group. Zerto has enabled us to allow technical support persons in our department to conduct certain recoveries on their own. It was a real game changer for us.”

Smartbank Ran a Failure-free Real Disaster Recovery Test with Zerto

“I no longer have to make any excuses or explain why a recovery operation failed. We finally have a simple system allowing us to protect all our on-premises workloads, test with ease, and document the steps required for our regulators. Zerto allows us to protect our virtual environment from disruption and has saved us time and money. We are protecting everything from VMware to Hyper-V, and have already paid for this solution by simply getting rid of our VMware annual maintenance and DR. In the future, we plan on running continuously in both data centers and migrating workloads between them as needed.”

Tornadoes Can’t Stop Us Now

“Before Zerto, we were hit by a tornado. The tornado knocked out our private communications uplink to a core software provider and disrupted power at one of our two data centers. Because we could not recover predictably, the business decision was made to wait out the interruption which lasted around six hours. If we had Zerto at the time, we would have preemptively failed because we would have trusted it! As a result, I was able to show Zerto to my IT team and Bank Management—now we don’t worry about tornadoes or anything else.”

Next Stop: Cloud and Backup

“Protecting and moving our workloads to the cloud is next for us, with a possibility in the future of using MSPs to run and maintain Zerto for us. We’re considering consolidating data backup and retention with Zerto as well.”

Advice for Building a New DR Strategy

“Never forget that DR is about supporting the business’ needs. You have to conduct a business impact analysis and know what needs to come up and when. Above all else, IT must build a strategy and employ tools that will deliver this result continuously without fail. It needs to be simple, repeatable, documented, and tested all the time. Do not take a hardware- based or vendor- centric approach! Think about flexibility above all else, and that will lead you to Zerto every time.”


See how Zerto can help your business with simplified, automated DR testing and compliance with advanced disaster recovery reporting and analytics. Read more here.


Daniel Hereford

Daniel Hereford is the Executive Vice President, Chief Information Officer at SmartBank. Hereford graduated from The University of New Orleans in 2002. He holds several technical certifications including Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert, Certified Information Systems Security Professional and CCENT, CCNA Route/Switch, CCNA Security. Hereford has more than 20 years of experience in successfully creating complex and effective IT infrastructures, business solutions, and strong cybersecurity frameworks. He is responsible for providing leadership to the IT team to ensure high quality client service and seamless collaboration both internally and with external partners.