Local data centres versus the Cloud

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By Christian Blais

It is hardly “breaking news” that organisations of all sizes are moving to the cloud — for strategic, financial, and operational flexibility and scalability. In its Global Cloud Index report (PDF), Cisco has predicted that cloud data centre traffic will exceed 14 zettabytes in 2020, an increase of 262 percent from 2015. Of course, this comes in all different shapes and sizes – from hosted email and office productivity tools to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings that allow us to run just about anything in the Cloud.

But does this mean an end to company data centres? Hardly, especially for those of us that live outside the onshore world of inexpensive utilities and ubiquitous, high-performance fibre networks. There are numerous reasons why local data centres will still be a vital option for businesses with offshore operations, including:

  1. Data sovereignty – The ever-changing regulatory, tax and legal landscapes bring concerns that are not easily mitigated in the global cloud world. While some providers will offer geo-fencing options, many resist providing assurances of where your data may end up in the event of a failover between one cloud data centre and another;
  2. Control – If you have ever stood in front of your board of directors to explain why your systems were down or how your network got invaded by malware, you understand why companies are hesitant to let go of all of their systems and data to third parties. Having direct management of your mission-critical IT assets is still best practice in many companies. Not to mention, having your data sitting alongside the data of many other companies, often on the same servers, can make any seasoned technologist squeamish;
  3. Security – While there is general acceptance that the large Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) have strong defences and recognise cybersecurity as an existential threat, the fact remains that they represent a massive target for the cyber-underworld. Why focus your malicious activities on one company when you can target a CSP, impacting many victims in one foul swoop, and probably get your evil deeds mentioned on CNN the same day? CSPs are consolidating the target landscape and the associated risks should give us all pause. And while there has yet to be a publicised example of a hacker moving laterally across cloud tenants within a CSP, we know that the vulnerabilities and potential exists.
  4. Telecommunications – Telecommunications have always been expensive in the offshore market. That is just the price we pay for living in paradise! But the costs for maintaining a high performance link to a data centre in the U.S. or Europe can be astronomical! This single factor alone can kill the business case for a wholesale migration to the Cloud, especially when you consider the backup/redundancy capacity you will pay for but hopefully never need.
  5. Intellectual Property – For companies who develop custom applications that are highly proprietary and contributory to competitive advantage, the Cloud can be an unacceptable computing model. Instead, they opt to keep these mission-critical systems (and their intellectual property) in house.
  6. FlexibilityWhile CSPs will make it incredibly enticing to migrate your systems and data to the Cloud, reversing this process can be very challenging if you change your mind. This challenge becomes significantly more complex if you are using Cloud tools for your software development, data management and application integration. Like a marriage, it is relatively easy to do and painfully difficult to undo!

These worries about cloud security and governance are causing many of us to be more cautious about cloud adoption. Such concerns are a major reason why many companies using external computing services opt for colocation, which gives them access to the vendor’s building, cooling, power, bandwidth, and physical security to save on data center costs, while the company installs its own servers and storage — and maintains direct control over its systems.

 The public cloud services market is predicted to grow to over $400b in 2020, which is a clear indication that the Cloud is here to stay. Indeed for many small-to-medium sized onshore businesses, it provides a lower cost option for rapidly implementing technology platforms while avoiding large capital expenditures. However, those of us operating offshore will continue to need local data centres to mitigate our risks for the foreseeable future.

Thankfully, we have excellent facilities in Cayman with a world-class data centre in Camana Bay that allows us to make the most of the opportunities offered from the Cloud while keeping our critical systems close at hand. If you are interested in learning more about leasing a space in our data centre, contact [email protected]

About the author

Christian Blais is Senior Vice President, Information Technology at Dart. He brings 30+ years of experience to this role, in which he is responsible for strategic leadership and oversight of the Information Technology team, whose functions include network operations, applications, information security, telecommunications, infrastructure and data centre products and services across the Dart group of companies.

OLEA wins regional International Property Award for Best Sustainable Development

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By Tania Knapik

OLEA — Camana Bay’s first, for-sale residential community and a joint venture between Dart Real Estate and NCB Group — received the five-star award for Best Sustainable Residential Development for the region at the International Property Awards held in 3 October, 2019 in Toronto.

That award secured a spot to compete against other regional development winners from Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, the United Kingdom and the Americas in the “World’s Best” Property Awards hosted on 2 December at the Savoy in London. There, OLEA won the award for the Americas for Best Sustainable Residential Development.

With energy efficiency at the core of its design, local firm TRIO Architecture has created a community that will feature a large solar array and an innovative geothermal cooling system. Additional energy-efficient and sustainable features that contributed to the project’s win include LED lighting; insulating concrete form construction; Water Sense plumbing fixtures; irrigation cistern; electric-car charging stations; environmentally friendly building materials; on-site recycling depots; a community herb and produce garden; and an acre of dedicated green space for the enjoyment of residents.

In addition, the landscaping will include more than 200 specimens of drought-tolerant flora, of which 80% are native to Cayman or the Caribbean.

International Property Awards
The International Property Awards have become a world-renowned mark of excellence. Nominations are open to residential and commercial property professionals from around the globe. The awards celebrate the highest levels of achievement by companies operating in all sectors of the property and real estate industry.

The application process is rigorous and requires a thoughtful presentation that answers numerous questions pertaining to the category that the applicant is entering. Floor plans, elevations, MEP plans, supporting evidence, renderings and in-depth descriptions of every element of the project are all required elements of the application, which must then be presented in a creative, visually appealing and compelling way. OLEA’s application was 30 pages long and highlighted the features that will make the community, which is currently under construction, so sustainable.

The inaugural International Property Awards were presented in 1993 and covered 10 different residential categories. Since then, the programme has grown substantially and now covers over 54 categories in the areas of development, interior design, architecture and real estate.

The International Property Awards rank among the most prestigious commendations in the residential and commercial property industries, and the award winner’s logo is recognised as a symbol of excellence throughout the global industry.

To learn more about OLEA, visit the OLEA Sales & Presentation Centre on Market Street in Camana Bay, or visit camanabay.com/olea.

This article originally appeared in the February 2020 print edition with the headline “OLEA wins International Property Awards.”

STEP Cayman conference discusses what makes the Cayman Islands an attractive jurisdiction for family offices

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By Alan Markoff

Before Robin Goodman of RBC Wealth Management Financial Services Inc. left Canada to participate in the STEP Cayman Conference on 23-24 January at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, she was told her by colleagues in the Cayman office that it was going to be “super cold” here during her stay. So she packed her heavy winter jacket for the trip.

“Your idea of super cold is much different than mine,” she said with a smile to the conference attendees while serving as one of the panellists in a breakout session titled “Family offices — what makes them work in the Cayman Islands.”

The Cayman Islands’ appealing winter weather aside, the four panellists for the family office breakout session all offered numerous other reasons why the jurisdiction is attractive for domiciling family offices.

Dart VP Business Development Chris Duggan, who served as moderator for the panel, listed the factors that enticed Ken Dart to create a family office here on Grand Cayman back in 1993 — factors that still exist, or have been improved upon, today.

Duggan said some of those factors included tax neutrality; the safety and security on the islands, both in terms of personal security and investment security;  a politically stable government in a British Overseas Territory that is governed by English Common Law; good infrastructure in relation to a reliable, fibre-based network for communications; strong building infrastructure to provide safe places to live and work; proximity to the United States with abundant airlift to North American cities; good healthcare; a time zone that made it easy to communicate and conduct business with people located in North America and Western Europe; and best-in-class service providers including accountants, lawyers, trust practitioners and others in the financial services industry.

“Having all of those factors working in unison is what really sets Cayman apart from some other jurisdictions,” Duggan said.

For panellist Alex Leman, who is in the process of creating  a family office on Grand Cayman, all of the factors Duggan listed as important to Ken Dart were also important to him.

“Every one of those variables you just mentioned is a consideration to me,” he said.

Leman noted that in Ken Dart’s case, his establishing a family office on Grand Cayman and then actively investing here actually contributed to the improvement of the factors that attracted him to the Cayman Islands in the first place.

“I think that speaks to the trajectory of Cayman,” he said. “Cayman has strengths that are foundational and growing.”

Leman also lavished praise on the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, the regulator of the financial services industry.

“The regulatory relationship here is the best I’ve ever worked with,” he said, adding that financial service providers can propose new and sophisticated structures to the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority and have the professionals working there understand and discuss those structures, all the while being effective and diligent regulators.

Having top-notch talent in the public sector is only one aspect of the talent that lives and works on Grand Cayman, making it ideal to domicile a family office, Leman said.
“Some of the smartest people I know are here in Cayman,” he said.

Challenges
Earlier in the discussion, the panellists were asked to give their own definition of a family office.

Leman quoted an old friend in the industry who liked to say, “If you’ve seen one family office, you’ve seen one family office.” That’s because by the very nature of the structures and family dynamics, they’re all different.

“There is no one definition of a family office,” said panellist Sonia Park-Root of RBC Wealth Management Canada. “A family office’s purpose is driven by what the family office is trying to accomplish.”

In general, however, family offices are formed to ensure wealth stays in a family over generations. However, Park-Root said wealth isn’t about only financial capital, but also intellectual capital, human capital and even social capital.

“All families have different dynamics and some are more challenging than others,” Park-Root said. “But I think the most successful family offices are those that have structures in place to deal with family dynamics.”

Speaking about the global regulatory challenge facing family offices, Goodman said in times past, people could live in one country and have their wealth domiciled in another.

“That’s changed dramatically,” she said. “Now, you go with your money to a jurisdiction. What people are really looking for now is a jurisdiction with a history of having to deal with wealth and with families, and one which has the trust professionals to do that.”

Cayman fits that bill, all the panellists agreed, and Leman spoke to the trust professionals aspect of that in particular.

“The sheer talent pool of people in Cayman who can serve as trustees is unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been.”

This article originally appeared in the February 2020 print edition of Camana Bay Times with the headline “Why Cayman for family offices.”

About the author

Alan Markoff has worked with Dart as the editor for Camana Bay Times for three years and has been writing professionally since 1997. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Alan graduated from the State University of New York at Albany with a degree in English, and first moved to the Cayman Islands in 1982. He has 16 years of experience in the real estate industry and previously worked as a journalist for Cayman Compass before joining Dart to relaunch the Camana Bay Times monthly newspaper. An avid baseball fan, Alan loves travelling but also schedules trips back home around catching a summer game or two with his home team, Cleveland Indians.

RBC Wealth Management opens in Camana Bay

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Add another top financial services provider to the Camana Bay directory.

RBC Dominion Securities and RBC Private Banking, both part of RBC Wealth Management, opened new offices on Forum Lane last month.

RBC Dominion Securities Managing Director Andrew McCartney said the move reinforces the company’s commitment to the Cayman Islands.

“Camana Bay is uniquely positioned as the preeminent home for high-net-worth businesses and we are excited about what the future holds, both for RBC, and the wider Camana Bay community,” he said.

The new office brought with it approximately 30 employees. As part of the move, RBC will soon operate a 24/7 Automated Teller Machine for its commercial bank clients on Forum Lane, in the ground floor entry lobby to its offices.

McCartney said that the new location will prove to be more convenient to its business partners and clients.

“Now we can be even closer to the service providers with whom we work to help deliver the world-class service our clients have come to expect,” he said. “In fact, many of our family office clients now happen to be our neighbours at Camana Bay.”

By co-locating Dominion Securities and Private Banking, McCartney said RBC has created a one-stop shop to serve their client’s wealth management needs.

Dart Senior Manager, Business Development Jennifer Ebanks said Camana Bay has become a thriving financial hub with more than 120 businesses having a location in the Town Centre and more than 2,500 people working there daily.

“We’re excited to see our community of financial services tenants grow with the addition of RBC,” she said. “RBC represents the type of premier financial services firms choosing to operate here in Camana Bay.”

This article was originally published in the February 2020 print edition of Camana Bay Times.

Mourant’s Cayman Islands staff members make a difference with local charities

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More than 60 volunteers from Mourant showed their willingness to support the community during the law firm’s “Away Day,” which is held on American Thanksgiving Thursday every year.

The volunteers donated more than 180 hours of combined time to six different local charitable organisations, including Cayman Acts of Random Kindness, better known as ARK; Cayman Islands Cancer Society; Cayman Islands Humane Society; Literacy Is For Everyone, better known as LIFE; the National Trust; and the National Council of Voluntary Organisations, better known as NCVO.

Activities in which the Mourant teams got involved included reading to the pupils at Theoline McCoy Primary School in Bodden Town; restoration of the gardens at the historic Mission House property; sorting and organising donations at the NCVO Bargain Shop; beautifying the playground at Miss Nadine’s Preschool and Jack and Jill Nursey; and relocating the Cayman Islands Cancer Society warehouse.

For one particular project, Mourant volunteers helped paint the home of a local resident who is battling breast cancer and currently undergoing chemotherapy. The house, where the resident lives with her five children and elderly parents, had fallen into disrepair and ARK has been coordinating an extensive renovation to get it back to a livable state, with the assistance of multiple volunteers.

Tara Nielsen, Cayman ARK founder, said the response from the community and local businesses in the community has been overwhelming.

“Each phase of this transformational renovation has been made possible by the kindness of dozens of individuals,” she said, adding that the resident and her family “will finally have a place to call home.”

Mourant Cayman Islands Managing Partner Hayden Isbister said the firms look forward to Away Day every year.

“It’s a great chance for us to make an impact in the local community in which we live and work,” he said. “The enthusiasm and effort that our people put into these projects always impresses me. It’s a different way for us to galvanise our unique team spirit and make a difference in our local community.”

This article originally appeared in the January 2020 print edition of Camana Bay Times under the headline “Making a difference.”

Media Release: RBC Wealth Management opens in Camana Bay Town Centre

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Dart Real Estate and RBC Wealth Management announced today that RBC Dominion Securities and RBC Private Banking have joined the thriving financial scene in Camana Bay with the opening of their new corporate premises, which includes an ATM, on Forum Lane.

“Our team is very pleased to welcome RBC to the community of over 120 businesses that are based in Camana Bay,” said Jennifer Ebanks, Dart’s Senior Manager, Business Development. “RBC represents the type of world-class financial services firms choosing to operate here.”

The new RBC wealth management office brings with it approximately 30 employees and is the third bank to have a 24/7 ATM in Camana Bay’s Town Centre, joining Cayman National and Scotiabank.

“We are incredibly proud to become part of the Camana Bay community,” said Andrew McCartney, managing director, RBC Dominion Securities. “This investment in a new state-of-the-art office in one of the region’s leading financial and commercial hubs reinforces our commitment to the Cayman Islands. Camana Bay is uniquely positioned as the preeminent home for high-net-worth businesses and we are excited about what the future holds, both for RBC, and the wider Camana Bay community.”

McCartney says that the new location also provides a world-class employee experience given the broad range of quality amenities at Camana Bay. The move also puts the bank closer to many of its partners and clients. “Now we can be even closer to the service providers with whom we work to help deliver the world-class service our clients have come to expect. In fact, many of our Family Office clients now happen to be our neighbours at Camana Bay!”

McCartney also said that by co-locating RBC Dominion Securities and Private Banking they have created a one-stop shop to serve their client’s wealth management needs, underscoring their continued investment in the Cayman Islands.

According to Ebanks, Camana Bay has become a thriving financial hub with more than 2,500 people working there daily. “We’re excited to see our community of financial services tenants grow with the addition of RBC, and look forward to our shared success.”

Camana Bay welcomes RBC during its current growth period, which includes the recent expansion of Cayman International School, the opening of Foster’s new 60,000-square-foot location and its first for-sale residential offering, OLEA, now under construction.

About Dart Real Estate

Dart Real Estate is a development company based on Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory.

The company’s flagship development is the 685-acre mixed-use, master-planned town of Camana Bay, the Caribbean’s first and only community founded on the principles of New Urbanism.

Dart Real Estate’s portfolio continues to grow with the addition of world-class Seven Mile Beach developments, including the LEED® Silver-certified Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, The Residences at Seafire, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, an upcoming five-star resort and residences, and Paradise Villas on Little Cayman.

Dart Real Estate also manages Regatta Office Park, Flagship Building, Island Plaza and the Cayman Islands Yacht Club. It developed the residential neighbourhoods of North Creek and Salt Creek. In addition, the 26-acre Dart Nursery propagates and supplies native plants and trees for all of its developments and properties.

Dart Real Estate strives to enhance the quality of life and to create opportunities for all in the Cayman Islands through purposeful placemaking, meaningful connections and lasting experiences that transcend bricks and mortar.

For more information, visit dartrealestate.com and keep up with the latest developments on Linkedin, and Twitter.

About RBC

For 50 years, RBC Dominion Securities has helped individuals, families, businesses, charitable foundations, and other organisations in the Cayman Islands and beyond build on, and preserve, their wealth through sound financial planning, trusted investment advice, and unparalleled wealth management solutions.

Building on a 120-year history around the world, with over 400,000 clients globally, and more than C$402 billion in assets under care, RBC Dominion Securities is one of the world’s leading full-service investment and wealth management firms.

RBC Royal Bank is the proud recipient of Global Finance magazine’s 2020 Best Private Bank (North America) Award. The publication also gave RBC its top accolades in the Caribbean, specifically, Best Private Bank, Best Private Bank for Entrepreneurs, and Best Private Bank for Families.

For more information click here.

About Camana Bay

A destination within a destination, Camana Bay is a vibrant town located in the heart of Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory.

Situated on 685 acres between Seven Mile Beach and the North Sound, this mixed-use master-planned community is one of the first examples of New Urbanism in the Caribbean.

Developed by Dart Real Estate, Camana Bay offers more than 650,000 square feet of commercial office and retail space as well as 63 luxury apartments available for long-term lease, and condos, townhomes and duplexes at OLEA, Camana Bay’s first for-sale residential project. The town also offers public spaces for all to enjoy, world-class shopping and dining, as well as family-friendly entertainment, events and attractions.

For more information, visit camanabay.com and keep up with the latest developments on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.

The Terraces at Camana Bay

Cayman Islands homes that support your wellness lifestyle

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By Andrea Lumsden

As the new year unfolds, many 2020 resolutions and intentions are put to the test. For many, improved health and overall wellness sit at the top of the list but are perhaps the most challenging to achieve and maintain. New gym memberships, plant-based cookbooks and spiritual podcasts are excellent aids on the wellness journey, but perhaps a less obvious yet longer-term solution is where you choose to live.

Part of our vision at Dart Real Estate is to create places where people are inspired to live their best lives. Camana Bay is one such place.

Camana Bay: The Terraces (long-term rentals)

Designed and built on the core principles of New Urbanism, Camana Bay offers a unique wellness lifestyle with its walkability, connectivity, green spaces and many leisure activities.

Within the mixed-use community, sits The Terraces—a collection of 63 luxury rentals with views of the North Sound and direct access to the vibrant heart of the Town Centre.

Available for immediate occupancy are a handful of these pet-friendly and elegantly furnished one- and two-bedroom homes, each appointed with a private balcony, luxury linens and state-of-the-art electronics. Amenities at The Terraces include two swimming pools, a pedestrian footpath to Seven Mile Beach, 24-hour security, underground parking and convenient access to the many shops, restaurants, offices, entertainment and wellness options in Camana Bay’s Town Centre.

Always in high demand, The Terraces are perfect for anyone who wants the convenience of an urban lifestyle and the benefits of relaxed, Caribbean living. For floor plans, pricing or to schedule a tour, contact the The Terraces Leasing team today.

Camana Bay: OLEA (for-sale residential)

Just south of The Terraces is another Camana Bay residential option—OLEA, a waterfront neighbourhood of for-sale duplexes, townhomes and condos. With pre-sales and construction well under way, OLEA will boast the Cayman Islands’ first lazy river along with health-inspiring amenities such as a fully equipped gym, an outdoor yoga area, a resort-style pool, pedestrian footpaths and access to biking and jogging trails that lead to the Town Centre and Seven Mile Beach.

Sustainability, architectural integrity and green design are a key part of the development and, in addition to channelling cool breezes, each home will feature solar panels along with energy-efficient solutions such as LED lighting and water-conserving plumbing fixtures. Phase 1 is scheduled to be completed in August 2020. Stop by the Sales & Presentation Centre on Market Street in Camana Bay, Monday-Friday 12-5 p.m. or email [email protected] to schedule an appointment.

The Residences at Seafire (for-sale residential, with optional rental programme)

Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa

Not far from Camana Bay is another gem developed by Dart Real Estate: The Residences at Seafire, located directly on Seven Mile Beach and offering the ultimate wellness lifestyle with its luxury resort living.

Residents can enjoy direct access to all the amenities of Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, including numerous beach activities, a 12,000+ square-foot spa and fitness facility with seven treatment rooms, a hammam and a garden soaking pool. A private owners’ rooftop terrace, which happens to be the highest point in Grand Cayman, is the perfect place to relax the mind, body and soul. Owners can also take advantage of several dining options or call on the services of a Seafire chef for deliciously nourishing meals. Learn more about which residences are currently available for sale by contacting [email protected]

For more information about Dart Real Estate’s vision to create places where people want to be, or to learn more about our current for-sale or for-lease residences, email [email protected].

About the author

Andrea Lumsden has worked with Dart since 2013 and has been writing professionally since 2003. Graduating from University of Central Florida with a BA in Communication, Andrea has worked with clients across a range of industries, including financial services and real estate. Raised in Cayman by Costa Rican parents, she’s a New Yorker at heart who enjoys reading and travelling with her husband and three children.