Securing the cloud

How Pacific Controls guarantees security for its cloud customers

Tags: Cloud computingPacific Control Systems LLCTrend Micro Incorporated
  • E-Mail
Securing the cloud Rahulan: This could snowball into an opportunity to make Dubai a hub for cloud services
By  Tom Paye Published  May 15, 2014

Dubai-based Pacific Controls specialises in providing IT automation products and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. One of its first major customers was Dubai International Airport, for which it managed an entire facility infrastructure. It has since made a name for itself in the IT automation world, having grown to other geographies in the world, and even has its own research lab in Vienna.

In 2011, however, Pacific Controls entered into a new business — providing data centre space and cloud computing solutions to the Middle East. To achieve this, it set up Pacific Controls Cloud Services (PCCS), a fully-owned subsidiary, and built itself a Tier III-certified, 87,000-square-foot data centre at the newly opened Dubai Techno Park, just outside of Jebel Ali in the emirate. And in 2013, the company began offering carrier-grade infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) solutions within the UAE.

The data centre was built at a cost of around $85 million, according to local media reports. It’s the largest facility of its kind in the Middle East, but what is impressive about the project is that Pacific Controls does not consider its core competency to be in delivering data centre space and cloud services. Indeed, according to the firm’s executive chairman, Dilip Rahulan, the data centre was originally intended to be for Pacific Controls’ own use.

“We hired a consultant to do a study for us in order to make sure that we were doing the right thing. When we realised the outcome of the study, there was an opportunity — there was a 100,000-square-metre shortage of white space for the whole GCC region. We realised that, if we invested into this, it could potentially become an opportunity that could actually snowball into making Dubai a hub for data aggregation, storage and virtualisation,” he says.

Business challenge
The facility was built from scratch. Whereas, traditionally, most data centres are retro-fitted into existing buildings, Pacific Controls created this campus from the outset as a data centre, hiring consultants, architects and contractors to ensure that its requirements were met. However, the company also recognised that it was no expert in delivering cloud services, so it went about finding strategic partners who could provide input on how to create the best facility in the Middle East.

“Selling data centre space or hosting a cloud is not our core competency, so we decided to go to major global players with whom we could partner and build on their knowledge base without reinventing the wheel,” Rahulan says.

“From the business development and marketing proposition, we went to the local telco, Etisalat, and made a partnership with them to go to market. With regard to the cloud, we made a partnership with one of the world’s biggest technology companies, Fujitsu, and we used their technology, their knowledge, their research facilities in order to make this facility dynamic in terms of our cloud offering.”

And from a security point of view, Pacific Controls did exactly the same thing. Even now — at a time when cloud computing is almost a given — one of the biggest hurdles facing cloud adoption in this region is being able to allay concerns over security. With its own cloud services, then, Pacific Controls needed to guarantee protection from cyber-threats.

During the build-out phase, then, Pacific Controls floated a global request for proposal (RFP) to partner with a security vendor that could offer robust cloud-based security for its customers. Rahulan says that the security provider had to be innovative in its approach to cloud security, as well as extremely scalable. The solution had to be easy to deploy, and be able to address varying customer needs without compromising the performance of the cloud solution. Multi-layered IT security and data privacy were primary concerns.

“Today, when you look at cloud computing, it’s an emerging, dynamic tool that enables globalisation of your business and data. When you look at it, it’s sort of an incremental process. You need security also to be dynamic in terms of its scalability and elasticity, and to be capable of enabling concepts that are able to deal with large growth syndromes,” he explains.

Why Trend Micro?
After much deliberation, Pacific Controls settled on Trend Micro as a viable security partner. According to Rahulan, the vendor stood out as having the most innovative offerings when it comes to cloud computing, and so Pacific Controls signed up to use the Trend Micro Cloud and Data Centre Security solution.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code