by George Nott

Optus Business opens $10M Sydney cyber centre

Nov 02, 2016
Telecommunications Industry

Optus Business opened a $10m Advanced Security Operations Centre (ASOC) in Sydney this morning, as part of its parent company Singtel’s push to secure the “global leadership position” in managed security services.

The black-walled, windowless and restricted access facility sits within a building on Optus’ Macquarie Park campus, and joins a rapidly expanding network of ASOCs worldwide operated by Singtel.

This network of eight centres mean security operations “follow the sun” and are on “around the clock” for customers, Optus Business’ managing director John Paitaridis said.

“The ASOC specifically provides proactive threat management, in-country forensic capabilities including incident response, access to best of breed cyber security technology partnerships and combined threat intelligence, all consolidated within the centre to provide a truly global cyber view,” Paitaridis told media while giving a tour of the new centre.

From a cavernous war room within the facility, a switch can be flicked to turn opaque glass panels transparent, and provide views across Optus’ Network Operations Centre down one side and the ASOC on the other. The ASOC is powered by Trustwave, which Singtel acquired for US$850 million last year.

Within the ASOC sits three teams: a security device management team which monitors and manages existing Trustwave propriety products and third party products; a global threat operations team responsible for looking at traffic flows across a customers’ network, analysing intrusion detection systems and “weeding out false positives”; and a Trustwave SpiderLabs team, described as an “elite team of ethical hackers, forensic investigators and researchers”.

On one wall of the ASOC, above screens displaying threat dashboards, red LED clocks display the times in Singtel’s other security centres in the US, Poland, Canada, Singapore and the Phillipines. A ninth ASOC in Tokyo will begin operations shortly. Together these centres boast some 2,000 security professionals, the company said.

Global actor

Building a global footprint was a necessity if Singtel is to “secure the global leadership position” in managed cyber services, Singtel chairman Simon Israel told an audience of industry figures and vendors at the Sydney ASOC’s opening ceremony.

“As we at Singtel began to look at this space and our own particular strategy, one of our key realisations was it’s very difficult to be good at cyber as a domestic business,” he said. “You really need to be a global actor… So over the last few years we’ve been investing in building a global business with a footprint of cyber capability, facilities and resources and over the last 12 months we’ve taken a number of steps to secure the global leadership position.”

Those steps include acquisitions like Trustwave – which operates as a standalone business unit of Singtel Group Enterprise – as well as partnerships with FireEye, Palo Alto Networks, Checkpoint and Akamai. Optus Business and Singtel were fast becoming the “key partner of choice” for the cyber security ecosystem, Paitaridis explained.

“This powerful partner ecosystem ensures Optus customers will access the latest best of breed security technologies, allowing for proactive management and support by a single provider with deep capabilities and global presence,” Paitaridis added.

Investment drive

In Australia, cyber security is Optus Business’ single biggest area of investment, Patraidis said.

Last week, Optus Business announced an $8 million partnership with La Trobe University to establish an industry-focused cyber curriculum. The company is a partner in the Data61 Cyber Security and Innovation Hub which formally launched in Melbourne last month and earlier in the year made a $10 million co-investment with Macquarie University to establish a Cyber Security Hub to offer courses to students and businesses.

It is currently launching Optus Digital Thumbprint, a digital education program aimed at school years 7 to 12 with an aim to develop cyber aware online users.

“Most organisations globally and here in Australia are not equipped to deal with cyber threats,” Paitaridis said. “No organisation can go it alone. Organisations must partner and they must collaborate and ensure they have the latest cyber security defensive capabilities to protect their employees and to protect their customers.”