TL; DR: Cloud Carib, headquartered in The Bahamas, is a managed cloud services provider for the Caribbean and Latin American regions. The hosting company focuses on delivering secure hybrid cloud solutions via locally operated datacenters and strategic partnerships with leading technology providers. Now, through an agreement with Estonia’s Cybernetica, Cloud Carib is setting up a secure data exchange network that will advance e-government initiatives in the Caribbean.
The worst natural disaster in the history of The Bahamas occurred in 2019 when Hurricane Dorian — a Category 5 — left 74 people dead, 282 people missing, and $3.4 billion in damage.
The storm severely damaged or destroyed the majority of businesses in the Abaco Islands, where it hit maximum intensity. Grand Bahama also faced devastation as the hurricane flooded more than half of the island’s downtown area, business district, and commercial zones.
Among the darkness was a flicker of resilience. Cloud Carib, the hosting company supporting the government of The Bahamas, executed a savvy disaster recovery strategy that allowed the government to protect its infrastructure, provide citizens with critical services, and access essential data.
“We supply the government with managed network, cloud, and collaboration services — basically an entire IT stack,” said Scott MacKenzie, CEO at Cloud Carib. “About 98.5% of the country’s digitized GDP flows through that private cloud infrastructure. In the past five years, The Bahamas has faced three Category 5 hurricanes, and we’ve been able to maintain 100% uptime through each.”
But Dorian proved especially challenging. With the company’s Freeport, Grand Bahama, datacenter in the storm’s direct path, Cloud Carib, its operators, and the representatives of its clients decided to perform a controlled shutdown of the facility.
Despite the endeavor’s complexity, the hosting company kept all mission-critical systems online via its Nassau, New Providence facilities until the danger subsided. “That really pushed us — and the technology — to the edge,” Scott told us. “But it was successful.”
The experience underscores the importance of storing critical data in multiple locations — and in this case, across multiple islands. As a managed service provider dedicated to the Caribbean and Latin American regions, Cloud Carib knows exactly how to protect the data and IT infrastructure of its uniquely positioned customers.
Helping Latin America and the Caribbean Strategically Leverage the Cloud
Scott told us he’s been with Cloud Carib since the company’s earliest days.
“I met Founder and CTO Stelios Xeroudakis in China when I was living there working on a side project around 2013,” he said. “He had just started Cloud Carib after visiting The Bahamas for a friend’s wedding. There, he realized that enterprise-grade datacenter services and leading cloud products were largely unavailable in the region at the time.”
Stelios knew that Scott, who already had lengthy experience in startups, hosting, and cloud security, would be a natural fit for the company. In the 1990s, he helped grow a bulletin board service into one of Canada’s first commercial internet service providers.
By 2000, Scott founded Bird On A Wire Networks Inc., one of the first Canadian companies to offer a suite of dedicated servers, managed and colocation solutions, and ASP platforms. He also played a pivotal role in advancing the philanthropic Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development.
“What really sold me on Cloud Carib was meeting some of his customers — including the government of The Bahamas,” Scott said. “Their vision to embrace digital transformation is what brought me to the company. When I arrived in 2016, it was myself, Stelios, and a part-time employee. We have more than 100 employees now.”
Scott told us Cloud Carib doesn’t consider itself a tech company, per se — and that’s what keeps the business competitive.
“We’re a services and solutions company that uses a toolkit of technologies to help solve real-world business challenges,” he said. “We stay ahead by making sure that toolkit is always up to date and aligned with the pain points of the world.”
Delivering High Uptime and Performance through Managed Services
Today, Cloud Carib delivers a broad catalog of offerings — from distributed datacenters and managed services to disaster recovery and unified communications solutions.
In 2017, the company launched its Command and Control Centre (C3), the region’s first 24/7 support portal. That same year, Cloud Carib introduced Carib365, bringing clients a fully managed Microsoft365 platform that they can host in any one of its regional datacenters. More recently, the company partnered with LogRhythm to provide customers access to enterprise-grade security information and event management (SIEM) technology.
The commonality weaving all of the company’s products and services together, Scott said, is a devotion to solving regional challenges.
“The reality is that, in the developing world, it’s tough for any IT department to deliver on what the executives at their companies are dreaming up,” Scott said. “They don’t have the budget, so everybody’s hands are tied. That’s where I see cloud and managed service providers coming in — they become an extension of that IT department.”
Scott said another trend supporting the rise of managed service providers is the shift in preference from capital expenditures (CAPEX) to operating expenses (OPEX). (The two financial models are treated quite differently when it comes to accounting and taxes.)
“Around the millennium in North America, there was a change in the financial aspects of IT,” he said. “CFOs started to mentally move from CAPEX to OPEX because, at the end of the day, a predictive model of ICT delivery is advantageous to everybody involved. Service providers get guaranteed revenue streams, and businesses can become more operationally efficient, which results in a higher margin over time.”
The ongoing pandemic, of course, has also caused customers to embrace managed cloud services in droves.
“Before COVID, digital transformation could be shrugged off as marketing fluff, but now people are seeing that they have no other choice if they want to get business done and achieve their desired results,” Scott told us.
To customers who struggle with the idea of managed services or the cloud in general, Scott offers the following advice:
“You know, 100 years ago, you may have said, ‘I want to build my own hydroelectric facility.’ But what you really need is a consumption-based service, like electricity, where you can just flip a switch and it works.”
An Upcoming Focus on Securing Digital Identity and Transactions
Over the next few years, the Cloud Carib team will turn its focus to digital identity as a service (IDaaS). The company has taken the first step in that journey through a partnership with Cybernetica — an Estonian company known for its e-Estonia X-Road and internet voting system.
“We’ve partnered with Cybernetic to deliver a secure unified exchange platform to the government of The Bahamas,” Scott said.
The partnership will also help advance governmental IDaaS initiatives throughout the broader Caribbean community.
“We want to empower the citizens to have a secure identity as well as digital transactions, and our platform facilitates both of those. It uses advanced split-key encryption to securely digitize your identity. And Cybernetica’s split key technology is the only one that’s currently certified by the EU.”