Services - Services

By: Psiberworks  11-11-2011

1. Introduction

The PSIber Hosted Service, which is available to all our clients and partners, is hosted at Internet Solutions (IS) and provides them with a totally secure environment, taking advantage of some of the most modern methods and technologies available in the world today.

The services available through the hosted solution include facilities for:

Due to the confidentiality / sensitivity of the data held in the payroll / HR files appropriate security measures, eg, firewalls, and database security, line monitoring etc, have all been instituted to ensure that only authorised access is allowed. Data encryption methodologies have also been deployed within the application to further enhance the security of the application and associated data files.  

2. About IS and our Infrastructure

Internet Solutions (IS)is South Africa’s most established and experienced Converged Communications Service Provider. Since 1993 IS have been providing end-to-end connectivity solutions and related services across the African continent. IS also provides specific infrastructure facilities to its customers, having received a full Electronic Communications Network license in 2009.

The solutions and services provided to us by IS are underpinned by a founding principle - developing a robust infrastructure that enables corporate companies and other organisations to communicate and store data in an accessible and secure environment.

For many years IS has been delivering these products and services to over 80% of South Africa’s top businesses, from listed companies to Non Governmental Organisations, local and national Government and small to medium sized enterprises. PSIber has been able to successfully leverage off this sophisticated infrastructure to enable clients to enjoy a totally robust and secure environment to house their payroll application and its associated data.

IS is the market leader across multiple vertical market segments through the company’s current product mix of Hosting, Access, Security, Virtual Private Network (VPN), Mobile, VOIS, Wireless, Broadband and Application Services solutions. All IS products and services are built on a world-class, secure and resilient infrastructure, delivered according to global best practices and in partnership with the world’s leading technology vendors, such as Cisco and Microsoft. IS is a Microsoft Gold Partner with competencies in Hosted Messaging and Collaboration (Hosted Exchange and SharePoint) and Advance Infrastructure (Managed Hosting) Solutions. IS was the first ISP in Africa and the Middle East to achieve this accreditation. Similarly, IS was certified as a Cisco Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP), the first company outside of the US to be awarded this accolade. IS also embraces open source technology and partners with leading local and international companies to deliver business ready Linux and open source solutions.

With this background, history and pedigree it was a logical decision for PSIber to appoint Internet Solutions to assist in the provision of a robust, secure, and responsive hosting environment for the provision of the PSIberWORKS online payroll and HR solution to small, medium and large customers throughout South Africa, and in many other countries.

Security to the data center is provided by bio-metric finger print scanners, IP based digital recorded motion sensor video surveillance (Indigo Vision) and physical environmental monitoring systems. Internet Solutions utilizes multiple systems and multiple vendors to ensure that the alerts are generated and received as designed. Netbotz is used on the internal network, providing information on heat and humidity (climate), water flooding, device triggers (fire suppression, UPS, generators, air handlers) including threshold deviations. Video is relayed in real time to the central control center via Netbotz and the IP based video recording systems. As a pre-caution, additional monitoring in all areas is provided by an external vendor, thereby bypassing the network and providing a level of redundancy.

Only authorized operations staff are permitted to enter the hosting area. All clients and/or vendors, such as ourselves, requiring access need to follow a strict procedure using access registers and a ticket logging system to gain access. Access can only be physically granted by an Internet Solutions engineer.

Vault Management facilities are provided should we need these in the event that we need full control over our entire area. The vaults are provided with independent card/biometric access control and digital video surveillance. The audit trail for these devices can be supplied should we need them. All racks are fully lockable and it is standard procedure to keep them secured at all times.

The IS Vulnerability Scan is a fully automated vulnerability analysis solution which allows us to automatically detect and address new threats to our applications and data files should they emerge.

This automated scanning gives us the assurance that all of our Internet facing systems are secure against hackers, crackers, trojans and virus threats at all times. This remains true, regardless of the configuration changes and no matter how many vulnerabilities are discovered, the solution constantly tests and probes for any security weakness that could lead to a security compromise or breach.

The following features are included in our facility:

-     ‘Best of Breed’ Sensepost technology

-     Fully Automated and scheduled

-     Identifies security vulnerabilities

-     Improves security posture

-     Tests host for all known vulnerabilities

-     High levels of infrastructure redundancy

-     Detailed vulnerability report with remediation steps

-     Full support and proactive management

3. Secure Connect

Our service allows our “roaming” users to connect securely (SSL) to the corporate LAN utilising any means of internet connectivity. The Secure Connect Service establishes a logical connection between a remote user's browser and a corporate network. Once the client is connected they are logically situated on the corporate network and are able to access network facilities (e.g. printers, file servers, mail-servers and application servers) as if they were working at a workstation physically situated on that local network.

The Secure Connect service is medium independent, i.e. the mobile user can connect to the internet via analogue dial-up, ISDN, ADSL, GSM or WiFi HotSpot. Access to our network/environment is then obtained by browsing to a customised SSL gateway.

The IS Outsourced Firewall enables us to access ‘best of breed’ firewalls within one of IS' secure Internet Data Centres. The solution is “outsourced” in that Internet Solutions take full responsibility for the hardware, software and infrastructure components of our solution. We however retain full control over the firewall rule base, which can be modified to suit our individual security policy requirements as and when our needs change.

IS Outsourced Firewall solutions are geared to provide low latency, high throughput security solutions, which examine traffic in both inbound and outbound directions.

4. Backup Service

Where Clients are using the PSIber Internet version or are hosted by PSIber, all backups are done using the Attix5 digital backup technology.  Although the backups are scheduled for various specific times during the day, the technology also allows for customised backups (user controlled) at any time. This technology also facilitates mirror imaging of data etc in the IS Rosebank environment which ensures local, as well as offsite digital backups are always available. 

5. Incident Notification

IS provides PSIber with an incident notification service where in the event of any server losing power (ie full system crash) we are notified :

-  within one hour if the fault occurs after hours;

- immediately where the fault occurs during office hours.

The same times apply where there is a system disk failure and the system is unable to automatically recover and rebuild itself using the automated recovery facility. This will only happen where three or more disks fail simultaneously. 

6. DR Service

As the backups are available online and are secured on and offsite the process of data restore and data access can be done from any area within the DiData Campus or from any office external to the Campus. PSIber has a DR relationship with two companies in case of an emergency, however being an Internet based service the system can be recreated / provided from virtually anywhere which has internet connectivity within minutes.

7. Conclusion

Internet Solutions use world class hardware and technology providers for their entire infrastructure – eg Cisco technology. To ourselves and IS, security of applications and data is of paramount importance, and as such all facilities are secured to the highest level possible. This includes the use of mantraps and sophisticated monitoring and recording equipment, designed to give us the best possible protection against loss of data and / or equipment hosted in the data centre we use at IS.

Further to this, Internet Solutions provides us with multiple PoP’s (points of presence) in the larger cities, giving us the choice of creating a disaster recovery environment or failover in the event of a disaster at one of the sites, over and above those that we have already provided for – ie fromanywhere and at any time. These PoP’s also provide our own internal network with additional redundancy, ensuring that uptime is maintained in accordance with our standard service level agreements (SLA’s).