Secure IT behind Integreon
Integreon has robust and secure infotech in place to provide
value-added KPO and legal process outsourcing services. Prashant Chawla,
COO and CFO of the company, allowed Kumar Dawada a look behind the scenes
|Knowledge is of two kinds: we know a subject
ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.
Integreon provides complex or judgement-based BPO solutions,
also known as KPO (knowledge process outsourcing). Its business objective is
to be the best in the area of providing knowledge services; document, content
and graphic services; business administration services; and discovery support
services. Our goal is to serve the professional services market, specifically
in the area of high-end complex services, states Prashant Chawla, COO
and CFO of the company.
When Integreon commenced its KPO activities in 2000, the concept was new and
it faced major challenges on two fronts.
The first was on the IT infrastructure front. Bandwidth was expensive and it
took too long to download even small files. The network system was not reliable.
Latency was not optimal as compared to US requirements. There was not much redundancy
and the organisation depended heavily on the primary and secondary link.
The other challenge was manpower. Everything had to be done from scratch, from
devising the training programme to the delivery method to employee assessment.
Focus On Security
Since 2000, Integreon has provided
dedicated secure hubs. The organisation has a strong security policy backed
by the BS7799 information security management certification
Our customers include some of the worlds largest financial services
institutions, law firms, consultancies, publishing and media companies, and
Global 1000 corporations. The nature of work outsourced is such that a certain
amount of confidentiality and security is a must, informs Chawla.
Since 2000, Integreon has provided dedicated secure hubs. It made a security
policy which banned the use of cell phones at the hubs. Cameras were installed.
CD-ROM and floppy drives were disabled. Papers printed in the hub were shredded
within 24 hours. Biometric devices were installed. Adds Chawla, From day
one Integreon focussed on secure access control. We have dedicated separate
networks for the customers.
Integreon is BS7799 information security management certified. Since April 2005
it also has ISO 9001:2000 certification for quality management. The BS7799 certification
ensures that the physical and procedural security processes are adequate; these
include restricted access to premises and networks, data encryption, storage
and retention practices, log-in and access control policies, firewall monitoring,
virus protection systems, redundant infrastructure, and business continuity
How Integreon Works
Integreon aggregates and structures financial, industry and
company-specific information into knowledge for financial institutions. This
information is interpreted and used by professionals in the investment banking
and investment management world in North America and Europe.
The financial information comes from various structured, semi-structured and
unstructured databases including the Internet. Integreon has specialised in
more than 40 databases prominently used in Asia-Pacific, North America and Western
Europe by investment banking, equity and debt, and capital market professionals.
It subscribes to various databases and mines the same for in-depth information
which it further analyses, and then presents the final output to its customers
in an agreed-upon format.
For instance, the customers send documents through a secure document transfer
system like ShareDoc or by other means that ensure secure file transfer. The
documents then become a part of Integreons proprietory DMS (Document Management
Software). The DMS allows Integreon to keep track of the completed jobs, allocated
jobs, and stages completed. It also keeps track of customer responses and deadlines.
Once the job is completed the document goes back though a secure file transfer
system or secure FTP server to the customer site. The final information goes
back into the customers own DMS.
Chawla explains what they do. Integreon mines the customers data
so that they dont have to spend their time writing complex queries and
reviewing and analysing data before selecting the relevant information. We do
all that for them and provide preliminary rule-based analysis. This saves
precious time for customers such as investment bankers, equity and debt researchers,
and mutual and hedge fund managers. Our customers analyse the data that
we provide them to make their decisions after further analysis, he adds.
- Knowledge services: research, analytics,
library, litigation support
- Document services: presentation graphics,
legal word processing
- Content services: conversion, XBRL, EDGAR,
- Advanced graphics and media services:
e-learning, Web site development, application development
- Customers: Integreon serves six of the
10 largest global investment banks, one of the five largest global law
firms, two of the five largest global management consulting companies,
and four of the ten largest global media and publishing companies. Integreons
electronic document discovery segment is estimated at almost $1.5 billion
- Acquisitions: In April 2003, Integreon
acquired Contentscape, a company specialising in Web content design
and development. In July 2005 it acquired Brahmy Solutions, a Britain-based,
high-end analytics company. It also acquired a part of the legal processing
business of BPO major Bowne, a New York-based company providing financial
publishing. Integreon is looking for a stake in the $61m LPO (Legal
Process Outsourcing) market in India. India is a preferred destination
for LPO because of the huge difference in the wage rates here and those
prevalent in the US and Britain
Integreons infrastructure is built using VPN-bundled routers with high-level
encryption and hand shaking, layer 3 switches with features like load-balancing
and hot standby routing protocol, and firewalls bundled with DMZ ports.
The communications architecture is based on VLAN and VPN with VoIP. The links
to the US and Britain are implemented in such a way that they use all the possible
access media, locally as well as internationally. The links are on fibre, copper
and RF for local access, and on SEA-ME-WE 2 and 3 as well as i2i for international
The network is monitored on a 24x7 basis and logs generated are reviewed on
a daily basis. The company has a full-fledged operational BCP/DRP which is checked
every month. The tangible benefits are measured in terms of download time and
efficiency of the services. The Citrix environment that it uses provides better
security, control and is process-oriented. State-of-the-art network monitoring,
both LAN- and WAN-based, is under implementation at Integreons new 600-seater
facility at Powai in Mumbai.
In the near future, Integreon wants to consolidate its expertise
in the areas of KPO and LPO, and tap the sectors and customers to a greater
extent. It also wants to explore new openings in other relevant areas of operations.
The beauty of our business is that we are not required to store data.
The content resides in the clients system. A secure environment ensures
that we are working on our customers data that may be present anywhere
in the world, concludes Chawla.