Change, strategy and bucking the trend: A message from CIRA’s president and CEO

Dear Member,

Fiscal year 2017 has been a good year for the organization. Effective stewardship of .CA has been maintained and our innovation agenda has advanced.

Facing a continued maturation of the domain market, fiscal year 2017 began with a clear goal: implement programs to ensure .CA continues to grow, bucking the global market’s declining rate of domain name growth. The domain market is transforming, with slowing demand and increased competition and we knew that we must find a way to retain CIRA’s value and encourage more Canadians to choose .CA to brand themselves online and stake out their piece of digital real estate.

We have a responsibility to ensure CIRA’s long-term sustainability as a key part of our mandate to operate the .CA domain on behalf of all Canadians. We are committed to providing a safe, secure and stable registry and we take this responsibility very seriously. We need adequate resources to deliver on this commitment with the level of excellence Canadians deserve and expect from us. I’m pleased to report that fiscal year 2017 was a success.

Alongside our partners, CIRA set out to register 460,000 new .CA domain names last year. As of March 31, 2017 we had 504,761 new registrations and surpassed the milestone of 2.5 million registered .CA domain names overall. This is only the second time in CIRA’s history that we have exceeded 500,000 new registrations in a single year. It’s proof that when we put our collective efforts toward something, we can achieve it.

In addition to building awareness among Canadians about .CA, a significant component of our strategy is to innovate and diversify the organization’s revenue stream to mitigate the risk of relying solely on one product line.

On the innovation front, last year we completed the initial stage of work on our next generation registry platform called Fury. With higher quality and more robust functionality than our previous platform, Fury was built to enhance our ability to steward .CA. In fiscal year 2018 we began the process of transferring .CA to Fury. Fury was also part of our product diversification efforts. We showcased it to our peers and the response has been universally positive. In fact, Fury caught the attention of the .kiwi team who became our first customer to use the platform to manage their registry.

In 2017 CIRA further exhibited its ability to identify market needs and stay ahead of them. Cybersecurity is a great example. Rarely a week goes by where issues related to digital security, online privacy and cyberattacks aren’t in the media. And top of mind for us is the 2016 attack on U.S.-based Dyn and its DNS, a threat that CIRA is not immune to.

We’ve stayed on top of cyber threats to our systems, further exhibiting our commitment to a safe, secure and stable .CA registry and DNS. We are well-equipped to understand and respond to attacks and to support Canadians with technology and education on these issues. In fiscal year 2017 our customer base for D-Zone Anycast DNS grew, emphasizing its value in helping Canadian organizations and subsidiaries optimize and secure their DNS.

In fiscal year 2017 our innovation team, CIRA Labs, conceived of a new DNS firewall service to protect Canadian organizations from malware and ransomware. This service went into production in early fiscal year 2018 and the need for it couldn’t be greater. This builds on CIRA’s continued work to support Canadians by investing in Internet Exchange Points (IXPs). These exchange points, when used by governments, telecommunications companies and businesses in Canada, can reduce costs, increase speed and help ensure that Canadian data stays in Canada.

Through our Internet Performance Test (IPT) and our City IPT program, we’ve worked with several municipalities, including Ottawa, Kitchener and Surrey to encourage citizens to test their Internet speeds. This data will help cities with their smart community strategies, support investments in infrastructure and attract business growth.

There have been many other successes at CIRA, outlined in our 2016-2017 report to members. Our products and services add value for organizations in Canada and abroad, our investments in the Canadian Internet ecosystem are improving Internet access and reliability and our contributions to building a better online Canada, including through our Community Investment Program are positively affecting thousands of Canadians, consistent with the strategy and purpose of the organization. It’s been an excellent year and I’m proud of the results.

As we move ahead in fiscal year 2018, and further along in our 2017-2020 corporate strategic plan, we will continue to strive for greatness. At CIRA we celebrate our successes but we never stall in our efforts to remain a leader within the Internet community in Canada and in the global ccTLD community. Building a better online Canada and supporting the development of the Internet globally requires nothing less.

Byron Holland, President and CEO,
Canadian Internet Registration Authority