Contact North | Contact Nord moves IT Infrastructure Into Secure Cloud to Support Students

Contact North | Contact Nord moves IT infrastructure
into secure cloud to support students

Reliability, stability ensure online learners can access the technology they need,
when they need it

(THUNDER BAY, ON) – Contact North | Contact Nord has transferred its information
technology (IT) infrastructure to the cloud, ensuring a smooth service for online learners and
the ability to respond to rapidly escalating demand.

With 860,000+ post-secondary students enrolled in Ontario1 colleges and universities — most
of them now fully online — learners must be confident that the technology they’re using won’t
fail and that the platforms supporting their online courses will be available at all times.

Contact North I Contact Nord leveraged the information technology expertise, experience and
capacity of OCAS, a not-for-profit organization delivering shared technology and application
services for Ontario’s public colleges, to transition the following IT services to the cloud:

  • The Learning Management System (LMS) students use to take online courses;
  • The videoconferencing platform they need to take online courses;
  • The e-mail servers that provide greater reliability and security.

These changes allowed Contact North | Contact Nord to quickly scale up when the COVID19 pandemic forced hundreds of thousands of Ontario students online in March.

“The last few months, in particular, revealed how vitally important it is to transition our IT
infrastructure to the next level,” says Maxim Jean-Louis, Contact North | Contact Nord’s
President – Chief Executive Officer.

“Our partnership with OCAS is helping us meet increased demand as we respond every
year to more than 1 million requests for services from underserved rural and remote
Ontario residents wanting to access education and training without leaving their

“We are incredibly proud that our partnership has enabled Contact North | Contact Nord to
better assist learners across the province at a time when the need for reliable online
education and support services is crucial,” says OCAS’ President and Chief Executive
Officer, Karen Creditor.

“We greatly value the opportunity to support Contact North | Contact Nord in our shared
mission of opening and improving pathways to post-secondary education and look forward to
continuing this work in the future.”

The transition to the cloud involved two key transformational activities. The first was to
move Thunder Bay- and Sudbury-based IT infrastructure (servers, platforms, software
applications hosting, telephone system) to offsite hosting by an experienced third-party
technology provider. Their staff of 80+ IT professionals deliver guaranteed 99.9999% uptime and 24/7/365 monitoring and support.

The second major activity was to shift away from investing money, time and energy on
serving technology to investing in serving students, as well as college and university
partners, by providing more customized services.

“Learners all over rural and remote Ontario rely on our technology to help meet their
evolving needs and to provide equitable access to online courses that help them reach
their education and employment goals,” says Charmaine Kissmann, Contact North |
Contact Nord’s Director of IT & Web Services. “We are confident that by improving and
expanding our services, we can provide seamless service during the COVID-19 pandemic
and beyond. We’ll also be able to support more learners in every corner of Ontario.”