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Off shore data centres better for logistics hub

Published:Wednesday | November 12, 2014 | 11:00 AM
Di Foto Shoppe/Contributed From left: Managing Director of Columbus Communications, Sean Latty chats with Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Mining and Energy, Julian Robinson and president of the Business Processing Industry Association of Jamaica, Yoni Epstein during the signing of a deal for CBS to build an incubator at the Montego Freezone
Jenson Sylvester
The Columbus Network the largest network in the Caribbean is well placed to support business in the Jamaica Logistics Hub in the event of a man-made or natural disaster.
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Jamaican businesses and potential investors in the Jamaica logistics hub are being urged to consider placing their data-recovery

centre's offshore.

Jenson Sylvester, director of government and strategic accounts at Columbus Communications Jamaica Limited, has noted that it would make better business sense for companies to protect their data in areas that are close to the island, but are not prone to the same natural or man-made disasters as Jamaica.

The impact of disasters on the special economic zones and the other implements necessary to make the hub a success have not been dealt with in much detail as yet.

However, Sylvester has argued that this should now become a key concern for investors.

He noted that as more companies move to business continuity services to minimise their exposure to various risks, the location of their recovery centres takes on a higher priority.

This, he said, would ensure greater protection from local disasters or disruptive events.

Sylvester explained that an important guideline in choosing a business continuity or disaster-recovery service is that the recovery centre should be

outside of the disaster area.

This is even more critical for Jamaica, as the island has bear the brunt of close to 20 serious storms and hurricanes since Independence.

Sylvester noted that this should be at the forefront of investors' minds because natural disasters could possibly cripple their operations.

To have a serious business continuity plan, "you have to look at putting your data off-

site and preferably offshore," said Sylvester.

He noted that "most Jamaican businesses should avoid having their data-recovery centre on the island".

He added that currently, Columbus Business Services (CBS) has the best plan for Jamaican businesses that desire putting in place a business continuity plan.

He explained that CBS has its Tier III data centre based on the island of CuraÁao, off the coast of Venezuela, about 662 miles from Kingston.

As a result, he said business clients can feel assured that their businesses can proceed uninterrupted, even if a major nationwide disaster like 1988's Hurricane Gilbert should hit Jamaica.

"The investments that we have made allow us to deliver data centre services that are more robust than any Jamaica-based system could provide," Sylvester said, adding that with an investment of more than a billion dollars, "CBS can provide full end-to-end services, including the fibre connectivity required".

Currently, one data centre provider is operating in one of the 16 proposed areas for the special economic zones, Caymanas, St Catherine.

However, Sylvester said a set-up like this does little to reduce the risk of disaster for a Kingston-based business.

He explained that Caymanas is a little over 10 miles away from Kingston and presents the danger that the recovery centre could also be hit by the same paralysing disaster such as an act of God or a man-made event such as a riot.

"If there is a major calamity, Caymanas is not going to be any use anyway," Sylvester added.

After the 2001 9/11 terrorist attack in the United States,

the Security and Exchange Commission, the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller jointly recommended that there should be a distance of about 200 miles between a company's primary and secondary sites.

Based on this argument, at about 144 miles at its widest point, it follows that it would be best for Jamaican businesses to base their recovery centres off the island.

Sylvester added that Columbus' clients are also assured that there are redundant data-recovery

centres in both Miami and Bogota, Colombia - with two more on track to open soon.