Challenges

  • Secure, Hosted Email
  • Localization
  • Threat Management
  • Domain Protection
  • Geographic Barriers

Solution

Protected Trust provided a hosted email Exchange platform from the continental U.S. via a military-secured international broadband connection to the Central Bank of Iraq and all 39 of its Ministries.

Protected Trust: Providing Secure Communication for The International Financial Community

Organization: Central Bank of Iraq
Industry: Financial
Location: Baghdad, Iraq - Branches in Basrah, Mosul, Sulaimaniyah, Erbil

The Central Bank of Iraq was established as Iraq’s independent central bank by the Central Bank of Iraq Law of March 6, 2004. The bank is in charge of:

• Maintaining price stability
• Implementing monetary policy (including exchange rate policies)
• Managing foreign reserves
• Issuing and managing the currency
• Regulating the banking sector for promoting a competitive and stable financial system

The Challenge

Protected Trust provided a hosted email Exchange platform from the continental U.S. via a military-secured international broadband connection to the Central Bank of Iraq and all 39 of its Ministries.

Secure Communication

Today, Microsoft® Exchange Server is the most widely used business-messaging platform around, but in 2003 there were very few hosting providers. Microsoft® Exchange is set up as a service, rather than as a software/hardware package that a business purchases. With the hosted Exchange service, customers’ email, tasks, calendars, contacts and files are centrally stored at the hosting providers’ data center and can be accessed using Microsoft Outlook® from a users’ desktop, via a web browser on any internet-enabled computer in any location, or on a hand-held device like a tablet or smartphone.

The Central Bank of Iraq and the defense contractors working with bank officials needed a method for basic communication.

“About 95% of all communications that are done inside an organization are done through email,” according to Ingram Leedy, the founder and managing partner of Protected Trust.

Ideally, the Iraq partners needed a secure email platform hosted somewhere other than the war- torn buildings of Iraq in 2003. Working through the U.S. Department of Defense, the contractors were able to identify Protected Trust as a viable security communications partner.

Protected trust was hired to establish a secure, hosted email platform using Microsoft® Exchange. One of the first challenges officials had was working together with English and Arabic partners.

Localization

Protected trust hired a translation service that was able to help with the conversion of languages between the two continents. For security reasons, as well as to minimize threats and disruption, the clients and processes were kept confidential.

Protected trust also acquired localization licenses in Arabic for the Iraq desktop computers and networked servers. Using a secure connection routed through the U.S. into Baghdad meant that some of the equipment used would be running English as the primary language and many on the end-user side would be running Arabic.

Threat Management

Protected trust faced the unusual challenge of not only mitigating the common digital hackers and malicious software that plague the internet, but also faced threats from political and regional entities that didn’t want to see the new government of Iraq succeed.

To combat the known entities Protected trust focused on installing industry standard anti-spam, anti-virus, and other common malware precautions. They provided support and monitoring to avoid denial-of-service attacks and other exploitative threats.

To prevent the more global threats they worked with the defense contractors, U.S. Department of Defense, and other partners to ensure stable broadband and infrastructure for the hosted email platform. They also invested in secure physical facilities residing on U.S. soil, and in redundant practices to ensure up-time of services.

Geographic Barriers

Local travel during the start up was very restrictive. Military escorts and details were required. Protected trust worked closely with the defense contractors already stationed in Iraq to manage the local assets and setup equipment. The hosted Exchange services were located in a secure facility in Winter Haven, Florida.

Conclusion

“The way EO really got started is when I was contacted by the Department of Defense...right before the second Gulf War invasion of Iraq they asked us to start up the provisional government of Iraq,” said Leedy. And within days of starting the project the hosted Exchange email platform was operational.

Protected trust originally contracted with the Department of Defense and its contractors, but in 2005 switched to the provisional government in order to service all 39 Iraqi Ministries. In fact, the first check issued from the Central Bank of Iraq was to Protected trust.

Despite all the threats and challenges Protected trust has consistently delivered 100% up-time for the hosted email throughout the Iraqi Ministries. Protected trust continues to maintain and support the infrastructure for the hosted Exchange platform from half way around the world, providing a global solution despite significant challenges.