1 September 2012Life

IT: connecting to the world

In the last few decades, Bermuda has transformed itself from a predominantly tourism-centric economy to a world-class international business centre. Many of its international businesses specialise in areas such as insurance, reinsurance, hedge fund management and captive insurance management and Bermuda’s business climate has also evolved into one attractive to start-ups.

A significant component of this business climate is the thriving ecosystem of information and communications technology (ICT) and managed services providers (MSPs) in Bermuda. They deliver a variety of IT services on a subscription basis to businesses and offer security, privacy and the assurance of service level guarantees.

Many companies are eagerly embracing this change in the IT industry, and the benefits are numerous. A business that is new to Bermuda can lower the start-up costs associated with building its IT infrastructure by utilising MSPs and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) providers. An established business now has alternatives to the cost of upgrading its hardware and software every few years, which will decrease the amount of capital expenditure needed.

MSPs, IaaS and software as a service (Saas) providers enable businesses to offload the operational burden of their sophisticated and customised IT environments, which allows them in turn to reassign staff for revenue generation, and adds predictability to their IT budgets. MSP and IaaS providers are able to achieve this by spreading the cost of highly trained staff and enterprise equipment across a range of customers. By doing this they enable their clients to focus on business, rather than managing equipment, software, compliance and the staffing issues that are inevitable with complex IT environments.

One such IaaS provider is QuoVadis, which plays a leading role in developing IaaS and private cloud services for Bermuda. The QuoVadis technology platform provides international companies with the ability to rapidly deploy IT infrastructure (servers, storage, security, and telecommunications), as well as to adapt scale to keep pace with business demands. The QuoVadis platform accommodates a broad spectrum of businesses, from small start-ups looking for centralised file and print services, to complex international organisations looking for high performance computing.

“When setting up a new company, executives want to avoid IT becoming an obstacle in terms of cost or delay. QuoVadis provides cost-effective, high performance computing and data centre solutions that enable companies to hit the ground running and to retain focus on their own core activities,” said Gavin Dent, CEO of Quo Vadis.

Infrastructure and service

SaaS providers have similar advantages to those of IaaS providers, in that companies outsource software and, in some cases, hardware. The SaaS model also adds predictability to the business and the ability to scale up in times of peak demand, but with the added advantage of offloading the burden of complex software environments to the provider.

Businesses run on data. That’s why data backup and data recovery are so critical. When data was backed up to tape and the tape transferred to a secure location, businesses had the false confidence that the data and their revenue were safe in case of an event. However, the tape medium is unreliable and hard to manage and retrieve, especially after a disaster. The reason for this is described in a study by technology research firm, Gartner which states that 15 percent of one-year-old tapes fail and 35 percent of three-year-old tapes fail. There is also significant compliance pressure to encrypt data and the speed and cost of encrypting tape backups is preventing the widespread adoption of encryption in the industry. In that regard, Gartner states that by 2014 80 percent of the market will choose advanced, diskbased appliances and backup software-only solutions.

Backup and recovery technology has evolved alongside the enterprise applications that are being protected. Today we find SaaS providers taking the disk-to-disk backups away from clients’ premises. Sending the data encrypted over the wide-area network allows data to move quickly, efficiently and safely. In addition, the backups can be stored in multiple locations, including locally to the business. This satisfies the compliance issue of offsite backups of encrypted data. In the event of a site-wide disaster—such as the activation of the office’s fire suppression system—having encrypted copies of data in an offsite, offshore jurisdiction, protects the business from prolonged disruption.

Into the cloud

Logic Communications recently launched its LogicVault (powered by EVault) cloud-connected data backup and recovery services. In addition to having been built on the leading technology platform (67 petabytes of data under management) it has a secure cloud infrastructure that is easy to deploy and manage. To assist clients with their enterprise risk management and disaster recovery strategies, Logic also provides a team of data recovery experts, which ensures that customers’ data is protected and always available.

"To assist clients with their enterprise risk management and disaster recovery strategies, Logic also provides a team of data recovery experts."

Ben Barlaba, head of sales for Logic said: “LogicVault provides remote disaster recovery and business continuity services that ensure vital data and systems can be accessed within as little as four hours of a disaster being declared. End-to-end encryption ensures that data remains private, satisfying specific regulatory compliance requirements. The service is tested before it’s activated to ensure postdisaster execution and, because the service is cloud-based, there are no upfront capital costs. The service actually eliminates the expense and complexity of maintaining one’s own disaster recovery site.

“LogicVault can also be used to provide end point protection, with backup, recovery and data security of desktops and laptops across mobile workforces. Backups to the LogicVault cloud and to the local hard drive automatically protect endpoint data without disrupting users, and ensure backups and restores keep working even when machines are offline. Users easily recover files with no help from the helpdesk,” continued Barlaba.

The dangers of data loss

With this service, corporate data is protected with security features such as remote data deletion, port access control, device tracing and state-ofthe-art encryption—all particularly valuable when a PC is lost or stolen.

The possibility of data loss has become a serious concern for organisations everywhere, due to the impact on the organisation’s reputation as well as its revenues. Protecting digital assets can bring far-reaching benefits well beyond that of securing a competitive advantage—it can also prevent significant economic loss.

“The level of data loss is huge, and only a few organisations are employing data protection best practices,” said Kim Caldwell, director of strategic alliances at EVault. “We are very excited about the partnership with Logic Communications in Bermuda. The combined solutions of the two companies bring significant value to organisations that are concerned about data loss and the business disruption that occurs during a disaster.”

To support its international business clients, Logic Communications has uniquely positioned itself by building a next generation multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) network. Logic has automatic redundancy across all cable systems connecting businesses in Bermuda to the rest of the world. The company focuses on providing solutions that allow existing infrastructures to integrate these new technologies. Furthermore, with SarbanesOxley in mind, this approach to connectivity has meant that businesses can subscribe to services that provide 100 percent diversity and redundancy with no single point of failure.

Building links

One such cable provider is Cable Co Ltd, with the deployment of the Challenger cable system. Challenger, one of the first to redeploy an existing cable system, is the newest cable system to be installed in Bermuda and has been discussed at many conferences around the world. This model has proved to be beneficial for smaller jurisdictions, offshore mining and scientific study. With Challenger, Cable Co was able to build a business case to bring a fourth cable system to the Island. It is the only system owned by Bermudians.

Ray Charlton, vice president of Cable Co said: “Cable Co is now in its fourth year of operation and I am pleased to say that it has been 100 percent reliable. With the construction of the Challenger cable, Bermuda’s international telecommunications infrastructure was greatly enhanced with an added redundant link to the outside world. We operate as a ‘carrier’s, carrier’, that is, we market our services to any and all other carriers that operate in the Bermuda market.”

With the addition of the Challenger cable, consumers and businesses have benefited with improved, resilient international data and telephone links.

Charlton continued: “A first class, dependable and secure telecommunications network is vital to the success of Bermuda’s international business segment and we play a major role in providing this infrastructure. As the demand for capacity and data speeds increases, companies can be assured in knowing that Cable Co has the facilities in place to meet all of Bermuda’s international bandwidth requirements, for the foreseeable future.”

Through business-friendly legislation, aimed at fostering the offshore market and complete redundancy of ICT infrastructure, Bermuda is well positioned to exceed the needs of international business today and in the future.

Richard Munday is vice president, international business development at Keytech. He can be contacted at: