Security Overview

Introduction

Apply4 Technology Ltd is a software as a service (SaaS) provider for authorities to manage application processes. Our portfolio includes FilmApp, EventApp, and WorksApp, all offering integrated solutions allowing applications to be made online simply and inexpensively. Our systems are currently used by around forty authorities in the UK, twelve authorities in the USA, and many private companies and agencies.

We understand the importance to our clients of being able to trust our system as being reliable and secure. To ensure we are able to meet the high standards expected we have taken the steps that we believe have created a robust, resilient, and dependable system. This document outlines the key parts of our system. Where questions arise about our approach we are always happy to provide answers.

We are continually working to improve our systems and infrastructure to further increase security, resilience, and performance for our clients, so the details below are a snapshot of how things are currently.

Hosting Environment

Apply4 Technology’s products are hosted on servers managed by our hosting partner, EveryCity Limited, as described by them below:

Hardware: We’re using Supermicro SuperServers, which have redundant PSUs into separate PDUs that are in turn routed through separate UPS systems to diesel generators. All servers are configured with RAID (ZFS RAID at the Hypervisor layer). 4 x 10Gbps network connections are used, 2 for administration traffic, and 2 for customer traffic. These are bonded together via 802.3ad Link Aggregation into redundant pairs and are connected into separate switch fabrics to diverse routers for full network redundancy.

Power: The data center has dual diverse 250kW A+B grid-fed power systems, N+1 Sisu 220kVa diesel generators, and N+N APC UPS systems. All our racks have dual power distribution units (PDUs). Every server has a connection from the A feed and the B feed.

Routers: Our core network is located in Telehouse East, and comprises a redundant pair of Juniper QFX series routers. We utilize Telia as our primary transit, and Netwise provides a blended mix for secondary transit, both at 10Gbps.

Connectivity: We have a pair of diverse, dual-entry 10Gbps fiber links from our routers in Telehouse to Netwise, plus a pair of diverse, dual-entry 10Gbps fiber links from our routers in Telehouse to Cyxtera in Slough, for offsite backups.

Switches: We operate Juniper QFX series switches in a virtual chassis environment, with 802.3ad NIC teaming for redundancy, at all locations.

Climate: N+2 CREC EcoCooling units, plus a N+1 Denco CRAC system. ASHRAE 9.9 compliant, 1.12 PUE. SLAs are in place for temperature and humidity. Redundant Crouzet HVAC control systems. Air handling via fully enclosed cold aisle containment systems plus Ziehl Abegg EC high efficiency supply and exhaust fans.

Core Network Facility: Telehouse East, Coriander Ave, Poplar, London, E14 2AA, United Kingdom

Primary Datacenter Facility (where server is hosted): Netwise, 24 Old Jamaica Road, London, SE16 4AW, United Kingdom

Offsite Backups (where backup data is stored): Cyxtera, 630 Ajax Avenue, Slough, SL1 4DG, United Kingdom

Resilience: The servers are monitored twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and alarms are in place to protect critical systems following best practice set by the ITILv3 framework. These include both internal checks and external checks performed from a separate network as part of a Nagios monitoring system. Alerts from these checks are sent to the EveryCity Network Operations Centre and can be configured to be sent to third parties on request. Performance statistics are produced as part of the monitoring process including core server vitals such as CPU, memory, and disk space. These are available in graph form.

Security patches are applied weekly.

Emergency resilience support is provided all day, three hundred and sixty five days a year.

Data Security, Backup, and Compliance

Data Security

All information on the move between users’ browsers and our systems is protected from eavesdroppers with 256-bit SSL encryption. The lock icon in your browser lets you verify that you aren’t talking to a phishing site impersonating our applications and that your data is secure in transit.

To ensure data at rest contained on the server is protected, we operate well-defined containers within a dedicated virtual server in a cloud environment. Only Apply4 Technology client data is stored within this virtual server.

Your data is stored alongside other Apply4 Technology client data within this server. The data is prevented from mixing with other client information by unique application codes. Data is always stored on the file system and in our database using a unique client ID and is strong password protected. When you log in, this ID is used to determine what information is displayed. Our application code ensures you can never access other client data, and other clients cannot access your data. We also use permission levels and sharing rules to separate information within each client data set.

While we hold all data during the life of a contract, you retain ownership of your data. Our Master Service Agreement with each authority outlines this in full. The Master Service Agreement also sets out that clients would be notified via email as soon as possible following any breach of their data.

Data Backup

We have a daily incremental backup procedure with data retained for a fourteen-day period. Each hour a ZFS snapshot is taken of the physical hosts, which are kept for twenty-four hours before being securely deposited. A further snapshot is taken daily of the server locally and then sent over an encrypted dedicated leased line to our offsite backup facility to a Hard Disk-based backup storage array. These backups are kept for 14 days.

Backups are fully integrated into EveryCity’s Hypervisor, so there is little room for operator error. When a new VM is provisioned, its file system is automatically snapshotted as the backup script snapshots all file systems on the server. We can roll back a SmartOS Zone or Windows/Linux VM to a snapshot held locally on a physical host within seconds so long as the data is still held. To restore from further back, we would need to transfer the backup from the offsite location which might take longer.

Log files of backup jobs are kept on the server for 30 days. Backups are performed to disk and their success status is monitored. Failed disks are kept on-site until they can be securely destroyed by a certified data destruction company. Removal of any media that has not been securely erased is expressly forbidden by EveryCity’s Information Security Policy.

Compliance

We run weekly PCI security scans against our system and actively monitor the 3rd party components of our application for any known vulnerabilities, upgrading them as needed.

Policies

Contractual Privacy Protection for Customers

Apply4’s employment contracts include confidentiality provisions that prohibit us from disclosing customer confidential information, including customer and end-user data, except under certain narrowly defined circumstances, such as when required by law.

Apply4 Technology employees agree not to access customers’ accounts, including customer data, except to maintain the service, prevent or respond to technical or service problems, at a customer’s request in connection with a customer support issue, or where required by law.

Code of Conduct, Confidentiality Agreements, and Information Security Policies

Every Apply4 Technology employee and contractor must follow Apply4’s code of conduct, sign confidentiality agreements, and follow Apply4’s security policies.

Conclusion

We understand that having confidence that secure and resilient systems are in place is vital for our partners. Our goal is to ensure that Apply4 Technology’s application management systems are able to fully meet your needs.

If you have any additional questions, please contact us at support@apply4.com.