Capabilities

Currently we run DASH Web software for all online surveys. The software is written in Java and the source programs for the survey are coded in XML. The web applications themselves are designed to accommodate heavy in-bound usage. There are very few design & logic limitations in the application. Complex logic based on multiple conditions, dynamically generated lists or tables based on previous responses, recalled data, on-the-fly calculations, max-diff and discreet choice conjoints are common. 

Bandwidth/Capacity/Uptime

All regular production web servers are located at one of Rogers secure data centres in Ottawa. The facility is multi-homed (carrier feeds from multiple providers other than Rogers) and the servers are directly on the data centre's fibre network. These facilities are state of the art and have full generator backups and UPS protection. We have never had a serious outage in over a decade.

The network is robust and can maintain heavy traffic. The most continuous traffic we have sustained and measured is a core of 200-300 (peaks up to 400) simultaneously connected people completing surveys in the same study for 10-16 hours a day for about a week completing close to 8,000 20-25 minute surveys within that time. About a dozen smaller concurrent projects were running at the same time. This never approached the capacity of the internet connection at any time.

Since inception in 2000 we have completed over 1600 projects resulting in well over two million completed surveys.  

Addendum 2019.

In March of 2019 we will be bringing on new DELL servers with solid state drives and more RAM to increase throughput to replace our trusty but now aging Linux production servers (which will be moved to non-production roles). We will be running RHEL 7.5 and multiple virtual hosts running several versions of Linux. Thoughout 2019 we will be finishing the upgrades and hardware replacement started last year.

There will be no down time in data collection. The new servers will be brought on line prior to retiring the old servers, and all data will be synced prior to switching traffic to the new machines.

We are still committed to locally stored data within Canada. We believe this is a better way of securing proprietary client data than somewhere in the cloud, where we cannot maintain we truly know where the data resides, or how many copies have been made. That being said we are not by any means technological Luddites. The cloud is great for public data and raw CPU processing of real-time data, however we need to have strict knowledge of where all data we manage (original and backups) resides. This certainty we cannot ensure using cloud storage.

Security/Data Integrity

The primary firewall was replaced in 2015 with a state-of-the-art Barracuda Networks Firewall Appliance. We maintain our older Cisco PIX Enterprise Firewall Appliance with an up-to-date configuration as a redundant back-up. Access to the datacentre can only be gained after a retinal scan and use of an electronic access card. Behind the perimeter firewall each server and each desktop machine runs a secondary local firewall. 

For reporting our client logins for monitoring online results are done via user login and password and through a secure https browser connection.

Daily incremental data backups of all business data is automated and stored on one of our NAS servers co-located at Rogers. As well, all current projects are fully synchronized at 15 minute intervals and stored on a different internal server for immediate use on an alternate server in the event of a webserver failure. Finally, every 2 hours from 9 am to 9 pm, 7 days a week, encrypted backups of all active projects are made and links to download this are sent via email to key personel so up-to-date backups can be done offsite when no one is at the office. Periodic archives are stored on a CD (encrypted) and stored offsite. Normally after 5 years all data is destroyed unless otherwise requested. 

All data is stored in Canada on our secured hardware and is not cloud based. When we are requested to destroy data, we know where the data is, how many copies there are and can ensure it's complete destruction.

Our official privacy policy is posted at: http://www.dufferinresearch.com/privacy.html We would be happy to supply any other specific non-confidential information not covered by this document upon request.