Security on the right path
Supporting IT Security operations for the Olympics feels like an alpine skiing event in Rosa Khutor or the dreaded Streif in Kitzbühel: it is short, intense, requires a long preparation and gives little margin for errors during the actual run.
During operations of the London 2012 Olympics, we filtered over 255 million security alerts. Meaningful filtering and prioritization can only be achieved if such margin – deviation from the optimal path – is known, or said differently, if there is a real-time understanding on how close to normal behaviour the IT infrastructure is currently performing.
This is the main reason for having a “security by design” approach, where the business and its overall context, environment and constraints are understood from a security perspective. With the increased diversity of connected devices used to produce, transform or consume data; appliances, proxies, firewalls cannot anymore single-handedly protect critical services. Starting from the lesson learned of Vancouver 2010 through the test events up to the final operation or from changes in back-office applications to creation of new services, security insight must be present and shared with all stakeholders.
Like operators of the British National grid have to watch TV to cope with the television pickup phenomenon, test events involving real sport competitions and full scale rehearsals are not only valuable for testing Results services. They contribute in understanding the normal behaviour of the Olympics IT infrastructure which guarantees that only relevant alerts from the millions received are highlighted and handled accordingly.
In the meantime, as we are now transitioning to Paralympics, let’s go back watching the best moments of alpine skiing.