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Cisco: Connecting You to The 2012 Olympic Games

Watch Cisco VP Marie Hattar as she discusses the 2012 Summer Olympics and its ability to connect humans across the globe. Cisco, an official 2012 Games sponsor, has implemented its Borderless Networks infrastructure, which allows us all to share and create new Olympic experiences.

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The Cost of Security During the Olympics

May 24, 2012 at 10:31 am PST

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.

That’s why Cisco is holding a security webinar with Deloitte, Atos and G4S on June 1st at 12:30 pm (PST). Read More »

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Technical Rehearsal 2: The Final Hurdle Before The Games

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.

The numbers

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.

Working together

You can see why the IOC mandates two full technical rehearsals. Information is at the heart of the Games.

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CSIRT Monitoring for Cisco House at the London 2012 Olympic 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.

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Full Speed Ahead for London Olympic Games with Cisco Videoscape

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!

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