This summer the world will be watching London. At the same time, the city will have to deal with millions of extra people and the logistical challenges that go with it. Obviously, one of the most important of these challenges is security. We’ve all seen the furore in the papers about the government spending more on security than they initially planned – up from £282 million to over £550 million. . I don’t know about you, but I’d rather we spend the money than be underprepared during the Olympics and Paralympics…when all eyes are on London.
So, what does £550 million buy you these days? 23,700 security personnel to cover 100 venues, for a start. However, there are also virtual threats to consider. During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China suffered 14 million online attacks. It’s no surprise; the information infrastructure is critical to the Games running smoothly. That’s why, as the networking infrastructure supporter of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we’ve been working closely with BT and Atos as the Communications Services Partner and the Global IT Partner respectively to provide robust and secure network infrastructure. But it’s not just those involved in the Games that need to think about security. Businesses are vulnerable while the Games are on too. And it’s a time when they should be capitalising on increased demand and opportunity. Unfortunately 42% of businesses have not reviewed their security arrangements for the Games and will be vulnerable to serious threats throughout the Games period. A key part of this is ensuring their networks are set up to cope with increased demand and potential threats.
In a few months, thousands of athletes will face the biggest tests of their careers at the Olympics. But, before all that, they need to qualify. It’s the final hurdle before all the years of dedication and hard work are put to the test. It’s also crunch time for us at Cisco, as we go through the final preparations for the Olympics. And there’s a fair amount of pressure on us to get it right too. The IT systems for London 2012 will process 30% more information than any other games in history and Cisco networking is at the heart of it. We’ve supported BT and Atos on a Games Network that connects all competition and event-critical sites.
30% more information than any other games doesn’t really give you an idea of the scale, but hopefully a few quick numbers will. Our borderless network infrastructure will run at 94 sites. We’ve set up 1,800 wireless access points and installed 16,500 IP telephones. That’s not to mention the 65,000 active connections and 80,000 data ports. And it all needs to be tested. We need to make sure that, come the Games, we perform to the best of our ability because the network infrastructure is behind everything from big screens at the live sites to information for organisers, competitors and fans. Critically, it’s also behind the results process. It makes sure the venue results system feeds into central information systems and the Internet.
You can see why the IOC mandates two full technical rehearsals. Information is at the heart of the Games.
As part of CSIRT’s mobile monitoring offering for special events, we undertook monitoring of the corporate and customer traffic of the Cisco House at the London 2012 Olympics. This engagement presents us with an excellent opportunity to showcase Cisco technology, while keeping a close watch on potential network security threats. CSIRT monitoring for this event will be active for the entire life-span of the Cisco House, from two months before the Olympics, until two months after.
For the London 2012 engagement, we shipped our gear in a 14RU military-grade rack that is containerized: made for shipping. Inside the mobile monitoring rack we have an assortment of Cisco kit and third-party kit that mirrors the monitoring we do internally:
Catalyst 3750 to fan out traffic to all the other devices
FireEye for advanced malware detection
Two Cisco IronPort WSA devices for web traffic filtering based on reputation
Cisco UCS box where we run multiple VMs
Lancope StealthWatch collector for NetFlow data
and a Cisco 4255 IDS for intrusion detection
We mirror the signatures that we have deployed internally at Cisco out to these remote locations. Depending on the environment where the mobile monitoring rack is deployed, we may also do some custom tuning. The kit in the mobile monitoring rack can do intrusion detection, advanced malware detection, and collect and parse NetFlow and log data for investigation purposes. The Cisco UCS rack server also helps us have several VMs, allowing us to run multiple tools that complement the other devices in the rack. For example, we run a Splunk instance on a VM to collect the logs generated by all the services. The data from the gear in the mobile monitoring rack is analyzed by our team of analysts and investigators, to eliminate false positives, conduct mitigation and remediation, and finally produce an incident report if required.
By George Tupy, Marketing Manager, Cisco Service Provider Video
It’s one of the most exciting times of the year here at Cisco. Not only are we exhibiting at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Las Vegas, we are entering the home stretch for our third consecutive partnership with NBC as they prepare to present the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Once again, Cisco will be helping NBC capture 17 action-packed days of Olympic Games coverage by providing a massive, high-speed IP video network. As we did previously in Beijing and Vancouver, this broadcast-grade Cisco infrastructure will allow NBC to bring every minute of every event back to its studios in New York, and allow editors and shot selectors to work on Olympic footage as it is captured, from thousands of miles away. With the help of Cisco video technology, NBC will also bring viewers closer to the games than ever before, providing thousands of hours of live events, on-demand highlights, and behind the scenes footage to viewers’ PCs, smartphones, and tablets.
Just as exciting, the London Olympic Games will mark the first “Videoscape Olympics.” Using Cisco Videoscape technology, NBC will deliver a personalized, interactive, multi-screen Olympics experience to select users at event venues and accommodations. Users will be able to watch six live TV channels and hundreds of hours of on-demand Olympics coverage on their smartphones and tablets for the duration of the games.
The logistical and technical preparation involved in supporting a major worldwide broadcast event like the Olympics is a monumental effort, and here at Cisco, we feel like we are preparing for a marathon ourselves. It’s a credit to all of the amazing people at Cisco and NBC who are working around the clock to make it happen, and to the close working partnership our companies have developed. Just ask Craig Lau, vice president of Information Technology for NBC Olympics, who recently said, “Cisco helped us exceed our goals in Vancouver and Beijing. We look forward to London.”
Bookmark this blog for continuing coverage of our participation in the London Olympic Games. More to come!
The essence of sponsorship is the right of association, as enshrined in the International Chamber of Commerce’s definition:
‘Any communication by which a sponsor, for the mutual benefit of sponsor and sponsored party, contractually provides financing or other support in order to establish a positive association between the sponsor’s image, brands, products or services and a sponsored event, activity, organization or individual.’
The difference between the Olympic and Paralympic Games and other major sporting events is that they are the only property that offers sponsors virtually nothing but the right of association. Unlike other platforms, which will build in assets and benefits to their sponsorship package like perimeter board branding or event tickets, the only direct benefit you get from investing in a Games sponsorship is the right to use certain logos and marks. Even then, these must be approved on a case by case basis. Everything else, including hospitality tickets, comes at an incremental price.
So Games sponsors cannot rely on a nice big advertising value equivalent from broadcast brand visibility to justify the fee internally. They are forced to be much more disciplined in their assessment of how a Games sponsorship will create an acceptable return on investment. These sponsors must focus on who their target audience/s are, why partnering with the Games is relevant to them, how they are going to communicate those messages effectively and what is the desired behavioural outcome.