Founded in 2010, NEXTDC is one of Australia’s leading data centres. What makes NEXTDC unique is that they operate as a service provider, enabling organisations to use the data centre as a managed service, renting out space within the data centre to house and run their own servers, thereby eliminating the expenses, infrastructure, maintenance and, interestingly, many of the security issues inherent in running one’s own data centre.
The partnership between NEXTDC and its security platform provider, Genetec, serves as a clear example of how security has evolved over the last decade. No longer is security just about providing best-of-breed cameras, detectors and access points; the focus for security providers and end-users moving forward is how those devices, in conjunction with intelligent software, can be used to better understand the nature of the business, and provide intelligent data that helps drive business outcomes while creating value for the customer.
According to the Chief Customer Officer and Executive Vice President of Technology, David Dzienciol, NEXTDC currently operates nine data centres across Australia. “We host co-location provider data centres as a service provider for some of the largest companies in the world. We have a rich partner ecosystem of roughly around 550 partners. We currently have over 1,100 customers.
“We provide on-ramp connectivity to six of the major cloud providers via our AXON layer 2 ethernet platform and we also have our ONEDC customer portal that allows our customers to gather intelligence around their infrastructure and critical assets while also providing rack locking as a capability.”
As one might imagine, providing a co-location service in which a multitude of companies can choose to house and run their own data services brings with it a number of significant security challenges. While it is up to each company to ensure the integrity of its data in the cyber realm, NEXTDC, as the owner and operator of the physical site at which the servers are located, is responsible for ensuring the physical security of those assets. Dzienciol and his team at NEXTDC need to have a security platform in place that will enable NEXTDC to deliver on its brand promises, one of which is security – both physical and general security.
The other big challenge the organisation faces involves designing, building and delivering world-class facilities that enable the company to grow, both with the needs of its customers and the growth of the market. “We made the decision very early on in our business planning that we were only going to partner with world leaders, which is why, when looking for a security partner, we chose Genetec,” states Dzienciol.
The goal for NEXTDC was to identify and partner with an organisation that could provide a world-class, integrated security offering. As Dzienciol explains, there are plenty of companies that offer a great video management system, or access control system or licence plate recognition and so on, but NEXTDC preferred to find a vendor that could bring all of those products and expertise together – or unify them – into one system.
Beyond providing class-leading security, Dzienciol explains, “We wanted to be able to use our security as a business driver. Something that would help us establish a unique point of difference in the market. We wanted our security to be a business enabler and not just an expense as so many people often perceive it to be. By partnering with Genetec and using Genetec solutions, we can say to our partners and prospective customers, you know that when you choose NEXTDC you are getting the very best security for your data and services.”
According to Philippe Ouimette, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Genetec, its Security Center platform was a natural fit for NEXTDC. “Utilising Security Center Omnicast™ for video management and Security Center Synergis™ for access control, we are able to build upon the capabilities of our offering with the growing needs of each site. With nine sites across Australia, the logical step was the integration of all these sites together into one system with Security Center Federation™. Now, as we look towards the future, we’re running tests with licence plate recognition, seeing how that might enable the business moving forward.”
In line with their stated goal of using security as a business enabler, David Dzienciol explains that the adoption of Genetec Security Center and other Genetec solutions allow NEXTDC to drive a greater customer experience. “We don’t want to compromise security, but we want to have a frictionless customer experience. Part of our mission is to drive an advanced customer experience. The way in which we do that is through a combination of technology, people and process. So, on the technology side, Security Center combined with some of our other systems like CRM and ticket management, helps us to offer that frictionless experience.”
“We realised as we were adding more and more sites that one of the challenges we were facing was the ability to deliver security in a manner that was neither resource intensive nor cumbersome. We didn’t want the people bringing our customers in and out of our facilities to operate in a swivel chair environment in which they were required to move from system to system. We really wanted a unified view of our entire security process, so that regardless of which of our sites a customer was visiting, or who the customer was, or whichever of our representatives that customer happened to be dealing with, even if they were just logging a ticket, the experience would be unified across everything we do.
This way, when a customer comes to the data centre for that physical experience, the security not only becomes part of the value proposition, it actually becomes frictionless. It works. It always works, and it’s not seen as something that’s cumbersome for our customers.”
Beyond the obvious access control and video surveillance, Dzienciol explains that Security Center allows NEXTDC to address broader customer requirements such as reporting and compliance. “These are real value adds for our customers. Many, many customers come to us on a rolling basis because we assist with their compliance requirements by providing what we would refer to as ‘customer reporting’ in a way that is helping them reduce their own complexity and overhead.
When our customers tell us we helped them reduce the number of hours or even days involved in generating reports and facilitating compliance tasks, then that is a genuine value add as a direct result of our security systems.”
“When we first launched back in 2010,” states Dzienciol, “nobody really thought about security as a differentiator. I don’t think people thought about it as a way to drive greater customer experiences either. As we run a 24/7, 365 business across nine sites, as we scale up or scale out, we’ve started to realise more and more that through partnering with Genetec to utilise next generation, world-class security, we can actually continue to innovate and continue to find ways to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace by not just having a box called security and ticking the box. We’re trying to use it as a value add, but also combine it with other business processes. So, for us, looking at the way we do request and ticket management, and how we think about if there’s access control requirements that might also bleed into parking requirements and delivery requirements, those are the things that make the customer experience all it can and should be.
For us, our partnership with Genetec is about finding ways to improve customer experience, enhance the value of our business and better understand how we can capture more of the value we create through the data our system provide.”