Q9 Networks

Published January 16, 2017

Dual-Site Data Centre Strategy Helps Deliver Reliable Services and Win New Customers

Article, Colocation

Toronto-based Kanetix® is a leader in the online insurance services industry.  In business since 1999, Kanetix has grown to comprise three major business lines, the most visible of which is Kanetix Marketplace. Visitors to www.Kanetix.ca can quickly and easily obtain and compare quotes for insurance, mortgages and credit card rates from many of Canada’s most trusted providers, including the likes of Allstate, the CAA, BMO Insurance, Aviva, Belairdirect, Blue Cross, Canada Life, The Cooperators and numerous others. Users can select the insurance policy of their choice, for example, and complete an application online.

Kanetix SaaS, which the firm also refers to as its ‘white label’ business, is the leading provider of Web-based quoting solutions to Canada’s largest and most respected insurance companies. The firm works with direct writers, broker-based carriers and brokers to develop and host consumer-facing solutions as well as internal products for underwriters, actuaries and agents.

KTX Insurance Brokers, the company’s third line of business, is a full service brokerage covering both individual and commercial insurance needs, including coverage for home, auto, motorcycles, RVs and classic cars, as well as commercial property and liability insurance.

Challenge
With some of the country’s largest financial institutions coming on board as customers and partners, Kanetix needs to demonstrate that the IT infrastructure supporting its critical business systems and customer data is reliable and meets security-related audit requirements.

Solution
A co-location agreement with Q9 for provision of space, power, network bandwidth and 7×24 monitoring at two Q9 facilities gave Kanetix a robust, dual-site data centre solution that ensures continuous, reliable IT operations and passes customer audits with flying colours.

Result
A hardened production environment for administrative and customer-facing systems gives internal and external clients secure, reliable access to applications, data and key business processes, and also makes it easier for Kanetix to onboard new partners with even the most stringent audit requirements.

Audit Issue Drives Search for Robust Co-lo Solution
With many of the country’s largest banks and insurance companies as its customers, Kanetix is continually subjected to various audits. As the result of one such audit, one of Kanetix’s first SaaS customers – a major Canadian bank – was uncomfortable with the data centre services provider where Kanetix had initially co-located the IT hardware and software infrastructure for its SaaS-based quoting application. The service provider’s physical data centre had not completed a SSAE 16 audit.

SSAE 16 (Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagement No. 16) is an internationally recognized auditing standard used to report on the “processing of transactions by service organizations” and is typically used by auditors when evaluating a user organization’s (i.e. Kanetix’s) “information system” that has been outsourced to a third-party services organization – the Kanetix data centre co-location services partner, in this case. The “Type II” audit not only refers to “reporting on controls placed in operation”, but also includes “tests of operating effectiveness”. As Kanetix was pitching for clients, they found they were continually running into this audit issue. As a result, the company decided to conduct a search for a more robust data centre service provider solution.