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  1. Digital Marketplace
  2. Lot 1: Cloud hosting
  3. Akhter Cloud Hosting
Akhter Computers PLC

Akhter Cloud Hosting

Akhter Cloud is for users who require a scalable flexible solution to their computing, data, network and platform service needs. It can provide a full range of options including enhanced support packages and security add-ons tailored to requirements.

Features

  • Reliable real-time data back-ups
  • Disaster recovery from secured off-site data back ups
  • Hosting with optional levels of management and support
  • Fully flexible data warehousing
  • Full suite of database services available to meet client needs
  • Database design, development and support
  • Network and Platform services tailored to user requirements
  • Infrastructure design and security aspects to defined user specification
  • Logging and analytical tools can be enabled for users

Benefits

  • Tailored services to meet user needs
  • Optional service levels to meet varied user requirements
  • Operated by security cleared staff
  • Use any suitable third party devices to use services
  • Access services remotely
  • Add additional services when required
  • Flexible support to meet user requirements
  • Quickly edit and publish messaging or content

Pricing

£100 to £2,000 a licence

  • Education pricing available

Service documents

Request an accessible format
If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need versions of these documents in a more accessible format, email the supplier at ccsales@akhter.co.uk. Tell them what format you need. It will help if you say what assistive technology you use.

Framework

G-Cloud 13

Service ID

2 3 8 7 6 0 8 9 9 5 2 5 9 5 5

Contact

Akhter Computers PLC Latifa Hamdan
Telephone: 01279 821200
Email: ccsales@akhter.co.uk

Service scope

Service constraints
N/A
System requirements
None - as tailored to user needs

User support

Email or online ticketing support
Yes, at extra cost
Support response times
Within the hour - and depending on services level if outside working hours Mon to Fri.
User can manage status and priority of support tickets
Yes
Online ticketing support accessibility
WCAG 2.1 AA or EN 301 549
Phone support
Yes
Phone support availability
24 hours, 7 days a week
Web chat support
Yes, at an extra cost
Web chat support availability
24 hours, 7 days a week
Web chat support accessibility standard
WCAG 2.1 AA or EN 301 549
Web chat accessibility testing
We have worked with those relying on Assistive Technology to use web-chat and this is standard for our services.
Onsite support
Yes, at extra cost
Support levels
Akhter operates an Integrated Management System (IMS) that encompasses ISO9000 for Quality Management, ISO14000 for Environmental Management, ISO20000 for Service management & ISO17000 for Information Security Management.

Akhter puts in place a virtual Service Level Agreement, with all its associated quality, environmental & security requirements for every buyer, the available services will be clearly communicated by the relevant account manager to the buyer(s). Akhter’s Sales or Technical Directors are empowered to make decisions on policy and are the senior path of escalation.

Akhter is able to provide real time support related to the Buyer’s historical purchasing, order tracking, current service and systems status.

We provide Technical account managers and Cloud Support Engineers depending on the service selected.

For the period of the relationship Akhter would be able to propose relevant updates to the service, systems, HW/SW and be able to offer savings based upon market fluctuations, special offers or consolidation.

The costs for each service depend on the service selected, the level of service needed, the duration of the service, the scale of the service and other factors that mean our tailored services require engagement before costs can be calculated.
Support available to third parties
Yes

Onboarding and offboarding

Getting started
All services are bespoke and tailored to our user requirements, all forms of training, documentation and support can be provided.
Service documentation
Yes
Documentation formats
  • HTML
  • ODF
  • PDF
End-of-contract data extraction
This is agreed prior to contract and usually depends upon what the user requirements are, it can be provided in many formats and via various routes depending for example on security needs, we can however provide advice if necessary on current good practice.
End-of-contract process
We aim to ensure buyers only pay for what they need so we provide a fully flexible service to enable us to meet even the most complex and high security needs of our clients. Any additional costs that could be liable would be notified prior to contract for agreement with buyers. We provide a transparent service that enables us to have long term relationships with all our customers.

Using the service

Web browser interface
Yes
Using the web interface
Web interfaces are tailored to the users requirements.
Changes can be made to most levels depending on the users requirements
The limitations are only as set by the user and legal requirements (e.g. data protection).
Web interface accessibility standard
WCAG 2.1 AA or EN 301 549
Web interface accessibility testing
This is service and user specific so if required by the users or buyer it will be carried out for the service selected.
API
No
Command line interface
No

Scaling

Scaling available
Yes
Scaling type
  • Automatic
  • Manual
Independence of resources
Akhter Cloud services are guaranteed through an agreed SLA and depending on the level selected can operate on systems that ensure optimal availability and can scale and prioritise usage of processors, bandwidth, network and core services.
Usage notifications
Yes
Usage reporting
  • Email
  • SMS
  • Other

Analytics

Infrastructure or application metrics
Yes
Metrics types
  • CPU
  • Disk
  • Memory
  • Network
Reporting types
  • Regular reports
  • Reports on request

Resellers

Supplier type
Reseller providing extra features and support
Organisation whose services are being resold
Akhter services enhanced with e.g.Microsoft-AWS-Dell with integration and support

Staff security

Staff security clearance
Conforms to BS7858:2019
Government security clearance
Up to Developed Vetting (DV)

Asset protection

Knowledge of data storage and processing locations
Yes
Data storage and processing locations
United Kingdom
User control over data storage and processing locations
Yes
Datacentre security standards
Complies with a recognised standard (for example CSA CCM version 3.0)
Penetration testing frequency
At least every 6 months
Penetration testing approach
‘IT Health Check’ performed by a CHECK service provider
Protecting data at rest
  • Physical access control, complying with CSA CCM v3.0
  • Physical access control, complying with SSAE-16 / ISAE 3402
  • Encryption of all physical media
Data sanitisation process
Yes
Data sanitisation type
  • Explicit overwriting of storage before reallocation
  • Deleted data can’t be directly accessed
  • Hardware containing data is completely destroyed
Equipment disposal approach
Complying with a recognised standard, for example CSA CCM v.30, CAS (Sanitisation) or ISO/IEC 27001

Backup and recovery

Backup and recovery
Yes
What’s backed up
  • Files
  • Virtual Machines
  • Databases
  • Any electronic system that is externally connected
  • Any electronic system that requires local back up
Backup controls
The back-up process is designed to meet user requirements and is fully configurable.
Datacentre setup
Multiple datacentres with disaster recovery
Scheduling backups
Users contact the support team to schedule backups
Backup recovery
  • Users can recover backups themselves, for example through a web interface
  • Users contact the support team

Data-in-transit protection

Data protection between buyer and supplier networks
  • Private network or public sector network
  • TLS (version 1.2 or above)
  • IPsec or TLS VPN gateway
  • Bonded fibre optic connections
Data protection within supplier network
  • TLS (version 1.2 or above)
  • IPsec or TLS VPN gateway

Availability and resilience

Guaranteed availability
Availability is provided as needed by buyers up to 99.999% but in some cases may be limited where a specific third party service is required by buyers or users.

Refunds are at a mutually agreed level and in line with the service level selected in the contract. The risk/reward/penalty balance has an associated cost that is clearly set out to the buyer during initial discussions.
Approach to resilience
We have various forms from Cyber to Power resilience. As publishing this information can highlight any residual unknown vulnerabilities we only provide this information to verified potential buyers.
Outage reporting
This depends on the reason for an outage, an initial (usually automated) email will be sent, followed up by immediate phone contact to the nominated user contact. If for example there is a Local, Regional or National Power Outage that has caused the Service outage due to network connectivity issues then addition methods may be employed at our discretion.

Should buyers require a specific tailored reporting method this can usually be arranged.

Identity and authentication

User authentication
  • 2-factor authentication
  • Public key authentication (including by TLS client certificate)
  • Identity federation with existing provider (for example Google apps)
  • Limited access network (for example PSN)
  • Dedicated link (for example VPN)
Access restrictions in management interfaces and support channels
A verification process is agreed with the buyer/user during the contracting process. This may be our standard verification process or one tailored to the buyers needs. Our ERP system enables our staff and system look-ups to verify identities and authority to engage with us on behalf of the buyer/user.
Access restriction testing frequency
At least every 6 months
Management access authentication
  • 2-factor authentication
  • Public key authentication (including by TLS client certificate)
  • Identity federation with existing provider (for example Google Apps)
  • Limited access network (for example PSN)
  • Dedicated link (for example VPN)
Devices users manage the service through
  • Dedicated device on a segregated network (providers own provision)
  • Dedicated device on a government network (for example PSN)
  • Dedicated device over multiple services or networks
  • Any device but through a bastion host (a bastion host is a server that provides access to a private network from an external network such as the internet)
  • Directly from any device which may also be used for normal business (for example web browsing or viewing external email)

Audit information for users

Access to user activity audit information
Users receive audit information on a regular basis
How long user audit data is stored for
User-defined
Access to supplier activity audit information
Users receive audit information on a regular basis
How long supplier audit data is stored for
User-defined
How long system logs are stored for
User-defined

Standards and certifications

ISO/IEC 27001 certification
Yes
Who accredited the ISO/IEC 27001
Bmtrada UKAS
ISO/IEC 27001 accreditation date
3 September 2012
What the ISO/IEC 27001 doesn’t cover
N/A
ISO 28000:2007 certification
No
CSA STAR certification
No
PCI certification
No
Cyber essentials
No
Cyber essentials plus
Yes
Other security certifications
Yes
Any other security certifications
X-List

Security governance

Named board-level person responsible for service security
Yes
Security governance certified
Yes
Security governance standards
ISO/IEC 27001
Information security policies and processes
As directed by our board, Akhter staff read and comply with policies and procedures such as JSP 604. We protect two main types of data, personal and business data. Our personal data protection policy is on our website (www.akhter.co.uk). Our buyer’s business data is protected in accordance with contract terms. Akhter policy protects business data through actively maintaining patching, up to date stable SW versions and complying asap with Pen Test advisory matters.

Our security risk management approach includes data exchange using FTPS and access to sensitive information and services only to identified, authenticated and authorised users or systems. We encrypt Buyer business and personal data at rest, in all mobile devices, laptops that are taken off-site and removable media. We have the capability to remotely wipe and/or revoke device access. We currently use TLSv1.2 for email, Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) enforcement, Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) and Sender Policy Framework (SPF) records, with spam and malware filtering. We use Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) vulnerabilities list, in addition are registered and use NCSC's Web Check service.

Akhter have a defined, planned and tested security incident response with clearly defined procedures, actions, roles and responsibilities.

Operational security

Configuration and change management standard
Conforms to a recognised standard, for example CSA CCM v3.0 or SSAE-16 / ISAE 3402
Configuration and change management approach
Akhter's policy provides minimum access to sensitive information or services necessary for roles and access is removed when individuals leave. We reduce vulnerability to common cyber-attacks, through tested and validated configuration & patching, or other mitigations (such as logical separation). Changes to implementations and configurations can only be made by strongly authenticated and authorised administrators. We restrict and use buyer IP ranges where required. Outsourced services record where security related responsibilities lie. Akhter can provide or adopt a buyer defined, planned and tested response to security incidents, robust communication/continuity plan, compliance with legal obligations with a proportionate & defence-in-depth approach
Vulnerability management type
Undisclosed
Vulnerability management approach
Akhter monitor bulletins & threat intelligence sources e.g. CISP, information notes, government policies, meet all relevant standing instructions & mandated technical standards.

We manage and mitigate applicable threats, protect against, detect and have plans for dealing with malicious behaviour, our critical technology and services are resilient to disruption,

We reduce vulnerability to common cyber-attacks, through tested and validated configuration & immediate patching on receipt or notification of updates, or other mitigations (such as logical separation). Changes to implementations & configurations can only be made by strongly authenticated & authorised administrators. We restrict & use buyer IP ranges where required.
Protective monitoring type
Undisclosed
Protective monitoring approach
Publishing our protective monitoring process in full could create a vulnerability in our business. At a high level we use a third party protective monitoring solution that actively monitors our systems and services for potential compromises. We have various levels of response depending on any potential compromise that includes the option of immediate full shut-down to enable forensic investigation of one or more systems or services.
Incident management type
Conforms to a recognised standard, for example, CSA CCM v3.0 or ISO/IEC 27035:2011 or SSAE-16 / ISAE 3402
Incident management approach
Akhter have a defined, planned & tested security incident response & management plan with clearly defined procedures, actions, roles & responsibilities for our senior board members as well as the management team, including a communication plan for each buyer notifying for example the buyers press office, or the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). We have a cascade call-out & clear escalation process & plans to minimise response, down & restore times. Lessons inform updates & changes, drawing on internal or external expert advice where necessary. Incidents immediately logged to Akhter’s ERP system, the unique reference number is provided to the buyer.

Secure development

Approach to secure software development best practice
Independent review of processes (for example CESG CPA Build Standard, ISO/IEC 27034, ISO/IEC 27001 or CSA CCM v3.0)

Separation between users

Virtualisation technology used to keep applications and users sharing the same infrastructure apart
No

Energy efficiency

Energy-efficient datacentres
Yes
Description of energy efficient datacentres
Akhter have adopted the sustainable technology strategy 2020’s mantra of suppliers needing to provide clean & green digital & technology services & practices. We are in touch with the UK government’s commitment to sustainability outcomes & how that links to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Carbon budgets. We can provide assurances on meeting Green ICT Delivery Unit (GDU) Technology Code of Practice principles & best practices for our buyers, Akhter consider and undertake:

The embodied environmental impact of installed devices;
Mechanical and electrical equipment environmental operating ranges;
Service Charging Models;
Life Cycle Assessments;
Environmental, Energy and Asset Management;
Sustainable energy usage;
Powering of devices via the IT cabling;
Impact of mobile / shifting workloads;
Energy supplies from alternative and sustainable energy sources;
Prevent the energy efficiency of the technical space being compromised by the need for human comfort other than to comply with local statutory requirement and law (Health and Safety etc.);
Proactively monitor air quality equipment for performance, energy efficiency and reliability;
All installed infrastructure and equipment to be maintained as originally designed and operated at optimum levels of efficiency;
Data Centre Manager / appointed Energy Manager has relevant and
appropriate training to fulfil an energy efficiency role.

Social Value

Fighting climate change

Fighting climate change

We recognise the urgent need to address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions because of the role they play in climate change, a real and rapidly growing threat to society and the planet. The impact of climate change is already widespread across both human populations and natural ecosystems. Addressing climate change, and the GHG emissions that contribute to it, requires urgent action and long-term commitments by every segment of society, including the business community. At Akhter we aim to:
· Achieve net GHG reductions through sustainable scientific and innovation practices through improved efficiencies, while also working with partners and developing solutions for low-carbon and circular economies.

· Engage with global suppliers as well as UK academia and stakeholders to encourage integration of our National climate and energy policies while still providing adequate flexibility to fit buyers circumstances.

· Maximize impact by addressing the largest GHG reduction opportunities first, using the most cost-effective alternatives.

· Where relevant and possible establish transparent and predictable economic incentives that facilitate the transition to a low-carbon alternatives.

· Acknowledge the role renewable and bio-based energy sources and materials can play in creating essential products and solutions while minimizing carbon emissions.

· Encourage the recovery, reuse and recycle of materials for reduced-emissions.

· Support both mitigation and adaptation strategies that include life-cycle considerations.

· Include transparent monitoring, reporting and verification systems (MRV).
Covid-19 recovery

Covid-19 recovery

Akhter's ongoing strategic resilience planning:
To meet the challenges posed by the pandemic, our and many other businesses around the world had to react in an agile and decisive way. We conducted an “after-action review” to collect data and insights on lessons learned from the pandemic, then used these to prioritise actions to enhance our business value and build additional strategic resilience for the future.

Our planning prepares us for the next inevitable disruption by having designated a crisis response team, designing a crisis response plan, aligned our strategy, goals and purpose, and building an integrated resilience program.
We had already broken down silos between resilience competencies and teams before the pandemic integrating them to coordinate the tactics, tools and technologies needed for an effective crisis response.
We have over time built organisational resilience by establishing high-level resilience governance, regularly revisiting and where needed rethinking our crisis management structure and response strategy, and importantly fostering a culture of resilience.
This pre-planning enabled us to continue to operate and have uninterrupted service to our clients throughout the pandemic as well as a having had major fire to one of our key sites during this period. We continue to be a highly resilient business that has been constantly evolving since its inception 40 years ago.
Tackling economic inequality

Tackling economic inequality

Social purpose is a key part of Akhter ethics. From creating new businesses and new employment opportunities, to improving local nursery care, education and training, Akhter is committed to tackling economic inequality at its roots within our diverse local community in which we play a very active part and providing opportunities for employment and advancement based on merit. Our overriding vision is to help lower the unequal distribution of income and opportunity between different groups in society, but doing so where we can impact most which is within our local community.
Equal opportunity

Equal opportunity

Akhter Computers is committed to encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion among our
workforce, and eliminating unlawful discrimination.
The aim is for our workforce to be truly representative of all sections of society and our
customers, and for each employee to feel respected and able to give their best.
The company, in providing goods and/or services and/or facilities, is also committed against
unlawful discrimination of customers or the public.
The policy’s purpose is to:
• provide equality, fairness and respect for all in our employment, whether temporary,
part-time or full-time
• not unlawfully discriminate because of the Equality Act 2010 protected characteristics
of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy
and maternity, race (including colour, nationality, and ethnic or national origin),
religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation
• oppose and avoid all forms of unlawful discrimination. This includes in pay and
benefits, terms and conditions of employment, dealing with grievances and discipline,
dismissal, redundancy, leave for parents, requests for flexible working, and selection
for employment, promotion, training or other developmental opportunities
Wellbeing

Wellbeing

Akhter take great pride in our workforce and actively support the health and wellbeing of our staff. We all spend a long time in front of screens and encourage staff to go outside and be active. Some examples of actions we have put in place to support the health and wellbeing of our workforce are below:

1. As part of the Akhter Wellbeing Initiative, we launched a Step Challenge, with the intention to get staff up from their desks and get moving.

2. We sent information to our staff with messaging developed by the Samaritans turning ‘Blue Monday’ on its head by encouraging employers to host a ‘Brew Monday’, on any chosen Monday.

3. We issue a survey for our staff to complete to help us build a picture of staff health and wellbeing.

4. Alcohol consumption has gone up in the UK so another message we circulated was starting 2022 with a one-month alcohol-free challenge.

5. Exercise is a key part of ensuring a positive overall health and wellbeing environment, we challenge Akhter staff to get out for a walk or other exercise during breaks.

6. Stopping smoking is an area we have worked on for a long time encouraging staff to quit.

7. We run various sessions in health and wellbeing for our staff often delivered over our IT such as a Mental health awareness webinar.

8. We provide for our staff an online ‘Wellbeing Toolkit’, featuring links to new and existing staff support and information on recognition and reward for line managers.

9. We provided Covid-19 updates via our coronavirus hub, including updated answers to Akhter specific questions and signposting to external sources.

10. We encourage everyone whether staff, suppliers and customers to ‘Stay connected’ through a dedicated Engagement and Wellbeing space on our intranet.

Pricing

Price
£100 to £2,000 a licence
Discount for educational organisations
Yes
Free trial available
No

Service documents

Request an accessible format
If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need versions of these documents in a more accessible format, email the supplier at ccsales@akhter.co.uk. Tell them what format you need. It will help if you say what assistive technology you use.