Muscat, 6th February, 2020
Interview by: Ali Al Matani
Maqbool bin Salim al Wuhaibi, Chief Executive Officer of Oman Data Park, the first provider of local cloud services in the Sultanate, said that it was important to store data and information within the country so that they are under local regulations. It is safer for Omani companies. It also saves their money.
All critical national data is required to be stored within the borders of the Sultanate according to the regulatory authorities. This means that management and maintaining data confidentiality is the primary responsibility of the Omani data collector.
The actual importance of having data locally stored is that you have a guarantee that they are subject to local regulations. Therefore, storing data within the Sultanate is safer for Omani companies, also saves their money.
If the data is stored locally, the customers can get better quality services as they can access them from within the Sultanate and thus there is no latency. This and other such guarantees are not always available when data is stored outside the country, because it can be subject to different jurisdiction, he said.
According to Al Wuhaibi, ODP is first and largest data centre in the Sultanate, which has made the country a global player in data services. This became possible by its best technologies of cloud services. It has also helped in raising the standard of Duqm Economic Zone to emerge as technologically most advanced economic zone in the Sultanate. This is by establishing a level 3 data centre which provides all managed data centre services. The ODP is the only data centre, which has a round the clock centre for security operations and networks working seven days a week. In addition to this, it has a specialised centre for cyber security managed by highly qualified Omani employees, he said.
Al Wuhaibi further said: “We are also the first to introduce virtual data centre services in the Sultanate with our brand Nebula in 2019. We also provided the country world-famous Microsoft Azure Stack services which makes it possible to obtain world-class data centre solutions within the demographic boundaries Of the Sultanate. Before we started our services at ODP, the companies in the Sultanate had to manage their data requirements by themselves, which was costly. They have to bear the costs of hardware and software as well as those of maintaining specialised employees who needed constant training to keep up with changing technologies.”
By using the services of the ODP, companies can now save their huge costs. They can use our infrastructure and the vast experience we have accumulated over the last eight years and get benefit from it. Moreover, our services attracted regional and international clients. They preferred the Sultanate than other major players in the region. This is how the ODP helped the Sultanate get recognition of its role in the technology sector at the international and regional levels. We were awarded the Best Digital Data Centre in the Middle East at the Telecom World Awards Middle East 2019, as well as the Best Security Services Provider MSSP award for 2019.
International companies such as Google and Microsoft are all storing your data outside Oman. However, the centre provides similar international standard solutions to data, keeping it inside the Sultanate and protects them by providing high level cyber security services. It has services of the Security Operations Center (SOC) and network operations centre (NOC) which works round the clock and seven days a week, he said.
Since 2012, ODP has served more than 500 local and international institutions from the public and private sectors. Data is stored securely within Level 3 data centres in three data centres: Al Wattayah, Rusayl and Duqm. All these data centres are protected by using high-class cyber security as well as physical security backed by alternative energy sources so that organisations can access their data whenever they need it.
Al Wuhaibi said that the ODP team is comprised of 68 professionals. There is an Omanisation level of 75 per cent, which is much higher than the Ministry of Manpower’s recommended requirements of 35 per cent.
Regarding the centre’s aspirations, the CEO of Oman Data Park said the company’s aim is to make the Sultanate an international data hub. This is due to the Sultanate’s advanced infrastructure in marine cables, and Sultanate’s stablilty and security.
“We are actively seeking to achieve regional and international potentials. We have successfully implemented our solutions in some GCC countries. We look forward to build business relationships in Africa, Europe and the Far East. We want to provide them economical services as a highly secure data centre as an innovative solution, which a customer can use from the first day.
The vision of the ODP is to focus on diversification and constantly creating a competitive advantage for international players. The Oman Data Park is aimed at setting up innovation labs where the IT community can participate and use the opportunity to develop their work as well as improve customer and employee relations making them capable of meeting the requirements of Fourth Industrial Revolution.