In January of this year, we made a strategic shift in how we handle and protect data by joining forces with BlackBridge Networks, a leading Canadian technology service provider offering world-class cloud based application hosting services.
This collaboration with BlackBridge allows us to provide a state of the art, secure environment that supports our credit union clients’ goals in conjunction with our web-based financial solutions.
We recently sat down with Mike Stechyshyn, Director of Business Development at BlackBridge Networks to ask him a few important questions about the company and its services.
What separates BlackBridge from other cloud service providers?
Cloud by its name sounds very ephemeral – way out there and not easy to touch. In reality, a cloud is like any other product or service and it’s helpful to understand more about who is providing it.
BlackBridge is a 100 % privately held Canadian company with operations in Lethbridge and Calgary as well as a significant presence in Berlin, Germany.
BlackBridge owns the land and buildings that house our cloud operations, offering a level of stability that is rare in this industry. Our data centre is one of the finest facilities in Canada, built to the highest standards both from a physical structure and the operating equipment inside. Specifically:
- the walls are one foot thick concrete panels
- state of the art waterless fire suppression
- all of our computer and network infrastructure is “carrier grade” high-end equipment engineered for high performance and availability with redundancy built into all major systems
Data is always stored in Canada for those clients concerned with data sovereignty issues.
Security of data is top of mind for our credit union clients. How does our partnership with BlackBridge benefit them from this perspective?
One cannot go and buy a product called “security”. Security is a multi-layer approach that, in combination, offers a very high level of protection.
At BlackBridge it starts with our data centre – a windowless fortress of concrete that from the exterior appears as a nondescript industrial building. Access to the facility is very tightly controlled with dual factor authentication for access and is monitored by closed circuit TV.
Our cloud infrastructure, is built using VMware technology – the same technology employed by the world’s largest companies – offering high levels of security and availability. The cloud infrastructure is located in the most secure room in the facility – a room that can only be accessed by a very small subset of our employees.
Recently BlackBridge completed the Service Organization Control (SOC 2) examination – the newest industry standard for providers of outsourced services and were one of the first companies in Canada to do so. This examination looks beyond the facility at the people and processes to ensure compliance with industry best practices.
We believe the combination of the security aspects of the facility and compliance with SOC 2 principles offer clients peace of mind with respect to security of hosting with BlackBridge.
Speed and connectivity are of vital importance to our clients. How do you ensure that both are industry standard?
Connectivity is paramount for the services we provide to our clients. BlackBridge employs a sophisticated BGP (borderless gateway patrol) gateway that monitors connectivity to the Internet. In the event of a loss of connectivity to our primary carrier, it automatically switches to a different carrier to ensure uninterrupted service to our clients. We connect to multiple carriers to ensure vital connectivity is always maintained.
Speed is important, too. The BlackBridge Networks data centre is connected by a high speed network to a number of carriers. Performance of client’s connectivity is monitored by the Network Operations Centre (NOC) staff and we work in conjunction with our clients to ensure performance needs are met at all times.
What is BlackBridge’s back-up strategy?
We offer a fully redundant cloud stack. That means that if we lose a server, VMware can automatically transferred the workload to another server. We also offer an off-site back up location for data in the very unlikely event of loss of the data centre.
Tell us more about being a Canadian solution.
We are a proudly Canadian company headquartered in Lethbridge, Alberta. We also compete and excel in the global marketplace. For example, we have:
- clients in over 130 counties
- acquired the assets of a major German satellite organization with offices in Berlin
- operate a constellation of 5 satellites that can image any point on our planet every 24 hours
In spite of these significant global initiatives within our company, we remain firmly grounded in Canada. We believe that we can create jobs for Canadians in Alberta that allow our employees to live here while at the same time building products and services that serve clients locally, nationally and globally.
We have grown from one person in 1999 to over 150 today and believe that the best years are ahead of us.
Learn more about BlackBridge Networks here.