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Data network protection
Ava Group has been selected to protect the Ministry of Defence in India’s closed user group data network from the threat of tampering and tapping. The project to deploy fibre optic intrusion detection and location is valued at around US$11m. 

Ava Group Chief Executive Officer, Chris Fergus says: “We are proud that the Future Fibre Technologies (FFT) solution has been selected through a rigorous competitive tender, to deliver the very highest levels of protection to a closed data fibre optic network.”

The Indian network is one of the largest in the world and used by more than one million military personnel. Ava says that any data network is as strong as its weakest link. Government departments, intelligence services, military organisations, banks, nuclear facilities and commercial businesses with intellectual property will have measures in place to mitigate physical and cybersecurity threats yet are often oblivious to the danger of leaving even a closed fibre network unprotected. As such, the asset owners can be exposed to the threat of state-on-state action, terrorism and industrial espionage, or an incident without motive.

With low-cost readily available technology that requires little expertise, it is possible for an agenda-driven individual, or state-sponsored actor to tap and infiltrate a network at the fibre optic level and harvest data, without raising the alarm, or leaving an evidence trail, Ava adds. Chris Fergus says: “Any data breach is of grave concern, but those that pass undetected raise the stakes significantly. What’s more, in some instances fibre networks run across vast distances, meaning there could be tens of thousands of potential entry points for attack.”

Unlike the widely used data encryption and protection schemes used to protect data in transit, Ava Group says its solution does not involve manipulation or processing of the data streams, thus avoiding third-party access to the data and so introducing additional vulnerabilities. Processing or encryption of the data has a significant detrimental impact on bandwidth and latency, thus negating a major benefit of using fibre networks.

Kevin Berry, Ava Group’s Head of Information Security says: “The FFT solution does not see or process the data, cannot access it and there is no requirement for encryption. Consequently, the network infrastructure is fully protected at every point and crucially performance is unaffected. Another major benefit of the FFT solution is that deployment is completed with zero network downtime and can be rolled out across live infrastructure utilising dark fibres.” A further reason for organisations to choose Ava Group company solutions is the recent launch of its Global Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence (CCoE). The initiative provides all customers with expert guidance and assurance that the products deployed on their data networks meet globally-recognised cybersecurity standards.