Securing the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro


Posted on: September 23, 2016 by Adam Dolman

One of the most ever present concerns, not just during the Olympic Games, but for the 2 years preceding them since our first systems went live for the Volunteer Portal, is ensuring the security of our systems. To make the technology of the Olympics run smoothly, we bring to the table over 25 years of experience of delivery excellence to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, some of the most visible events in the world, but also from doing this for our clients day in day out.

The Olympic Games are first and foremost about sport and bringing the world together. Our work should be invisible, silently working away behind the scenes, but always ensuring that everyone can keep enjoying the big sport event.  Every day hacker’s work to come up with new ways to disrupt IT systems, and in return corporations have to keep one step ahead to ensure their systems and data remain secure.

For Rio we have been building on our experience to securely provide the most connected Olympics ever. Our systems processed and delivered more data than any previous ones that reached and impacted more people than ever before. The Atos team, in conjunction with our partners, worked tirelessly to insure that this information gets delivered successfully, allowing the world to share in real time in the most connected way yet.  200,000 of hours of testing have taken place, testing thousands of different scenarios to ensure that when the event started on the 5th August 2016 with the eyes of the world watching, we were ready.

But it is not just the results that matter. Our Games Management Systems processed 430,000 accreditations; set-up effectively in the Rio 2016 partners cloud set-up. For the Olympic Games, the pressing IT challenges are to further secure operations, contain costs, and leverage experience and investment across multiple Olympic Games. To meet those challenges, the IOC is committed to continuous improvement and innovation, and delivering greater benefits from the evolution of technologies and emergence of new services.

These accreditation passes not only act as the person's credentials to access Olympic venues, but also act as visa waiver for entry in to the country. Other systems managed the 50,000 volunteers and their working schedules.  Security was paramount, and for the first time the accreditation systems were running - in the cloud, delivered together with fellow Rio 2016 technology partners.

Our team of experts, based in the Technical Operations Center in Rio de Janeiro, worked 24/7 throughout the event, keeping a close eye on everything flowing through the network. We anticipated collecting and analyzing more data than ever, building on the over 400 million IT security events that were analyzed during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and 120 million IT security events during the Paralympic Games.

Using the latest in real time data analytics we worked to sort through these millions of IT security events, looking for behavior that really were suspicious, filtering down to ensure that our team of Security Experts got fed what they needed to see, and made the human call on what really was a risk to our systems, and what wasn't. We brought in skills in data analytics to crunch through the vast amounts of data we gathered to bring out knowledge and patterns to help ensure we keep learning and improving to stay that one step ahead of the game.

So when you were watching the excitement of the opening ceremony, hearing the roar of the crowd as the athletes go for gold, our team were there behind the scenes ensuring that results were securely delivered to the world's media and that the huge workforce got to the right places at the right times with the right access.

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About Adam Dolman

Head of Microsoft Azure Cloud Product Engineering, Atos Global IDM and member of the Scientific Community
Adam Dolman is currently the Head of Azure Cloud Product Engineering for Atos Global IDM, and a member of the Atos Scientific Community and an Atos Expert.  He is responsible for the engineering and development of the Microsoft Cloud offerings as part of the Atos Orchestrated Hybrid Cloud suite. Previously he worked for Atos Major Events for 7 years, most recently as the Technical Operations Manager for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games for Atos Major Events, responsible for the architecture, security, deployment and management of the Rio 2016 Games infrastructure.  He has worked at Atos since 2005, starting in networking, with particular interests in cloud, digital transformation and virtualisation. Adam holds an MA in Computer Science from the University of Oxford and numerous Cisco and VMWare qualifications.

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