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27
August
2014

Bug fixes and Internet slow down

Matt Lovell, CTO, Pulsant

Regardless of industry or environment, everyone is aware of the importance of keeping hardware and software up to date. From patching and firmware updates, to OS upgrades and system health checks, all technology must be maintained to ensure that it performs correctly and allows users and the organisation as a whole to operate properly. This doesn’t just apply to PCs or laptops, but includes aspects such as the network infrastructure. For a colocation, cloud and managed hosting provider such as Pulsant, maintaining our network is a vital part of providing seamless service, maximum uptime and availability to our customers.

There has been a fair bit of media attention over the last few weeks on so-called data jams. Essentially, as the number of connections on the Internet has increased, routers are struggling to cope with demand. According to a BBC article, the ways in which data is sent around the world is tracked via a routing table and the entries on this table went past 524,000 last week.

The result is that a lot of the older equipment is being replaced or updated to cope with this growth and while that is taking place, Internet users have been experiencing slower browsing speeds.

So what does that mean for an organisation like Pulsant and our customers?

Our technical team anticipated potential issues, tested and implemented resolutions in early 2014 to eliminate the possibility of problems ahead of the limits being reached. As a result of this proactive move, our customers have continued to receive the same levels of uptime and connectivity as they always have done.

Again, this comes down to keeping a close eye on hardware and software requirements, making sure everything is up to date, and ensuring that all devices within an organisation are fit for purpose and are running optimally. The most important aspect of this approach is that we are always aware of what is going on within our IT estate and can proactively address potential issues before they actually even become issues.

Categories: Blog, News

22
August
2014

Pulsant awarded certificate of appreciation by Help For Heroes

Pulsant have been awarded a certificate of appreciation by Help For Heroes for the efforts of the Pulsant staff in raising £5935 for the charity over the past 12 months.

A number of the team took part in “Tough Mudder” and helped raise the donations in aid of this noble and worthy cause. Such donations make a huge difference to the lives of some truly inspirational and brave people.

Help 4 Heroes

Categories: Blog, News

21
July
2014

Pulsant wins Asigra partner award

We are delighted to announce that we came away from the Asigra Partner Awards having been named Fastest Growing Partner of the Year. We were recognised for our dedication and leadership in supporting technology users with innovative cloud-based data recovery solutions.

We entered into a strategic partnership with Asigra at the beginning of the year adding enterprise cloud back-up and replication solutions to our portfolio.

“Capturing market share in the highly competitive backup and recovery market requires intelligence-driven efforts at multiple levels to outmarket, outsell and outperform, winning the opportunity to deliver a more compelling solution to the customer,” says David Farajun, CEO, Asigra. “Pulsant achieves consecutively high results and therefore ranks number one in this category, receiving the win.”

Rob Davies, sales and marketing director, Pulsant, says: “We have seen a lot of growth in this area. Working with a partner like Asigra ensures that we are perfectly poised to deliver on this demand with a world-class product that rounds out our cloud and colocation offering.”

Asigra was recently named TechTarget’s top enterprise backup application for 2014, and the company has been included in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup Software and Integrated Appliances for the fourth year in a row.

The award ceremony took place during Asigra’s annual Partner Summit held in June in Toronto.

Categories: News

15
July
2014

Data centre security – the presence and mitigation of risk

Fergus Kennedy, Head of Compliance and Information Systems at Pulsant

The issue of data security is playing a prominent role in corporate decision-making and budgeting, a view supported by a recent KPMG survey that shows it is the third most important consideration in UK boardrooms today. For data centre operators, where responsibility extends beyond that of the company’s own security to encompass security controls for its customers, this is no different. Keeping a customer’s data safe is core to a data centre providers’ business where a full spectrum of security controls from the virtual to the physical is in place.

Approaches

Data centre operators face a wide threat landscape and must deliver environments that reduce the potential impact to their business and customers, whether the risks concern intellectual property, mission critical information or confidential data. Best practices and frameworks for addressing these threats must be embraced to achieve this and there are a burgeoning number of frameworks out there. However, the basics like ISO27001 must never be overlooked as it provides the much needed baseline and common ground from which to develop.

The environment into which a provider delivers its services will mould the security controls and practices deployed as the risk profile differs from one industry to another. Whether the appropriate practices are defined by PCI-DSS for ecommerce and financial sectors or CESG guidance on the new protective marking scheme for the public sector, these all have a common goal to ensure data security appropriate to the requirements of the environment in which they operate. The controls defined by ISO27001 are the starting point from which a provider must grow additional controls to meet the additional requirements placed upon them.

As the risk increases, so does the severity and complexity of the controls, but it consistently comes under to the same areas of physical security, network security, application security and people all measured against impact from the standard security tryst of availability, integrity and confidentiality.

People

Having the right people and making sure they get the support and training to do their job is essential. Threats from accidental and malicious behaviour can very quickly render large security investments impotent.

Personnel must be vetted to the appropriate level and receive awareness and competency training appropriate to their role. As risk increases for a business so does the commitment to deliver more in depth, but basic vetting, following ACAS guidelines and including DS/DBS background checks can be achieved easily. This has become a standard part of working for the industry.

It is not just staff that must be considered; visitors to the facilities and contractors who deliver essential professional services must also be taken into account. They too require training or induction to ensure they understand the site’s controls and don’t weaken the data centre security by their presence.

Networks & Applications

The systems used to deliver security controls are just as subject to threats as the systems holding data that they protect. In a modern data centre it is unlikely that security systems are kept in isolation as requirements for business continuity and remote management exist within many best practices. As a result, network segregation and security around the platforms and applications used to deliver the security controls is another potential attack vector and must be subject to appropriate risk mitigation.

Security in this space extends beyond the state of the systems at time of deployment. Regular audit, change management and patching must make up part of the ongoing maintenance to ensure continued compliance.

Physical Security

Physical security is often considered as a set of layers of protection with arguably the first layer of all being location. Ideally, data centres should be located outside of densely populated areas and far enough from significant public infrastructure or large facilities that could be considered targets for terrorism or sources of interruption or contamination to data centre operations. There must be a balance between accessibility and separation that must also satisfy specific physical requirements like access to power and telecommunication providers, and customer specific needs such as defined distance between a primary business systems and their backup or continuity services. Environmental threats like flooding must also be taken into account as potential critical threats to the operation of the data centre.

With a suitably situated data centre, a set of appropriate perimeter access controls must be deployed. The requirement for an actual physical perimeter can change depending on the compliance requirements but perimeter fences should present a reasonable obstacle to entry encapsulating the site, and entry points should be controlled and employ anti-tailgate systems. Suitable surveillance should be used, as well as tremor sensors, infrared motion detectors and robust locking systems within the perimeter, particularly for generator and fuel repository containment. Controls like vehicle registration capture and facial recognition systems can supplement access security where additional control and audit is required.

Once inside the perimeter of a data centre, the space is divided into a series of secure areas, often with within one another where the security controls deployed are appropriate to the threats and likelihood. At entry, exit and transit between secure areas controls must tie access to an individual and most commonly include two factor access authentication and in some cases extended to biometric devices. The intention is that both staff and visitor credentials are validated every time they move between secure areas. Access control is the primary security measure inside the building and should include camera coverage as an additional confirmation of access.

Security by design

Retro fitting security controls is always expensive so it is critical that the review of risk and identification of controls is included at the design stage. The inner walls of the building, particularly within the data halls, must be solid and run from ceiling to the subfloor to eliminate unnecessary spaces and points of access between areas. Filtered air systems, cooling, water, power and connectivity systems are typically housed in separate facilities and should also feature the same levels of security as the main building in terms of both access control. Threats to infrastructure can differ from traditional data security challenges so may require dedicated features like anti-ram protection.

Data centres must provide an extremely high level of service availability and need the electrical and mechanical systems to be designed to be highly available with built in redundancy and automatic failover. This means the continuous supply of power and telecommunications connectivity to site are a critical part of the design with requirement for diverse supplies of power and communications and multiple lines of protection including generators and uninterruptible power supplies.

Conclusion

The security and continuity approaches deployed to address risk within a data centre environment often exceed what a normal business would consider and as such are an integral part of the business process review and improvement of a data centre operator. Customers benefit from the extensive focus on delivering, maintaining and improving the security and availability of data held within the facilities allowing customer to focus on the security issues that are specific to their business.

Categories: News

20
June
2014

Pulsant completes latest phase of £18m upgrade to Croydon data centre

Cloud expert builds and configures own high voltage network

Reading, UK – 20 June 2014 – Pulsant, the cloud computing, managed hosting and colocation expert, has completed the latest set of improvements to its Tier iii South London data centre facility. The upgrades are the next phase in an £18m investment and have boosted the site’s levels of redundancy and uptime.

Backup generator foundations

Pulsant built and configured its own high voltage (HV) network on site, which enables it to expand the facility in terms of power with a minimal disruption to customers. This is the first HV network across the company’s 10 data centre network.

“The HV network gives Pulsant added flexibility when it comes to bringing more power into the site,” says Matt Lovell, CTO, Pulsant. “It enables us to approach future growth in a modular fashion. And the key advantage is that when this is taking place, there will be a minimum of disruption to our existing customers.”

backup generator

Other improvements include the increase of the main electrical power supply and enhanced redundancy through the addition of standby generators. The site now offers 2N power generation capabilities with electricity provisioned from two independent sources. This ensures that there is no single point of failure.

“We have also added more dark fibre options in terms of capacity and connections to the site. These new links have been provided by Zayo Networks and, as with our other dark fibre options, they offer low latency connectivity straight into the heart of London with diverse roots.”

generator

The Croydon data centre has also achieved the latest PCI DSS compliance.

“This latest upgrade follows on our recent £14m improvement project that was completed in January 2013, and ultimately completes the next step in our committed investment plan of £18m for the South London site,” concludes Lovell.

Categories: Cloud, Colocation, Managed Hosting, Managed Networks, News, Power Generation

16
June
2014

Oak Hill Capital Partners to Acquire Pulsant from Bridgepoint Development Capital

LONDON and NEW YORK, NY, June 16, 2014 – Pulsant, a leading provider of managed, hosted data centre and IT infrastructure services to the mid-market, today announced that Oak Hill Capital Partners (“Oak Hill”) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Pulsant from Bridgepoint Development Capital (“BDC”). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The transaction is unconditional and is expected to complete in the coming weeks.

Pulsant was formed in October 2010 when BDC acquired Lumison, a provider of connectivity, hosting and managed IT services. This was the first step in a strategy to create a ‘one stop shop’ managed and hosted IT services supplier in the underserved UK mid-market. Subsequently, Pulsant (as the business was re-branded) made three further acquisitions: Blue Square Data, a colocation provider, acquired in February 2011; Dedipower, a managed hosting and cloud services provider, acquired in September 2011; and Scolocate, a provider of colocation, managed hosting and cloud services in Scotland, acquired in December 2012. Pulsant currently provides its services from a network of 10 company operated datacentres across the UK, connected via the company’s own fibre network.

Oak Hill is an experienced investor in the data centre services market. Its current IT services investments include ViaWest, Inc., a leading provider of colocation and hybrid cloud services to medium-sized enterprises in regional US markets, and Intermedia.net, Inc., a global provider of cloud-based, hosted services to small- and medium-sized businesses. In 2005, Oak Hill co-led the consolidation of the European colocation industry by acquiring Telecity Group plc and executing on a number of subsequent strategic acquisitions.

Mark Howling, CEO of Pulsant, commented “We expect continued significant consolidation amongst suppliers in this dynamic market, and we believe Pulsant is well-positioned to expand its leadership position by executing on targeted acquisitions, bringing additional capabilities to benefit Pulsant and its customers. As we considered our strategic options for the business, there was a lot of interest, but Oak Hill emerged as the preferred partner, having a strong understanding of the market and of businesses like Pulsant. Oak Hill will be an active partner and we are very much looking forward to working with them. I would also like to thank BDC, which has been an excellent investment partner. The business has made significant progress under its ownership, increasing profitability and cash flow, and broadening and strengthening the services and facilities that Pulsant offers. Having now used most of the funds that BDC had available for us to invest, we are delighted to have identified a new investor that can support our development in the next phase of our long-term growth.”

David Scott, Principal at Oak Hill, said “We are pleased to be investing in Pulsant and to be supporting Mark Howling and the rest of the Pulsant management team as the company continues its strong growth trajectory. With this transaction, Oak Hill builds upon a decade of significant data centre expertise, where Oak Hill has a demonstrated track record. We believe Pulsant is well positioned to grow in the data centre services market with clear and sustained demand for its services. We look forward to further building the Pulsant franchise.”

Alan Payne, Partner of BDC, commented: “With Mark Howling and the team, we achieved what we set out to do: for Pulsant to become the trusted partner to medium-sized businesses looking for a provider to meet all of their IT and networking needs.”

Advisers involved in this transaction included: Jefferies (Corporate Finance), Travers Smith (Legal), Deloitte (Financial and Tax), Boston Consulting Group (Commercial), ERM (Environment), Marsh (Insurance), MEIT (Technical) for BDC, and Torch Partners (Corporate Finance), Macfarlanes and Paul Weiss (Legal) and EY (Financial and Tax) for Oak Hill.

About Oak Hill Capital Partners Oak Hill Capital Partners (“Oak Hill”) is a private equity firm with more than $8 billion of initial capital commitments from leading entrepreneurs, endowments, foundations, corporations, pension funds, and global financial institutions. Since inception 28 years ago, the professionals at Oak Hill and its predecessors have invested in more than 70 significant private equity transactions across broad segments of the U.S. and global economies. Oak Hill applies an industry-focused, theme-based approach to investing in the following sectors: Consumer, Retail & Distribution; Industrials; Media & Communications; and Services. Oak Hill works actively in partnership with management to implement strategic and operational initiatives to create franchise value.

 

About Bridgepoint Development Capital Bridgepoint Development Capital (“BDC”) provides funding to businesses headquartered in France, the Nordic region and the UK, typically buyouts valued up to €150 million. BDC has a team of 19 investment professionals wholly dedicated to its investment activity and operating from offices in London, Paris and Stockholm. It is part of Bridgepoint, the international private equity group, which invests in businesses valued between €200 million and €1 billion across Europe.

Categories: News

7
May
2014

Pulsant boosts Maidenhead Data Centre with multi-million pound investment

Facility upgrade delivers faster connectivity, efficiency and reliability to data centre customers

We are pleased to announce that we are currently in the process of completing a series of upgrades to the electrical and mechanical systems within our Maidenhead Data Centre facility, including changes to the data centre environment and network.

Our Maidenhead data centre plays host to a number of local businesses, many of whom have long standing relationships with Pulsant. The campus incorporates two data centres and is the second largest in our network of 10 owned data centres throughout the UK. The upgrade began with the installation of a new UPS (uninterruptable power supply) architecture, and extends to the addition of a network operations centre (NOC) to complement its existing onsite support team, as well as an upgrade valued at over £200,000 of its core switch network across the campus. It features the latest technology and meets the standards set by the rest of our group data centre networks.

Matt Lovell, Pulsant CTO, says: “The upgrade is the result of a combination of factors, including meeting our clients’ changing requirements, and ensuring we deliver the best possible services and solutions by using the most up to date technology within our facilities.

“Many of our customers are based in and around the Thames Valley area and have a large footprint at our facility. It was therefore important for us to ensure that their needs were met by delivering added stability, better bandwidth and faster connections to enjoy in and out of the data centre. We have recently added a wide range of connectivity options with our partner Equinix, as well as high capacity interconnections to our Reading and London data centres.

“There’s a great sense of community amongst our clients here as many of them have been with Pulsant for some time. They understand the site and get exactly what they need from us in terms of an efficient, cost-effective solution for rack space outside of London but with great performance and low latency,” says Lovell.

The Tier 2 facility is also benefiting from the expansion of the company’s risk management framework. Maidenhead is undergoing PCI DSS accreditation, as well as Business Impact Level 2 (IL 2) certification, which are expected to be finalised in May this year.

“This added accreditation ensures that our customers benefit directly by being able to offer their customers additional secure services, while assuring them that our services and solutions have a new level of compliance over and above our existing accreditations,” concludes Lovell.

Categories: Colocation, News

22
April
2014

Pulsant’s Newbridge data centre caters to local business

Upgrades to tier 3 facility attracts numerous local SME clients

Pulsant, the cloud computing, managed hosting and colocation expert, has attracted a number of businesses seeking to benefit from its newly upgraded data centre facility in Newbridge, just outside of Edinburgh.

The 210 rack data centre features multi-level security and ultra-fast connectivity with low latency to London locations. Its seven data halls are all online and operational, and have been designed in a modular fashion to optimise energy usage and cooling.

“We’ve seen a tremendous increase in interest in our colocation services in the region, especially by local small and medium sized businesses that are discovering just how cost-effective managed hosting and colocation services can be,” says Chris Shields, regional sales director, Pulsant. “We have the facilities to offer these types of businesses exactly what they need – from a single rack through to a multi-rack solution – which are made more attractive with the addition of our support and managed service options.

“Colocation is ideal for SMBs as it brings them cost savings, future proofing and reduced risk. In addition, it frees up in-house IT staff to focus on internal infrastructure.”

Other local customers include IntelligentComms, a supplier of bespoke, flexible and modular telecoms expense management solutions; Factonomy, a business continuity and disaster recovery software provider; RMJM, an international architectural practice; and Wolfson Microelectronics, a supplier of mixed signal semiconductors.

Gareth Cleland, head of IT, RMJM says: “We now have the security and the peace of mind of a managed environment that has fire and power protection and is manned 24/7 by knowledgeable support staff. This is in stark contrast to the in-house option which would have involved making a significant capital investment in our office located right next to a river, which is not best practice. The Newbridge colocation facility has given us far greater flexibility and in the event that we need to downsize or the dynamics of the office change, we can move the office without any disruption to services for the rest of the organisation.”

Andrew Ralston, director of IS & security, Wolfson Microelectronics says: “We first selected Pulsant more than eight years ago when we were looking for a reliable provider of connectivity services and the most robust and secure disaster recovery site. We needed a local facility within a suitable distance from our head office to meet all of our business continuity requirements. We have been partnering with Pulsant ever since and now use their colocation facilities too. Now we host the disaster recovery solution at Newbridge and have been using this model for the last five years.”

Categories: Colocation, News

3
April
2014

C4L signs three-year deal with Pulsant

Investment in upgrading Maidenhead Data Centre facility brings benefits to customers

We are delighted to announce that our long-term client C4L have renewed their contract with Pulsant by signing a three-year deal. C4L is a provider of colocation, connectivity, cloud and communications and currently has a large footprint within our Maidenhead Data Facility.

The company has been a client for four years and in that time has added to the services that Pulsant provides, initially making use of the Maidenhead campus before expanding to Pulsant’s Milton Keynes facility. These services include colocation, power supply and connectivity along three wavelengths between sites in Maidenhead, Milton Keynes and London.

“We have a significant presence in Maidenhead with a number of racks there, and we host several of our clients at this campus,” says Simon Mewett, CEO, C4L. “By committing to a new three-year deal we are, in effect, committing to the Maidenhead site. It offers us a cost-effective destination outside of London, with excellent connectivity between the site and the city with low latency. It is also an excellent disaster recovery facility to support our other sites.

“The recent multi-million pound investment that Pulsant has put into the Maidenhead upgrade has made the latest technology available to us and enables us to pass those benefits onto our clients.”

Upgrades to the Maidenhead campus include electrical and mechanical improvements, enhanced connectivity into and out of the facility, and an expansion of the company’s risk management framework. A new UPS – uninterruptible power supplies – architecture, new plant rooms for the devices, separate LV and UPS switch rooms, and a new area to house the UPS batteries have been built. This ensures that Pulsant is providing an N+1 redundant power supply to all racks with single and dual fed supplies from new distribution points up to 6kw.

Further upgrades are also taking place, including the inclusion of 32amp and dual fed rack space, customer areas for meetings and downtime, as well as build room and secure storage facilities.

“In addition to the upgrade, over the years we’ve had excellent service from the remote hands support team at Maidenhead. They are an experienced and knowledgeable team who know our business and can quickly assist us and implement what we need,” concludes Mewett.

Categories: Colocation, News

26
February
2014

Pulsant partners with Asigra to extend data protection leadership

Asigra Logo

Pulsant adds next generation cloud backup and recovery to portfolio

Pulsant, the cloud computing, managed hosting and colocation expert, has announced a strategic partnership with Asigra, a leading cloud backup, recovery and restore software provider. Pulsant will be broadening its portfolio with the addition of enterprise cloud back-up and replication solutions, powered by Asigra Cloud BackupTM v12.2.

Pulsant’s new services incorporate cloud to cloud, smart device to cloud, on-premise to cloud and third party cloud data protection solutions which are combined to provide a single management and recovery view of business critical data. This is enabled by Asigra Cloud Backup™, an enterprise-class secure backup and recovery solution that eliminates the complexity of data protection by providing a single, integrated approach, and improving the efficiency, reliability and performance of protecting diverse computing environments.

The solution features agent-less software architecture for ease of deployment, NIST FIPS 140-2 certified security, and global de-duplication and data compression technology. It enables Pulsant to deliver a cost-effective and efficient transformational backup product to its private and enterprise cloud customers.

Rob Davies, sales and marketing director, Pulsant says: “The cloud means that the ways in which businesses can offer access to their data is changing. However, there are still concerns that are holding many organisations back from implementing these types of services. At Pulsant, we want to give our customers the confidence to take advantage of the cloud and make the most of the benefits it can bring. Data is our customers’ most treasured asset so it is crucial for us to offer a comprehensive solution for cloud back-up, protection and recovery.

“We are always looking to expand our offering and the new service is a great addition. We are delighted to provide a world-class cloud product that offers our customers the reassurance that their data is secure, regardless of how they wish to access it.”

Eran Farajun, executive vice president, Asigra, says: “As a trusted IT provider, Pulsant understands the challenges faced by organisations as they move toward consolidating IT operations to reduce complexity and costs. Pulsant’s experience in implementing cloud backup services ensures positive long-term results as they extol the benefits of agent-less data recovery for businesses throughout the UK and beyond.”

Categories: News

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