ING updates disaster recovery system

Carmela Bautista, head of Operations & IT, Middle East and Africa, ING Investment Management talks us through the company’s new disaster recovery site

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ING updates disaster recovery system Carmela Bautista from ING says that all ING servers and infrastructure is currently at the DIFC data centre and the company uses the eHDF facility as a disaster recovery and back-up site.
By  Georgina Enzer Published  October 27, 2012

Carmela Bautista, head of Operations & IT, Middle East and Africa, ING Investment Management talks us through the company’s new disaster recovery site.

Tell us about ING

ING Investment Management Middle East, Limited (IMME\)is part of the global ING Group and the Dubai operation was established in 2007 with operations commencing in 2008. This is the only presence of ING in the Middle East and we have about 18 people with the entire front to back office being managed from this office. ING globally is a Top 20 Global Asset Manager managing investments in equity, fixed income, multi asset and alternatives. These portfolios are managed across different regions in the world with a total amount of assets under management estimated at $369 billion.

IIMME was one of the first investment management firms that was set up to cater to the growing investment interests in this part of the world. The Dubai office manages the ING L Invest MENA Fund and segregated mandates for regional and international clients.

Name and describe your IT infrastructure

IT at IIMME today stands on a highly secure network with a complete infrastructure that includes secure firewalls, routers, business continuity and disaster recovery in place to mitigate any high risk situations. In order to support the infrastructure we currently have annual maintenance contracts with different network providers. We use products from HP, Cisco and CheckPoint among others. All our servers and infrastructure is currently placed at the DIFC data centre and we use the eHDF facility as a DR and back-up site.

How integral is IT to the functioning of ING?

Technology is very critical to our operations and it plays an important role especially when it comes to business continuity. In our operations the reliance on IT is heavy not just to cater to the investment trade business but also to comply with regulatory obligations. The IT backbone is also important for us to link back to the global systems and store valuable data. Data back-up and protection is a critical aspect for IIMME in accordance with regulatory and group policy.

Name and describe your project with eHosting DataFort

We worked with eHDF as part of our efforts to establish a disaster recovery site. Things were also changing in the global market and DIFC from a geographic point of view was gaining in prominence. So we needed to take additional measures to ensure that we were up to date with global and regional requirements and took the step to establish an independent DR site in 2010.

What were the driving business needs for the investment in a DR site? And how did you select a project partner?

As we develop the Middle East business we have a commitment to our clients to ensure efficient business continuity.

The process began with us sending out RFPs to four key service providers in the region and then shortlisted three for further due diligence. We ensured that we met with each one to discuss the following points that were critical.

1) We wanted them to have local presence in Dubai
2) Technical expertise was key
3) They needed to have strong support offerings
4) Availability of resources were required for this project
5) Cost effective solutions
6) Market reputation
7) Immediate set up capabilities
8) 99.9 % availability

We also established a process for due diligence, verification, validation and management review to ensure that the partner we worked with is well recognised and has a strong client profile.

Why did you finally choose eHosting DataFort for this project?

Besides the fact that they met with all our requirements, we selected eHDF because they had engagements with various DIFC clients and have a good reputation with the financial sector.

How supportive of IT projects is the management? Management support continues to be strong and all divisions, particularly compliance and business heads also add input.

Name key IT investments that you are planning over the next 12 months?

Going forward we are looking at moving into Managed Services and eHDF is one of the companies we are talking to. We have a very small team in IT and we are looking into getting some managed services in order to augment support especially to get hardware, desktop and day-to-day requirements for users in the office.

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