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A Secure Network: MTIL migrates to an advanced telecom set-up

February 28, 2013
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Founded in 1992, Micro Technologies India Limited (MTIL) develops and markets security software and messaging solutions. The company’s products include vehicle and bike security systems; fleet monitoring systems; access control platforms; intelligent black box; intelligent surveillance; and disaster management as well as video door phone systems. It also provides solutions like Wi-Fi security, lost notebook tracking, messaging platforms, cyber activity remote monitoring, mobile controller, and lost mobile tracking systems.

MTIL’s client base includes Reliance Energy, ICICI Bank, the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited, TVS Motor Company and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited. The company markets its products through its subsidiary, Micro Retail Limited, which has over 100 Micro Shoppes spread across India. MTIL has a presence in over 30 countries.

Since its inception, MTIL has undergone three phases of technology upgradation. However, given its objectives of keeping abreast with the latest in technology, enhancing productivity and improving network connectivity, the company considered a fourth phase of upgradation necessary.

A look at MTIL’s telecom system changes and its technology road map…

Legacy system

According to R. Karthikeyan, chief operating officer, MTIL’s technology path can be divided into four phases – from 1992 to 2000, from 2000 to 2007, from 2007 to 2011 and from 2011 onwards.

In the first phase, the company used a very basic communications infrastructure, which comprised computers running on the X86 system and FoxPro platform as well as basic phone lines and fax machines. In the second phase, it began deploying Pentium-based processors, the Windows platform and machines with dual processors. An analog-based infrastructure was used for communication with branch offices.

“As competition increased, customers became more demanding and technology more complicated. As a product development company, it is vital for us to offer the very best in technology to our clients, who require information at the click of a button,” says Karthikeyan.

The shift

Today, the company has a multi-tiered set-up in place. Its backbone comprises a network sourced from Cisco. MTIL uses a dual-technology network for inter- and intra-office connectivity. To connect to its development centre in Pune, and for connectivity between the head office and branch offices, the company uses a VPN-based set-up. For communication within its branch offices, and media and marketing offices, it uses leased lines. The leased line network has a speed of about 10 Mbps and has a user configuration of 1:1. MTIL also uses a Wi-Fi set-up to connect to the internet.

Branch office connectivity takes place via VoIP while the internet is used for communication with the overseas offices. For security, the company uses firewalls that have multiple layers of user authentication. An information security management system, developed by the company, helps deal with any potential threat, whether internal or external.

In addition, MTIL has developed an internal access system to protect its communications network. In case an unauthorised user attempts to gain access to the system, the concerned official will receive a text message alerting him to the threat. Thereafter, the concerned official has to send another SMS to the system, which would then block the user’s attempts.

According to Karthikeyan, the company also uses various IT applications like enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) tools, both of which have been developed in-house. While CRM is already being used extensively, the company is still in the process of implementing ERP, which will be completed over the next three months.

MTIL also has a data centre in place, which consists of over 50 high-end servers, routers and switches. The main functions of the data centre include ensuring storage and server backup, supporting various enterprise management solutions, and ensuring adequate networking facilities and network security.

For redundancy, the company has two backup systems; in case one system fails, the other takes over immediately. Notably, it also has a solar power-based redundancy system. Further, the company uses a parallel MPLS network along with its VPN set-up as the latter sometimes provides patchy connectivity, leading to network downtime.

Challenges and benefits

Karthikeyan says that MTIL did not face any major issues while migrating to the new set-up. In terms of benefits, the network upgrade ensures business continuity and seamless connectivity, and is in line with the company’s business requirements.

Going forward, MTIL is considering deploying an internal VPN network, given its reliability and flexibility. Implementing an optical mesh network is another area of interest as the company feels that it would help reduce downtime and enhance network speed.

In all, by scaling up its IT and telecom infrastructure, the IT major has reduced its communication costs as well as enhanced overall productivity and efficiency.

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