HOSTSEARCH: James - thanks for meeting us like this.
JAMES CARNIE: Anytime - it's a pleasure.
HOSTSEARCH: You have been in the news recently for catering for Beatbullying.org - a website designed to help children at risk from bullying. Can you tell us more about this initiative?
JAMES CARNIE: Bullying remains a huge problem in schools and is often difficult for teachers to pinpoint. We have been working alongside Birchfield, an educational software provider, to deliver the "Assesswise" tool that strengthens the link between pupil and teacher to uncover instances of bullying.
HOSTSEARCH: Can you talk us through the solution you provided for Beatbullying?
JAMES CARNIE: We're responsible for hosting and securing two websites designed specifically for teachers and pupils. This is a managed, secure online service, developed in accordance with the ISO 27001 Framework, the British standard for information security management systems.
Assesswise performs an online risk assessment of bullying by encouraging children to fill out an interactive survey. The information from this immediately flags up children who are being bullied or at risk of being bullied, so that teachers are able to take the appropriate action. The accessibility and coherence of the data means this technology has the potential to put a stop to bullying, sometimes even before it's taken place.
The system is purchased by schools on an annual license and is available to all children and teachers at participating schools.
The platform uses a mixture of physical and virtual server split across two sites with data replicated between the locations which are over 100 miles apart. Security is paramount with this platform so several security layers have been included to bolster the platform and minimise perceived risks.
The platform has a secure front end consisting of a diversely routed internet connection, attaching to a pair of resilient firewalls. Within these firewall sits an inline IPS module that actively screens all traffic entering the platform via the front end. This ensures all the data held on the servers is highly secure and completely protected.
This is reinforced by the Gigabit switching infrastructure which is secured by applying access list where appropriate, so traffic is only allowed to communicate between specified devices on specified ports. In short we have provided a solution that will guarantee the protection of data.
HOSTSEARCH: What particular challenges did eLINIA face in developing this solution? I imagine security was a key issue?
JAMES CARNIE: Absolutely - data security is always a top priority for our customers, and the Assesswise tool is no exception.
The system holds personal and often highly sensitive information relating to young pupils so lax security would be catastrophic.
For the tool to be a success, the children need to be completely certain that their personal information will not fall into the wrong hands. Without this confidence, it is unlikely that they will take full advantage of the technology, which would scupper the success of the tool.
HOSTSEARCH: How does eLINIA guarantee the security of a system like this? It's such a sensitive area that it is absolutely vital a failsafe system is established.
JAMES CARNIE: We work for some of the world's most security conscious organisations, including government bodies and financial sector businesses, so understand the importance of high security. All of our engineers and technicians are accredited at the highest security levels, including ISO9001, ISO27001.
On top of our standard security measures, we're also providing a multi-vendor firewall and intrusion prevention free of charge.
HOSTSEARCH: How important is it for companies such as eLINIA to get involved in these types of initiatives? Why is it important for eLINIA?
JAMES CARNIE: eLINIA have been working with Birchfield for a number of years. They write great educational software and we were very pleased when they approached to get involved in this project.
We've ensured that Assesswise is both highly accessible and completely secure to help to beat bullying in British schools - it feels good to know we'll be a part of this particular success story.
HOSTSEARCH: Aside from this, what's been going on in the eLINIA camp of late?
JAMES CARNIE: The last quarter of 2008 finished very strongly for eLINIA with some sizeable contract wins despite the turbulent economic climate. We again saw overall revenue for the year increase significantly from 2007.
HOSTSEARCH: And what can we expect from eLINIA in 2009?
JAMES CARNIE: 2009 looks to be a difficult year for most UK businesses, but we are confident we can buck the trend.
I expect continued growth for the business through the acquisition of major new customers and targeted strategic partnerships. I also predict a sharp increase in demand from new and existing customers in areas such as cloud computing alongside sustained growth in the demand for virtual based infrastructures.