JSE-listed Metrofile Group, a leading document and electronic information management specialist in Africa and the Middle East, has deepened its suite of digital services – backup, disaster recovery, cybersecurity and specialised virtual private server (VPS) hosting – through its acquisition of IronTree.
While paper-based document management remains a central pillar of securing content, the pandemic has meant that more documents are now originated, signed digitally, and then stored, indexed, and archived in cyberspace. A recent World Economic Forum report proposed the opportunities from the digital transformation of industries could be in the region of $100 trillion over the next decade. As an example, this rapid increase of data also generates a knock-on demand into safe document storage and retrieval, and compliance with security and privacy regulations.
Pfungwa Serima, CEO of Metrofile Group, explains, “We are bolstering our current Digital Services offering due to the seismic shift we have seen within the last year and a half, and Metrofile’s commitment to remain one step ahead in the coming years. More businesses are creating more digital data than ever before, in multiple formats and through a vast landscape of online channels. With this comes a responsibility to deliver the highest quality of security to protect this electronic information and manage the associated risks. Businesses need the most advanced and safest solution. There is no alternative.”
David Lees, founder of IronTree, adds, “There’s a huge responsibility on any business operating digitally to protect personal information, documents and data from a regulatory perspective. For a respected brand like Metrofile, we are a perfect fit, with a 14-year track record to complement their current digital services. To ensure business continuity and compliance, there is a lot to consider across hosting, backup and disaster recovery, cybercrime, and ransomware prevention, and of course, a company’s level of compliance with POPIA. In addition, with so much important electronic information on peripheral smart devices that need to be adequately protected, many companies don’t realise the extent of their risk.”
The risk landscape
Last year alone it was estimated that there were nearly 500 million attempted ransomware attacks in the first nine months to September 2021, and most companies fail to understand the difference in different types of threats – antivirus versus ransomware, is just one example. “Our cybersecurity suite, SecureIT, will comprehensively prevent and protect against cybercrime. In addition, we can provide business continuity, which is a necessity, in a similar way a company pays for insurance to protect them from losses,” says Lees.
Track, trace, recover
Metrofile’s technology can rapidly scan via optical character recognition (OCR) and convert paper-based files into digital data, which can be stored and classified using automation, making the data easy to access and retrieve.
“We have an extensive base of clients who do not only need document storage, but they are also looking for a trusted partner that can deliver the most intelligent approach to protect data in an efficient, cost-effective and compliant way. This latest acquisition is a continuation of how we have chosen to invest into solutions that support customers in adhering to legislative regulations. With IronTree, we are adding best-in-class-expertise to give our clients certainty and continuity for all digital eventualities,” adds Serima.
Metrofile currently covers 117 411 m2 warehouse space in 68 facilities at 36 locations across Africa and the Middle East. “With this geographic footprint, and trusted by so many companies, we see it as a strategic advancement in Metrofile’s DNA, a natural progression to remain top of mind and relevant in the changing world of data and information management and protection,” says Lees.
“Privacy and data security are the relevant issues of today and companies can remain highly resilient by applying stringent preventative measures and adequate controls. One catastrophe such as a data breach or loss of information can place a brand in crisis and have a direct commercial impact. This can be avoided with the right technology solution,” concludes Serima.