AusCERT 2011: Telstra outlines security consolidation

Reduces costs, re-skills staff

Telstra has centralised its security environment, with program manager, Christopher Neal, saying that the telco has been able to reduce costs while re-skilling its staff.

Speaking at the 2011 AusCERT conference on the Gold Coast, Neal said having a large number of staff across a variety of departments handling security was becoming problematic for the telco, which decided to re-skill staff members.

“At any one given time there could be around three, four or even more people organising security [at Telstra],” he said.

“We’ve centralised responsibility, re-skilled and retrained a lot of people and aligned the organisation around the key pillars of CERT and then built a single set of tools and standards with a documented acceptance process.”

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Neal said Telstra chose to split its security staff across device management and security management as a whole.

“The challenge we have is that we have a quarter of a million network devices and 4000 security devices - how do the team have the time to look at the network devices?” he said. “We’ve split device and security management.”

The largest threats that Telstra have been observing against its security network since its security consolidation included the traditional malware attacks as well as attacks coming from social networking sites like Twitter.

Check out our comprehensive guide to AusCERT 2011.

“Malware incidents are up a little more than 100 per cent, but what is changing with malware is a move from a relatively small number of incidents and few hits per incident but an increase in the number of incidents,” he said.

“Twitter spam is 4.5 per cent of spam overall, and there is a shift from where it’s going - the size and scale of the team that we’ve built has allowed us to respond to this.”

The insights into Telstra’s consolidation come as Telstra security operations senior technology architecture specialist, Scott McIntyre, last week said complex IT security policies are leading to greater internal risk.

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