Quality, service, security : IKOULA's winning strategy

Jean-Pascal MACCHI, Managing Director of IKOULA, takes the floor to answer a few questions in an exclusive interview. The interview covers topics such as his vision of the hosting business, the importance of the « Gallic cloud », the challenge of data protection, and IKOULA's future and strategy.

For the past twenty-five years, IKOULA has been supporting companies in all sectors with its IT hosting and cloud services. A pioneering position that has enabled its teams to see the worlds of business and digital evolve in many ways. And its management team has forged strong convictions. Chief among them: going beyond the sovereign cloud and defending a « Gallic cloud ». A conversation with Jean-Pascal MACCHI, Managing Director of IKOULA.

Could you tell us a bit about IKOULA, and your vision of the hosting business ?

At IKOULA, we're certainly a specialist in data and infrastructure hosting, but there's much more to our business than that. Today, with over two decades of experience behind us, we offer a whole range of interdependent IT and cybersecurity services.

First of all, of course, there's data storage, our core business. We do this in two datacenters we own, located in Champagne-Ardenne and Picardie. In addition to this, we provide a large number of managed services such as facilities management, co-managed services, installations and deployments on behalf of the customer, all in-house with dedicated teams. In addition, we provide firewall services to ensure our customers' protection. Finally, as part of the Sewan group, we are also able to provide secure telecoms networks (MPLS, SDWAN, dedicated links, etc.) enabling customers to connect securely to the infrastructures hosted in our datacenters.

And because we know that the issue of hosting and data is particularly sensitive, and this service must be of the highest quality, we have chosen to always have someone available on site, whatever the time of day or year.

« This is how we are able to provide our customers with support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round without interruption. »

There's a lot of talk about the sovereign cloud, which refers to a digital environment limited to a country's territory. You, on the other hand, advocate a « Gallic cloud ». What's the difference ?

Indeed this question does deserve to be explained ! When you work with a French company offering a sovereign cloud, all your data is hosted in France, and complies with French and European regulations, which are highly protective of consumers and businesses. The problem arises when a customer decides to work with a hosting provider whose services are located partly in France, and partly abroad.

There are 2 main issues there : firstly, data hosting, and secondly, data management. Not only do customers have no certainty as to where their data is stored, they have even less certainty that it will not be transferred abroad as part of outsourced operations (such as support), to countries where labor costs are lower. In this case, they fall outside France's highly protective regulatory framework.

For this reason, we do want to defend the idea of a « Gallic cloud », where everything remains within the French regulatory, operational and legal framework. We are a French hosting provider, 100% owner of our datacenters - which are located in France, of course - which does not subcontract any of our services, and whose capital is entirely French.

« To sum up, when data enters IKOULA, it stays by IKOULA only. That's the « Gallic cloud ». »

What does this mean for customers in terms of service and data protection ?

I think the first advantage is that customers do have the control over their data, and are ensured of a high level protection. . Not only do customers who use our services know where their data is stored, but they are also assured of the reversibility of their hosting: they can, if they wish, retrieve all the data entrusted to us, without any of it remaining on our servers. What's more, data localization in France means that only French law applies, which means that we are not subject to other more problematic legislation on data confidentiality, such as the Patriot Act in the United States.

How have you evolved and how do you see the future for IKOULA ?

Many things have changed since 2021 and the integration into the Sewan Group ! The company has been carrying significant changes, so as to be ready to enter a cycle of very sustained growth in the months and years to come. In the space of just a few months, we have invested heavily to modernize all our infrastructures, allowing us to accommodate very high-intensity racks. We have also worked towards obtaining several certifications, including ISO 27001, certifying information security management, and ISO 50001, to be able to fully control our energy costs. We have also joined the "Conduct on Data Centres' Energy Efficiency" initiative, in response to growing demand from our key accounts.

These changes are numerous, but we won't stop there. We are already preparing to obtain additional new certifications. We're ready and excited for the challenges to come !

Jean-Pascal MACCHI, Managing Director, IKOULA