When a datacentre isn’t just a datacentre
In analysis / By Andy Lewis / 22 July 2020
By Andy Lewis
If you were to craft a wish-list of deliverables a Cloud platform might be able to deliver, it would look like this…
As the first few law firms begin to go-live on our brand-new Next Generation Platform I wanted to take the opportunity to explain how we have approached its design, specification and build – squashing the preconception that a datacentre is simply just a datacentre. And why we think Nasstar’s Next Generation Platform is the perfect vehicle to help law firms and highly regulated bodies transform their IT services by adopting high performance, flexible and cost-effective managed private cloud services.
The legal sector is well known for taking a considered, conservative, and cautious approach to IT and business generally. Data security is paramount for the sector and budgets are invariably tight – lawyers like to squeeze every ounce of value out and who can blame them for that? But sticking with legacy technologies for too long risks loss of competitive advantage.
The savings we might think we are making by running that server a bit longer or delaying the upgrade to a latest application version can be illusory and we can quickly find ourselves outpaced by more progressive competitors through our own inertia. The ‘Cloud’ is an absolute case in point – it can support and enable enormous flexibility both technically and commercially, yet many firms have been slow to adopt it in anything more than a cursory way.
This is the main driver for our Next Generation Platform. We have architected and deployed a multi-tenanted (i.e. the cost is shared across multiple firms not yours alone to bear); highly secure (encrypted end-to-end including data, comms etc); highly available (fully-redundant infrastructure, communications, power, etc) private cloud platform specifically to address the needs of law firms and other highly regulated businesses.
Next Generation Platform uses the latest technology from Microsoft, Citrix and Fortinet and has been tested and proven with leading PMS applications (Aderant, TIKIT, Peppermint, etc). We have taken a considered approach and built-in services such as virtual desktop to support performant and secure working from anywhere with a ‘Windows 10’ look and feel, Intrusion Prevention & Detection, SIEM and EDR (endpoint detection & response) and of course full Back-up, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity features and services. Even things like regulatory compliant secure remote printing - for partners who may be working from home - are catered for. Our entire approach has been to architect the Next Generation Platform to support rapid migration from legacy on-premise or co-located services to a fully-managed, high performance, highly secure environment which has been specified and built to meet the precise requirements of regulated businesses such as legal and financial services firms.
As well as specifying the Next Generation Platform to meet this demanding market we have also taken great care to locate it in a Government ‘List X’ approved facility. List X is the UK government certification required by anyone storing or processing materials classified as ‘Secret’ or above. What does this mean for our customers? Quite simply it means that you can be sure that the highest levels of security possible are in place. But not just that - List X facilities also command priority as part of the critical national infrastructure meaning that new services such as network connectivity are subject to much shorter lead times (10 days rather than 90-day Openreach standard for example).
2020 has been a very strange and challenging year for everyone and the future direction of both Covid-19 and the fall out for the economy and business remains uncertain. But against this backdrop of uncertainty, we can say with absolute confidence, that with NGP we have created a platform which will support firms in introducing much greater flexibility and reduced TCO to help them to drive competitive advantage.