2018 In Review

2018 has been an interesting year at Layer3.

We’ve kept our head down as we’ve been flat out implementing new services and on-boarding new customers.

Layer3 has gone through a bit of a transformation this year. A large chunk of our time has been spent on revamping our service offering, but also investing a large amount of time implementing new security practices and systems throughout our organisation, as well as our customers.

One customer we proposed to this year had very staunch requirements and required our full suite of IT management, network and New Zealand-based private cloud services. Part of the process led us to undergo comprehensive internal and external penetration testing by KPMG. Of course, we passed these tests and the organisation is now happily under Layer3 management.

The customer required strict security measures to be in place, such as perimeter threat gateways in all locations, deep packet inspection, two-factor authentication on all services, secure VPN connectivity from our datacenters and their offices to banks and telcos around New Zealand. This was a major project for Layer3 which went very smoothly.

A Heavy Focus on Security

2018 has been a year of very real security threats. Early on, Petra was wreaking havoc around the world. Facebook/Google had data leaks and privacy issues with public confidence in Facebook severely shaken and Google+ even shutting down in response. The threat of cryptoviruses hung in the air and phishing attacks were at an all-time high.

In turn, Layer3 expanded and strengthened our suite of security services. We’ve been running phishing workshops for our customers all year round, as well as running automated security/phishing tests for our customers as the attacks are becoming more sophisticated with a focus on the end user rather than trying to break through firewalls.

We’ve also redesigned our service plans from the ground up with security being at the core of our offering. The days of antivirus and a firewall being enough are over. We now take a three-dimensional approach to IT security – border security, user security and environmental security. Our new ManageX plans cover all of this, catering to organizations of any size and delivering a feature-rich programme to keep businesses safe from the ever-growing threat landscape, both external and internal.

Expanding Datacenter Services

During this time, we’ve also completed major upgrades at our datacenters. Our Auckland site’s capacity has doubled in size. In January 2019, our new backup-only services with more than 100TB of storage each will go online. This brings our total storage across all datacenters to more than 400TB which is considerable. To put that in perspective, that’s enough storage to store over 51,000 HD movies.

Over the Christmas break, we will be upgrading our Wellington datacenter, with triple gigabit premium connections to provide better speed, connectivity and stability to our customers.

Auckland Expansion

While we are based in the greater Wellington area, Layer3 actually supports customers around the country. We were pleased to welcome Nelson Airport this year to our custom CloudX platform.

A major area of growth though has been in Auckland. As a result, we decided it was time to put some feet on the ground there and you can expect our new Mt. Wellington office to be operation by mid-2019!

IT Nation

In November, I attended IT Nation in Orlando, Florida. This massive conference is the largest IT event in the world, stretched across three action packed days, with over 3,500 people in attendance from around the world. It felt like a huge workshop with lots of information about up-and-coming trends in the IT space. One of the big takeaways was security. Surprisingly, very few of the companies attending had a full set of security services. I was happy to be able to stand and say that Layer3 did and has done for the past two years.

The main theme of IT Nation this year was ‘everything as a service’. You can already see this happening, even outside of IT. The most recent example was Lime Scooters coming to the Hutt Valley last week. Ride sharing as a service will be a big thing over the next couple of years. While I was in America, I used Uber Express POOL everywhere. This is a ride sharing service with other people being picked up and dropped off at the same time. You get a cheap ride which takes slightly longer than a normal Uber ride. I can really see this taking off and replacing some forms of public transport.

Lime recently launched LimePods in Seattle, a new ‘as needed’ shared rental car service. Once autonomous vehicles become the norm, I see this as the future where owning a car won’t be necessary for many people – but that’s another story!

To bring this back to the IT space, ‘everything as a service’ is exactly what we have been developing and soft launching at Layer3 this year with our new ITX family of services. Covering management, cloud, security, network, voice and connectivity our new generation of service plans provide and manage your entire IT environment as a monthly service. From bandwidth to boardroom, everything is managed and monitored. It was wonderful to see all of the work reaffirmed at IT Nation and to know that we are well ahead of the curve, not just in New Zealand, but worldwide.

To the Future – 2019

Looking forward to 2019, there’s a lot happening. Cloud services are changing, providing more opportunities to enhance productivity but also new challenges to keep your systems and data secure. The options for businesses are now virtually endless.

However, it’s about making the right choice in the ever-growing sea of services and Layer3 will be ready to help each of our clients chart a path towards their individual goals.

Have a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.

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