Separation as a Service

During the current Covid-19 pandemic, and in common with many service providers, we're dealing with support requests from users working at home. This isn't a huge upheaval for us, since we've always been a SaaS provider, and SaaS is intrinsically decentralised. More traditional applications are different: such applications are locally-installed, and evolved in environments where users and systems administrators operated together in employee-dense locations.

At this point in the global crisis, a review of revolutionary medical technologies and treatments is not yet possible. So instead of looking to the future, we consider proven defences from the past. Earlier, Stephen discussed the importance of basic hygiene. This short piece discusses our own small connection to another old-school public health measure: social distancing

The principle behind social distancing is simple: contagious pathogens need to infect new hosts to survive. Separate the available hosts and the pathogen cannot make the jump often enough to sustain the transmission supporting the epidemic. Separation minimises contagion, but it comes with corporate consequences. Social distancing interventions such as quarantines, school closures and workplace measures all result in staff not attending their usual place of work, creating challenges for centralised processes.

Of course such challenges can be overcome in various ways, and SaaS applications such as Longevitas have evolved as one way forward. Our software has always been hosted separately from its users, and the system is designed to allow work-sharing between different accounts and locations. From a technical support perspective, administration and management processes allow system administrators to be physically remote from the users they look after (and even, from each other!)

Quite correctly, there remain considerations about data handling outside the corporate fortress. In today's environment where privacy regulations such as GDPR and the CCPA are increasingly important, providers must support appropriate technical measures. These measures must both protect data and minimise the amount, duration and sensitivity of any sharing. However, if this pandemic shows anything, it shows that the corporate fortress needs the flexibility to adapt, and to adapt rapidly. If we can play any small part in that effort, it goes without saying that our helpdesk remains open. This is in many ways a battle of adaptation where our enemy made the first move - the next one is ours.


Fong, M.W., Gao H., Wong, J.Y., Xiao, J., Shiu, E.Y.C., Ryu, S. et al, (2020) Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings—Social Distancing Measures. Emerging Infections Diseases (EID)




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Gavin Ritchie
Gavin Ritchie is the IT Director of Longevitas