TD Securities has chosen an upstart to host and manage its Internet infrastructure.

Q9 Networks, a Toronto-based provider of Internet infrastructure and managed services, will take over all TD Securities’ applications by the middle of next year.

Neither party would divulge the value of the open-ended deal, but Charlie Freiheit, vice-president of global technologies at TD Securities, said the firm is looking at a long-term relationship with Q9. “We are so confident in our partnership with them that we’ve taken an investment position.”

TD Securities looked at a number of different facilities before selecting Q9, said Freiheit, and the company was impressed with Q9’s unique offerings, including its use of security technologies.

“Within TD Securities, we have quite a significant Intel and Unix environment with servers scattered throughout our offices globally in excess of 200,” he said. “We were looking for a solution to more centralize our application delivery, and a disaster recovery solution to raise the bar on data protection for our internal and external clients.”

Q9’s downtown location was also attractive, said Freiheit, since TD Securities’ IT infrastructure teams are also located in the city’s core. Q9 was also very flexible in meeting the financial firm’s particular demands, especially its requirement to connect to the data centre with its own network with dedicated fibre and network switching. “Anyone coming into the Q9 network through the Internet cannot connect to our network,” he said. TD Securities was able to send in its own auditing and security specialists to verify that everything down to the cabling infrastructure was separate. “It’s almost like we’ve purchased a portion of their facility.”

Freiheit said the idea of outsourcing on this scale was not a hard sell to his company’s management. “We’re trying to stick to our core business, which is really delivering applications to our traders so they can generate more income for the firm.”

Freiheit said all of the required hardware is now in place and TD Securities has begun the process of migrating applications, which is expected to be completed in about a year.

Q9 CEO Osama Arafat said the financial services sector is a growing market segment for the company, which was launched a little more than a year ago. “We’ve been very successful in attracting financial institutions just because of the level of security we have,” he said. Prior to Q9, said Arafat, there weren’t viable solutions for the financial services sector. “They’ve always had the tendency to outsource if they could, but there wasn’t anything suitable for them to outsource to.”

“We do have a broad mix of customers,” he added. Other Q9 clients include Noranda and The Globe and Mail. Arafat said most customers have concerns going in, and Q9 lets them bring in their auditing teams to kick the tires. “We don’t expect anything else,” he said. “They need to do proper due diligence and look under the hood to see how everything’s built.

“Security is obviously a paramount concern which we feel we’ve addressed very well,” said Arafat. “We’ve been audited by several banks that are considering becoming our customers.” All entrances to Q9’s datacentre are biometrically authenticated and covered completely by surveillance cameras at all times.

Most of Q9’s customers are local, although it does have customers throughout Canada and some in the U.S. that require a local point-of-presence.

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