About Pasco Risk
Pasco Risk Holdings (Pty) Limited is a multi-faceted, highly specialised global risk consultancy. Retained by some of the world's largest companies to provide strategic advice, Pasco provides custom-designed insights into frontier markets and high-risk environments that cover the former Soviet Union, Asia, the Middle East, India and Africa. Its TravelSafe service provides corporate clients with a range of security risk mitigation services, from route advisories to executive protection teams.
For many large companies, geographic expansion is a key element of the growth strategy, particularly where local markets are saturated. In recent years, globalisation has created new markets in what were previously considered developing or frontier countries–yet businesses can face considerable risk when attempting to establish operations or form partnerships in such countries. Pasco Risk's blue chip clients typically already have an in-house security department, and they supplement this capability by tapping into up-to-date reporting, planning and advice from Pasco Risk's in-country experts.
To accelerate the delivery of alerts and advisories to its clients, and to improve the relevance of information provision, Pasco Risk set out to create a portal for security managers called TravelSafe. The requirement was to build a highly secure and flexible content delivery system that would offer low running cost and ease of maintenance.
Pasco Risk selected Drupal, an open source solution, as its Web content management system and worked with NetCB, a Novell partner, to deploy several Novell technologies for the TravelSafe portal. The solution runs on SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server and includes Identity Manager to enable centralised user management, NetIQ Access Manager to provide secure LDAP authentication for external users and Novell Vibe® (formerly Novell Teaming) to enable collaborative content generation by the Pasco Risk team.
"We wanted to provide 'anytime, anywhere' access to updated information, so a Web-based portal was the obvious solution, particularly in terms of its cost-effectiveness," said George Nicholls, CEO. "Our clients are major global firms, and they expect the highest standards in security, confidentiality and availability–and we knew that standardising on Novell software would enable us to meet those expectations. The Novell technologies were ready to integrate, highly secure, enterprise-ready and competitively priced."
Users of the TravelSafe portal subscribe to information on one or more countries, and receive a master log-on from Pasco Risk. They can then use Identity Manager, via Access Manager, to create and manage additional secure logons for other people in their own organisations.
"Identity Manager enables our clients to manage their own access to the portal, which keeps our operating costs at optimal levels," said Hilton Ashford, Group IT Manager. "We have set up workflows to send out renewal reminders to the client as the end of their subscription period approaches."
Pasco Risk's extensive correspondent network uses Vibe to submit content and updates, which are then reviewed and approved by specialist in-house analysts, then automatically published to the portal. Each client company has its own set of conferencing portals, enabling users to build up local knowledge bases. NetCB wrote scripts to scan RSS feeds and pull relevant articles into Vibe, further enriching the content delivered by the TravelSafe portal.
Working with Novell and NetCB, Pasco Risk has created a new revenue stream that provides an unmatched level of service to its corporate clients. "The TravelSafe portal delivers up-to-the-minute information on changing security situations all over the globe, giving our clients the information they need to make informed decisions," said Nicholls. "Novell and NetCB did an excellent job of translating our business goals into a seamless, highly reliable solution based on Novell software."
TravelSafe users are responding positively to the new service, and Pasco Risk expects to see rapid growth in its popularity, ultimately projecting that the service could generate a significant portion of its total revenues.
"TravelSafe lists the top hotels for any given destination, ranked according to their security and proximity to business centers, and also provides secure routes to and from the hotels," said Paddy Beiner, Director of Operations. "Our competitors have basic systems that give political risk ratings, which tend always to rise. Our solution is more practical, using Vibe to collaboratively generate rich, up-to-the-minute advice on where to go, what to avoid and how to get from place to place."
"Our TravelSafe portal takes advantage of Vibe to eliminate a huge amount of e-mail and telephone traffic," said Ashford. "As well as enabling clients to interact directly with our experts in the field, this reduces our administrative costs and accelerates information delivery."