History of The Bunker Sites

Posted by Paul Lightfoot

Here at The Bunker, security is in our DNA.

When our founders- a team of security professionals led by world-renowned cryptographer and author of Apache SSL, Ben Laurie- first experienced the former-military facility in Ash, its heritage and fact that security was embedded into every fibre of the site made it the perfect place for the team to pursue their mission of revolutionising the technology industry.

Purpose-built to protect the people inside from every disaster scenario, our Ash site was acquired from the UK Ministry of Defence in 1998. Having been selected as the location for a ROTOR air defence radar station in the early 50s, in response to growing tensions after World War Two, the site later transitioned to become a Ground Environment Operational Evaluation Unit. In the mid-90s, the site was fully re-fitted, making it one of the last of the cold war bunkers that was made fully operational before the war ended. Operations were eventually shut down in the late 90s, providing the opportunity for The Bunker to reenergise the site with a new purpose.

Later, the team extended with a second site in Newbury. A fortress complete with concrete reinforced walls, steel doors and tempest shielding, the site originally served as a command and control centre.

Fast forward to today, where we have taken advantage of the best physical security available and used it to protect one of the modern day’s most important assets. We’ve pumped millions of pounds worth of investment into each site to ensure that both have the best infrastructure to power our data centres continuously.

Because of this, we are able to boast the fact that we are home to two of the most secure data centres in the UK. From our nuclear and bomb-proof walls, to the barbed wire fence surrounding the equivalent of 18 football pitches, security is at our core.

But it’s not all concrete and steel reinforcements. If you look beyond the barriers you’ll see that the continuous buzz of the site’s operations that was evident all those years ago, still lives on today.

Whether it is at the crack of dawn or in the dead of night, our service desk team works around the clock to answer all of our clients’ calls and ensure that their critical infrastructure remains secure. The combination of our dedicated team and our unique facilities means that there is no safer place for your data.

As well as ensuring that business-critical data is properly safeguarded at all times, we are also the facility of choice and training ground for other critical security services.

The military-grade security of our sites is the perfect testing ground for emergency services to carry out new procedures in a real-life environment. It isn’t unusual to hear gunshots on site or loud commands and barks from deep within the depths of The Bunker. Our metal staircases are often used by police forces to train their dogs, while fire and rescue units conduct exit exercises by taking advantage of our unused extension within our underground bunker.

And as if that wasn’t enough, The Bunker also acts as a safe environment for wildlife.

Our expansive, wild surface has recently become home to The Bunker Bees who joined our Ash site earlier this summer as part of an initiative to offer a safe haven for a number of endangered honey bee colonies and create a more sustainable environment for nature to thrive. While our team on the night shift are often kept company by different nocturnal creatures, the most recent being a family of badgers.

We’re proud of the history that surrounds our Ash and Newbury sites, and how we’ve evolved the purpose of these facilities to fulfil the needs of modern society. There’s no doubt that The Bunker is truly one of a kind.