Building a secure rail network with O2

by John Acton, Managing Partner for Passenger Services

Technology is advancing at an incredible rate. Smart devices, the internet of things and bring your own device are all driving a new world in which ubiquitous connectivity is an expectation and not a luxury. But with demand increasing so must the capacity of your network infrastructure. It’s why Network Rail is working with O2 to develop their next generation Fixed Telecommunications Network known as FTNx. Last week, Clayton Nash, Head of Telecoms Products at Network Rail, spoke at an O2 event about how the new network will transform the UK railway.

FTNx is Network Rail’s critical, high speed optical and IP fibre infrastructure. It underpins the rail network and the many data hungry services required to keep the country moving. From corporate voice and data to connecting millions of sensors and devices across the UK railway, their network truly is a business critical asset.

That’s why, as well as the physical roll out of FTNx, we are also supporting Network Rail with training and development for the individuals that will be managing and maintaining the network. Through this partnership, Network rail will be able to offer a ‘carrier class’ service and ensure that the FTNx Network is fully utilised.

Naveen Kaushik, an IT security specialist from O2 responsible for public sector and passenger services, led another discussion around security. During his talk he outlined the threats that all network providers in the UK face from Cyber Security. With 64 days being the average time to find a security breach and 103 days being the average time to fix vulnerabilities[1], businesses can’t afford to delay reviewing and improving their security.

What stood out for me was how businesses need to first focus their efforts on educating the workforce. Every single person within your company needs to understand the importance of being compliant and prioritising security. If your workforce understands the implications of a security breach, they will be more likely to invest the time in preventing it. Once this education is in place, the long term focus should be on regular testing and establishing a Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) that’s able to manage the problem should there be a breach.

For passenger services, improved security means improved safety for passengers. With the right procedures in place, businesses will be able to protect their infrastructure and avoid becoming newsworthy for all the wrong reasons.

To find out more about our work with Passenger Services click here, or tweet me @actonjohn using #O2Passenger to get in touch.

[1] ‘The Post Breach Boom’ by the Ponemon Institute