Developer

Cost-cutting, social media, cloud hosting: All in a day's work for Amnesty International's IT dept

Interview: Head of IT Kamesh Patel on how tech is supporting the cause of global human rights...

...needs to be - so towards changing human rights for the better and also ensuring these individuals are given a voice in the space they're in," he said.

Uniting Amnesty International's technology

Managed services company Claranet took on the hosting of the amnesty.org.uk website in 2009 as the human rights organisation looked to consolidate its web properties, and now hosts protectthehuman.com as well.

The organisation had previously been using a range of web and hosting companies, a situation that wasn't ideal, according to Patel.

"We identified that we needed to do something with our website because we were exposed. We had a number of risks, a number of management and support overheads and a lot of people to contact to get things done," he told silicon.com. Risks included issues with back-up for the website content management system and functionality changes being inconsistent between staging and live versions. Amnesty also harboured concerns about the risk of one of the several hosting companies going out of business and taking their hosting capability with them.

Patel's team put together a business case to consolidate the hosting services on to a single hosted provider which, after a tender process, was chosen to be Claranet.

One of the challenges for Amnesty in moving to a single hosting provider was working effectively with the incumbent suppliers to move the websites off their platforms and on to Claranet's, a process Patel described as "quite tricky".

"It involved a lot of persuasive discussions with particular agencies so that they would engage in the process of the move," he said.

Claranet is now supporting the website and the infrastructure behind it including the hardware, firewall and the Red Hat LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and Python) environment behind the website.

According to Patel, the move to Claranet has increased uptime and improved security through the use of a managed antivirus and firewall. Claranet also monitors the website for hardware faults, traffic spikes, patch updates, load balancing and back-up.

With Amnesty's hosting now on...

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