On Thursday, HP announced its first Canadian-based Security Operations Centre (SOC), which is located in Mississauga. Having a Canadian-based facility from which HP can deliver its managed security services should be a considerable boon to the company, which acknowledged that it was losing some business to other providers who may have not had the same range of services, but who were able to offer Canadian delivery.
HP now has 10 SOCs globally, in three geographical regions. Their central hub in the Americas is in Plano TX, with supplementary regional centres whose purpose is to deliver to a targeted region or market, or deliver a subset of services. A SOC in Costa Rica fulfills the latter function. Another in Virginia is targeted at the US federal government market. The Canadian one is directed at Canadian customers, who either for regulatory reasons or personal preference want their data stored and processed within Canada.
“There’s a significant market either because of preference or regulatory reasons for Canadian delivery,” said Stewart Cawthray, Regional Security Operations Centre Leader at HP Canada. “We were finding that many RFPs for security services were asking where our storage and delivery were based. We were losing business to competitors with a SOC here – even if they were smaller with fewer services – which was a reason HP authorized this one. That perception of local delivery is critical.”
The centre is designed to meet federal government security requirements, and its employees have government security clearances. It will be staffed 24/7, 365 days a year by dedicated security teams who understand the local regulatory requirements.
Cawthray said that the regulatory issue is a direct concern with parts of the Canadian federal government, but this indirectly bleeds down to some other levels of government and commercial customers.
“The federal government does have special policy requirements that restrict data of a certain type from being stored and processed outside Canada, and some provincial and municipal governments follow their lead, even though they don’t have formal policies of their own to this effect,” Cawthray said.
‘Our biggest benefit from this will be the Canadian public sector, who were often the hardest challenge for us because of the lack of local delivery,” Cawthray continued. “We have eliminated that objection. It will also help us among elements of the commercial sector where THEIR primary customers were the public sector.”
Cawthray indicated that while most customers are not directly compelled by regulations to require Canadian delivery, there is still a strong bias toward this.
“It’s a clear preference,” he said. “They are afraid of things like the U.S. Patriot Act. Canadian laws affecting most companies specify the mandated level of security and control, not the location of the data. There is still that perception though that Canadian delivery is better.”
In terms of efficiency alone, Canadian customers won’t see any difference with the service coming from Canada instead of Texas.
“All our SOCs work on a 24/7 basis, and we use the same processes and the same technologies, so the efficiencies are basically the same,” Cawthray said. “The main plus is the piece of mind that comes from knowing the delivery is in Canada.”
Unfortunately, the ability of HP’s Canadian channel partners to benefit from the new SOC will be limited.
“Some HP services work through the channel, but most of the SOC ones are direct,” Cawthray said. “The channel opportunities here will be more about partnering with HP, rather than white-labelling the services.”