Mark Hughes

Team Work Overcame London 2012 Challenges

By: Mark Hughes, CEO of BT Security

On Monday, I had the honor of taking part in the Cisco Live event held in Orlando, where I addressed the security challenges that we faced during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and our evolving relationship with Cisco’s security team.

Chris Young, Cisco’s senior vice president of security, raised some interesting questions, which helped me explain how we planned and prepared for the Games, the surprises we encountered, and our reaction to these.

Planning for the Games started as soon as we received the hand over from the Beijing Games, four years ago.

As London 2012 was the first truly IP connected summer Games, we needed to ensure that we could seamlessly deliver fixed voice and video services, and a vast majority of the data traffic, to the huge number of people organizing, reporting, competing at, or simply enjoying the Games.

To build the infrastructure we needed to have a world-class, secure and highly available converged network.

Continuing our partnership with Cisco enabled us to meet this challenge by providing LAN, wireless, firewall, routing, and content and identity services. Together we became a formidable team, delivering faultless coverage of the Games, despite the many changes that have taken place since the Beijing Olympics – just think how we’ve all welcomed tablet devices and social media into our lives.

To put this into context:

  • We defended against at least one hacktivist campaign every day
  • We dealt with 11,000 malicious requests per second
  • We blocked 212 million malicious connection attempts
  • We ensured that the devices the 30,000 media professionals brought with them to the Games were used safely and didn’t jeopardize the integrity of the network
  • On super Saturday (4 August) we detected 128 million events

However, that’s not to say we didn’t encounter a few surprises along the way; BYOD proved to be a significant issue and required us to provide largely unfiltered and unmonitored rate card internet services to 30,000 journalists, photographers, media and broadcasting companies.

We also observed that some servers were being accessed using aging and unsecure protocols.

We’re taking the lessons we learned during the Games and using them to inform and shape our security portfolio especially in cyber.

Going forward BT is excited about the power of identity management and the opportunities this opens up for BYOD, wireless and network-based services of the future.

The London 2012 Games was a particularly good case to demonstrate our successful partnership with Cisco. It was a pleasure to share the enthusiasm we have for developing our affiliation, and delivering similar world-class Olympian solutions for other organizations.

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