Telstra launches open source powered security operations centre

Sydney and Melbourne facilities operated by the telco act as a ‘virtual SOC’, with the open source Apache Metron platform delivering security analytics

Telstra has formally launched the first of what is intended to be a string of Security Operations Centres (SOCs) that will deliver services to its enterprise and government customers.

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn and the minister assisting the prime minister for cyber security, Dan Tehan, today officially opened the Sydney SOC.

The Melbourne SOC will be formally launched shortly but is already operational. The centres act as a single ‘virtual SOC’, including a continuous videoconference link, and if one is not able to operate — today during the press tour of the Sydney SOC, for example — the other can take over.

The managed security services delivered from the SOCs are driven by Apache Metron, and the telco has contributing code to the open source project.

The telco’s director of security solutions, Neil Campbell, told Computerworld earlier this year that the SOCs and new platform are part of “reimagining” how managed security services are delivered, particularly in the context of the vast quantities of data enterprises find themselves grappling with thanks to developments such as the Internet of Things.

Using an open source solution offers the telco adaptability to both meet its customers’ needs and the challenges of competing in an evolving market. Campbell said today that the use of software with an open source licence also offers a cost advantage.

“Over many years through very significant investments we’ve developed deep skills and a broad cyber security capability,” Penn said today.

Penn told Telstra’s full year results briefing earlier this month that the telco had “more than 500 cyber-security experts”.

Telstra’s Network Applications and Services business revenue grew over 30 per cent to $3.4 billion, with managed network services growing by 10.3 per cent. “Our cyber security offerings were a big part of this success,” Penn told the results briefing.

With the new SOCs Telstra has “dialled-up” the security capabilities it is making available to its customers, the CEO said today.

Over 60 per cent of the businesses Telstra surveyed for a recent report had detected security incidents on at least a monthly basis in 2016.

“Cyber crime is growing; it’s growing because accelerating technology innovation means that the number of digital applications and services either as individuals or as organisations is increasingly rapidly,” Penn said.

“Like any risk, cyber risk needs to be managed,” the CEO said. “Telstra, with our long history of protecting our network and significant cyber security capabilities is well positioned to do just that.”

The explosion of data means that the future of security is machine intelligence coupled with human expertise, Penn said.

“With the volumes of data that we are seeing today driven by technology innovation it is impossible to see patterns and trends without machine learning. These new centres and our dynamic new offerings give us exactly this capability,” the CEO added.

The Sydney and Melbourne SOCs are the first components of a network of security operations centres, Penn said. The telco will launch more SOCs over “the next year or two” the CEO said. Telstra already has plans for “a small number of centres” in other countries.

The SOCs run on Microsoft’s Azure cloud service, which means it can meet any data sovereignty requirements in a number of regions around the world.

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