Digital Post shuns cloud for mail service

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Digital Post shuns cloud for mail service

Signs three years of co-lo space at Macquarie Telecom.

Digital Post Australia has deployed 30 dedicated servers and “terabytes” of storage in two Macquarie Telecom data centres ahead of launching its digital mail service next quarter.

Chief executive officer Randy Dean said Digital Post had chosen to co-locate in Macquarie Telecom facilities “in and around Sydney” almost six months ago.

Digital Post had enough co-location space to meet three years of forecast demand and could install any additional hardware “within a few days”, he said.

In contrast, Australia Post planned to host its rival Digital MailBox service on Telstra cloud infrastructure, allowing the service to be scaled on demand.

Both digital mail services were designed to allow consumers to receive and securely store documents from banks, utilities and other authorised providers electronically.

“When you’re talking about sensitive data, a cloud environment is not necessarily the best environment,” Dean said, highlighting security and availability concerns.

“We are an Australian company; we have a very discrete set of our systems.”

Digital Post — a joint venture between share registry Computershare, Salmat, and US software developer Zumbox — entered a private testing phase on August 20 with a handful of unnamed businesses and 500 users.

Fujifilm will replace Salmat in the Digital Post partnership from about mid-October, when its $375 million acquisition of Salmat’s business process outsourcing (BPO) division is expected to complete.

Dean said Computershare and Salmat’s BPO division were responsible for a total of 70 percent of physical mail going through Australia Post currently.

He saw Digital Post as an integrated, additional offering for existing Computershare and Salmat BPO clients, who could choose to allow their consumers to receive documents through the service.

Australia Post has named Westpac, Telstra and AMP as founding businesses for its Digital MailBox service, expected to launch in October.

But Dean expected businesses to take up more than one digital mailbox service, with consumers driving the success of either Digital Post or its competitors as the market matured.

“What the consumer needs is three to five documents on a monthly basis [for a digital mailbox to be useful],” he said. “I think you can very quickly get to a critical mass.”

Commonwealth Bank has announced a similar, secure lockbox for its customers, allowing them to store up to 1000 files on its servers, without defining a storage limit.

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