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8 IT lessons learned from the 2012 Summer Olympics

John Brandon | Aug. 15, 2012
The 2012 London Olympics weren't just about athletic prowess. This year's games saw more data leave Olympic Park and move around the world than ever before. The applications, infrastructure and technical know-how required to pull this off offers valuable lessons for CIOs as they plan IT projects.

6. Protect Lost or Stolen Devices

Venafi, an enterprise security company, conducted a phone research study and found there was a potential that 67,000 phones could be lost during the two-week period. Interestingly, Venafi spokesman Gregory Webb says the concept of a security perimeter for mobile devices just won't work at a widespread event like the Olympics. It's impossible to contain smartphones in a physical sense. Since many of the lost phones will be business-related, the only solution is to encrypt the data itself. Webb says the lesson is in protecting not just the network endpoints (the company servers), but the data itself and how the data is accessed.

7. Avoid Potential High-Profile Scams

Major events breed major scamming efforts, and the Olympics are no exception. During the Games, attendees are often caught in the thrill of the competition and can fall prey to sudden fake news announcements, such as tweets about a major criminal being captured with a link to find out more information.

Ondrej Krehel, the information security officer with IDentity Theft 911, says social engineering attacks will spike during major events. The lesson for any enterprise is that employees might be more susceptible to new hacking techniques if they are distracted.

8. Beef Up Data Center Capacity

Before any high-profile event, especially in the magnitude of an Olympic Games, be sure your data center can handle the onslaught. Neil Cresswell, managing director for infrastructure management company Savvis, says the company planned for the Olympics for 18 months. It added a fourth data center in London, increasing the megawatt capacity to 1.1 megawatts in the West London area. In addition, fuel generators were topped off as a secondary precaution, he says, in case there were any fuel transport problems. Finally, Savvis limited noncritical maintenance during the Games.


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