Author: Anouck van der Ham

Blogs

What do we aspire in Europe?

 

What do we aspire in Europe?

Everybody working in Telecom and IT knows that developments are going faster and faster. We have only just gotten used to 4G and then the auction for 5G is on the doorstep and the technology for 6G with speeds that literally make us dizzy is already partly conceived. We live in a fantastic era where new applications and the convenience of these applications, as a result of the removal of the “bandwidth barrier”, is or will be accessible to everyone.

Nevertheless, it is important to put the playing field and interests into perspective once again.

It has not been very long since we completed the UMTS auctions. The revenue for the Dutch state amounts to € 2.7 billion. As a result, for years no investments in innovation, thousands of redundancies at Telecom operators (also due to the internet crisis) and innovation that did not take place or at least too slowly. Great for the Dutch state but of course a vision that is focused on the short term.

A few years later the 4G auction, also here the Netherlands excels with a record yield this time as much as € 3.8 billion. An exceptionally nice amount and certainly if you compare this with the directly surrounding countries where the yield in the UK compares poorly with a yield of only € 2.7 billion (in terms of inhabitants practically 4* greater than the Netherlands) and Germany with a yield of no less than € 5 billion. Which is de-facto more compared to the Dutch situation but also practically 5* more inhabitants.

Here too, the story is well known, profits are under pressure (the frequency licenses have to be written off and the network built) and thousands of people are made redundant (partly due to automation) in order to meet the demands of shareholders and investors.

In the meantime, Italy has raised € 6.5 billion with the auction of the 5G frequency licenses, which far exceeds the expectations of the Italian government, as only half of the amount was expected. In the short term this will also be an excellent yield for the Treasury, but the question is whether it will benefit the economy, the digital economy and the development of new technology and therefore also profitability across the business community. Too much is still thought in the short term. Meanwhile we have already reached the IOT era, its complete industries and branches are dependent on the proper functioning of mobile networks and the development of groundbreaking functionality that in an increasingly global world with ditto global and therefore also low(er) wage competition are simply necessary to give us a head start in Europe, or even better to create a head start and to maintain in the long term.

This requires long-term thinking. Can it be done differently? Certainly, but governments will have to play the game. Instead of billions in revenue, they will have to settle for a sustainable extra revenue of several hundred millions (e.g. the Netherlands) per year that the telecom industry can generate. It is very simple. The hundreds of millions of write-downs on licenses (assuming they are depreciated over 10 years with interest) can (no should be part of the deal with the government) be used for annual innovation. Assuming that the 5G auction would also yield at least € 3.8 billion, this would provide an annual economic stimulus that the Telco’s and the suppliers contracted by the Telco’s should put into innovation as much as around € 440,000,000 per year. What a great economic stimulus and that over a period of 10 years. The advantage for the government is that less subsidies need to be provided, at least (assuming that 60% of this money eventually goes to new jobs) around 3000 new jobs are created with great tax revenues (not to mention the extra spending pattern – consumer spending). There is an incredible amount of VAT and profit that can be taxed in an industry that traditionally already shows high profitability.

The long term case? For Europe, this will not only yield more financially in the long term (I expect a tipping point somewhere between 8 and 11 years compared to the short term variant) but especially in the field of innovative and sustainable development. A more competitive economy, resilient to a good stimulation climate where the industry and outside the industry will generate many new start ups and new business ideas that will benefit us all.

So Europe, what is it going to be? The gaps that may appear in a budget can not be solved in another way?

Mailing

Lawful Interception re-invented

 

Lawful Interception re-invented

Telecommunication operators are obliged by Law to have a Lawful Interception Solution in place. Due to constantly changing social aspects, and the increasing amount of technology and data, more and more interceptions needs to be verified, managed and monitored by Telecommunication Operators. Most of today’s deployed solutions are not designed for the increasing amount of traffic and workload. These solutions are also not designed to comply with the regularly changing requirements of governments, your own organization, telecommunication regulators, or certification institutes. Proving that you are compliant for the entire process and workflow is usually a complex task. Current solutions can potentially be expanded with automated process tooling, but in many cases at extreme costs.

Group 2000, architects in safety and intelligence, are for 40 years an expert in creating, managing and re-innovating business or compliance issues you might have. Our standard and flexible technology is truly designed to answer the above mentioned critical and important issues. Our LIMA solutions can be tailored to your working processes, or if needed we can advise adjusting your processes in a manner that a better efficiency, and hence cost efficiency can be reached. With LIMA business automation, there is no need for you to replace the current solution you already have in place. We enrich your environment and make sure that you are compliant not only for today, but for the years to come, including all details like checks, logs, reports, and validation measures embedded in the platform. We make sure that your security department will be more efficient, and fewer costs via a structured and uniform method. We optimize the total cost of ownership for your environment and are 100% transparent when it comes to the costs for the entire lifetime of our relationship.

Group 2000 is an IT security expert with deployments across the world covering 40% of the top global mobile network operators. It is our objective to perform for you. It is embedded in our working methods, processes and more importantly our company culture and DNA to exceed. We are critical towards ourselves and you in order to make your business more sustainable and predictive for the years to come. Besides LIMA Business Automation, Group 2000 has created an extensive range of compliance, monitoring, and sensor solutions and services. We are more than happy to explore the value add to your organization.

Blogs

Using workflow management for smooth handling of legal warrants

 

Using workflow management for smooth handling of legal warrants

To fulfill legal obligations, Telecommunication network operators are obliged to handle legal warrants for Lawful Intercepts and Lawful Disclosures. With increasing numbers of warrants and the use of electronic handover interfaces, network operators may come in the situation where they feel that they are losing control over the process. A workflow management tool may assist them in this process and help them to get back into operation whilst cover and log all the steps in the process for compliance and audit purposes..
LIMA workflow tooling would ideally assist the user in the process of validating warrants, creating the interception and/or disclosure requests and in handling disclosed results. As companies and processes within companies differ, the exact implementation of the process would need to be attuned to the customer’s process flow to reflect the required working method. LIMA workflow tooling is designed for this purpose.

LIMA Workflow Management tooling can provide benefits in regulatory environments where a separation of concerns is required: e.g. where the Legal Authorities enter the warrant and the Provider validates the warrant and handles the request (i.e. implement four-eyes principle). This may apply to environments where warrants are electronically transferred but also to environments where warrants are entered manually.

In an environment where requests are handled manually, a workflow management tool may benefit in keeping associated documents together, monitoring the timelines and keeping an auditable record. The process flow is guarded as tasks are created automatically for each user action in the flow.

When using an electronic handover of warrants, a workflow management tool will automatically create the initial task and ensures that this task is always followed up. The received warrant document is associated with and accessible from the task and warrant parameters may be entered automatically when these are available in the handover protocol. Tasks are created automatically for each step that requires user attention.

Group 2000‘s LIMA Workflow Management is an add-on on the LIMA Lawful Intercept and LIMA Disclosure Management user interface that address the above needs and assists users in processing warrants according to the customer’s process flow ensuring that you are compliant, anytime! A central place is created where related documents are kept together, timelines are monitored and actions are audited. A seamless integration with an electronic warrant handover can be achieved, and SLA timelines can be monitored.

Group 2000, your partner in optimizing regulatory processes and tooling.

Events

RAN World 2018 – Rome (09 – 10 October…

 

RAN World 2018 – Rome (09 – 10 October 2018) 

RAN World is the essential meeting place for the operator, research and vendor communities looking to get the most out of the network, and to pave the way for next generation networks. The event is bringing a select group of 250 senior decision makers together.

October 9th – 10th, 2018 – Sheraton Parco De’ Medici, Rome Hotel, Rome, Italy

 

Events

Cyber Security Week – The Hague (04 – 05…

 

Cyber Security Week – The Hague (04 – 05 October 2018)

On 4 & 5 October a dedicated CSW Expo will take place at the Fokker Terminal in The Hague. During the expo, national and international organisations will display their innovative cyber security solutions. By participating, you will get access to extensive technology expertise and new business channels. Each day, more than 800 visitors are expected.

October 4th – 5th, 2018 – Fokker Terminal, The Hague, The Netherlands

Blogs

Is your lawfully intercepted data complete and trustworthy?

 

Is your lawfully intercepted data complete and trustworthy?

Lawful Interception is a powerful tool for Police and Intelligence Services to fight crime and terrorism. Obviously, the availability of lawful interception is of paramount importance and even a short downtime of this service could have disastrous consequences for ongoing investigations.

Thus Police and Intelligence Services invest heavily in the quality of monitoring centers, e.g. by implementing a high availability configuration, train their technical staff to monitor the system around the clock and enter into a 24×8 maintenance and support contract with their supplier. Despite all these precautions, something could still go wrong and valuable data to fight crime and terrorism could be lost forever.

The cause for a disruption of the lawful interception service might not even be found in the technical environment of the law enforcement agency. There is also a dependency on the systems that are installed at telecom providers. These systems intercept a target’s electronic communication in the telecom operator’s network and are a valuable part of the whole chain for lawful interception.

In short, for Police and Intelligence Services it is critical that they can trust the data provided by telecom providers and that no data is lost. Automated end-to-end Lawful Interception test tooling helps law enforcement with the validation of the complete LI chain for all telecom providers and ensures timely detection of certain non-compliances. For this purpose Group 2000 developed the LIMA Élite solution.

With the LIMA Élite solution, the complete paths from target interception in the network via the LI mediation systems at the operators to the Monitoring Center are automatically being tested, 24×7 for each operator, network, and technology. In case LIMA Élite detects an anomaly an alarm is raised instantly, alerting the LEA staff that actions are required to restore the LI chain.

Please, contact Group 2000 should you have an interest to learn more about LIMA Élite.

Blogs

How Mobile Network Operators benefit from active network capacity…

 

How Mobile Network Operators benefit from active network capacity management

One of the most valuable assets for an operator is the mobile network. The main source of income for an operator is the revenue generated from subscriptions that want to make use of the mobile network. A bad customer experience related to the mobile network will almost immediately cause a decrease in the revenue. Therefore terms like ‘quality of service’ or ‘quality of experience’ are very important for an operator.

The solution sounds simple, ensure that there is enough capacity available on the network.
However, in reality, dimensioning a mobile network is a very complex assignment that consists out numerous (external) factors that influence the available capacity of the network. Here are a few examples:

  • Weather conditions – The weather influence the range and capacity of a cell. Rain leads to a weaker signal in a certain area. This effect differentiates if it is raining heavily or even when the rain consists out or big raindrops.
  • Maintenance – A mobile network consists of a massive amount of equipment and there is always some sort of maintenance ongoing. In order to safely let the mechanic access a site, the operator needs to shut down all the cells located on that site. This means that the available capacity in that area is strongly reduced.
  • Area – An operator needs to take the area into account. Things like Football stadiums, train stations, hospitals or even property development have influence (in their own way) on the capacity needs in a certain area. For instance, when a new residential area is created the capacity need is bound to grow and when a football match is ended there is going to be a (short) peak in the capacity need.
  • Innovations – The evolution of smartphones (and apps) have changed the needs of the subscriber drastically. Also the introduction of LTE(4G) and the upcoming 5G the mobile network landscape is changing. With every technology evolution, the capacity is increased but the range of cell is reduced, meaning that more hardware is needed to replace a cell with ‘older’ technology.
  • Legislation – The operator(nor vendor) are bound to (local) rules and regulation that limits the transmitting power of the cell but also the height of the site or the allowed frequencies.
  • Events – New year’s eve and disasters cause massive peaks in demands.

Expanding a mobile network is very costly, so the operator cannot simply keep adding capacity to its network while on the other hand maintaining a concurrent pricing model. Also, the extra capacity is only required for a (small) period of time, after that the capacity will not be used.

The solution is network capacity management
With capacity management, the operator can influence the behavior of their network. The operator can configure QoS rules that will be applied when certain thresholds are breached. As a result, certain limitations will be applied and subscribers are limited in connectivity, speed or usage of services. By controlling the available capacity the need to expand the capacity for let say new year’s eve is reduced. Meaning that the operator will not be obligated to invest in the costly expansion of their network. With a capacity management solution, the operator has obtained the freedom to choose between expanding or what (percentage of) service needs to be limited.

Capacity management is implemented by the vendors of mobile network hardware based on standards that apply at that moment. As a result, the way capacity is managed differs per technology and per vendor while the majority of the mobile networks are multivendor and consist out of multiple technologies(3G,4G)

If we look back at the aforementioned examples then it is virtually impossible to define one set of QoS rules that apply all the time to the entire mobile network. The best solution for an operator differs per situation (or even per area). These are one of the reasons for Group 2000 to develop LIMA Network Protect.

LIMA Network Protect
Is a multivendor capacity management solution that is designed map (predefined) rules to one or more areas.
Network Protect monitors the network health and it can apply capacity management to all equipment in a certain area. Independent of the technology or vendors that provide coverage in that area.

LIMA network Protect can perform capacity management very locally, up to cell level. However, the solutions also focus on the most fine-grained method to provide the operator with maximal flexibility when it comes to shaping their network. Therefore the solution is also capable of differentiation between services or even applications.
The latter is useful when it comes to DDoS attacks or malicious/ malfunctioning apps that cause a disturbance on the mobile network. Like a few years back the Angry birds game that caused a signaling storm on a mobile network due to a programming error.

Blogs

How advanced mobile network capacity management benefits society

 

How advanced mobile network capacity management benefits society

Mobile telephony and data transfer are indispensable in society, not just residents, but entire industries nowadays depend on the correct, thus unperturbed, functioning of telecom networks. Failure of these networks due to calamities or targeted cyber-attacks can have major social disruption and economic consequences and harms the confidence of citizens, businesses, and governments in the vital (cyber) infrastructure. Uninterrupted access to 112/911 can therefore no longer be guaranteed in such situations. With great personal and social consequences.

 

Resilience

In case of calamities and large-scale events, cell towers are quickly overloaded. Neighboring cell towers try to cope with the capacity shortage, which also overloads them. Due to this domino effect, the entire mobile network can be impacted by a local incident.

This took place, for example, during the attacks of 22 March 2016 in Brussels. Due to the overloading of a small number of cell towers, the entire Belgian telephone network was affected and the crisis center was temporarily unavailable.

The fire in the Dutch Vodafone data center of 4 April 2012 could also be considered, which resulted that even the entire Dutch cabinet was unavailable for a number of days.

These recent calamities have shown that the telecommunications network is highly susceptible to overload in unexpected situations and that the consequences of this overload after the cause has been removed often last long.

In addition to calamities, cyber-attacks can also have a major impact on the availability of the mobile network. By (DDOS) attacks on the mobile infrastructure, it is relatively easy to overload a part of the network and thus creates a domino effect that affects the entire network.

Failure of the mobile infrastructure has an impact on the access to the emergency services 112 / 911. After all, about 93% of the 112 calls in the Netherlands take place via the mobile phone. The unavailability of the 112 service might have potentially fatal consequences. The expectation is that other countries will have similar numbers. Despite the fact that the legislator has legally stipulated that telecom providers must make provisions that are necessary to guarantee uninterrupted access to 112 / 911, in practice, it appears that the uninterrupted access to 112 / 911 could not be guaranteed.

The consequences of national outages of a mobile network as a result of a regional overload situation and the subsequent domino effect on the mobile network, such as in Belgium after the attacks in Zaventem, not only resulted in the unavailability of the national crisis center, but also took away the ability of citizens to do 112 emergency notifications. The sharing of experiences, compassion by citizens through the usual means (social media) was also greatly reduced. This situation has irrevocably impacted the citizen’s confidence in the mobile (critical) infrastructure.

Implementing a solution which ensures a higher availability of the mobile critical infrastructure, either through providing a faster recovery after a failure or which could detect and reduce the impact of a disruption, prevent the domino effect, would not only greatly benefit mobile operators, but more importantly also our society.

 

Environmental and health benefits

Cell towers are a fundamental part of each mobile network. Placement of these cell towers is subject to permits and acceptance of society. The arguments against expansion or placement of new cell towers are often: landscape pollution, extra radiation, and environmental impact. Often valid arguments, but in decision making these arguments often outweigh the advantages of a readily accessible mobile network. Nevertheless, a technology that reduces the need for extra placement of cell towers will have an ecologically positive impact. Implementing advanced capacity management tooling within the mobile network of a telecom operator would result less need to over-dimension their mobile network infrastructure and therefore fewer cell towers and fewer possible negative effects.

The implementation of LIMA Network Protect not only contributes to the resilience of the mobile network and the resilience of the society, but it also reduces the possible environmental and health impact of the placement of cell towers.

 

LIMA Network Protect

LIMA Network Protect ensures higher availability of the mobile critical infrastructure, through ensuring a faster recovery after failure. LIMA Network Protect can provide a clear picture of the disruption through the built-in dashboard so that those responsible can act more efficiently. It will make the inherently vulnerable telecom network more robust without drastic changes to the network and would reduce the need for planned overcapacity of the mobile network, resulting in environmental and health benefits.

For more information about our LIMA Network Protect solution, please visit our LIMA Network Protect website.

Blogs

Checks, balances, and measurements for your Lawful Interception IT…

 

Checks, balances, and measurements for your Lawful Interception IT Architecture

Lawful Interception (LI) architectures deployed in telecommunication networks consist of many complex building blocks which are connected and integrated together. If one of these building blocks fails for whatever reason, potential important and often crucial intercepted data can be lost. The result: insufficient proof in court and more important non-compliance with local regulation.

Both telecommunication operators and LEA’s have an increased demand to determine if the end-to-end communication and IT technology chain is acting according to requirements and standards. Hence the need for a comprehensive but cost-efficient monitoring and measurement solution was born. A solution reducing the complexity for all stakeholders in the domain whilst creating the unfailingly and consistently data you need for compliance (Network Operators) and guarantee to receive the right data (LEA’s).

Group 2000 has a long history regarding providing innovative and sustainable compliance solutions like LIMA Élite.

LIMA Élite was built around an existing monitoring and measurement platform used to simulate targets as the modems act as normal phones. Various actions are supported by the platform, like connecting to the right network and technology. Support for dialing, sending SMS and retrieving websites via the mobile connection was added to  complete the functionality of the existing platform. A new backend system orchestrates all tests and also acts as a law enforcement monitoring facility (LEMF) to validate the output of the LI environment.

Furthermore, we correlate the intercepted data with the right action taken and to verify that the interception is working. All relevant ID’s are embedded in the technology and functionality in order to ensure that correlation is done in a perfect way independently of the execution of the actions to support long delays in delivery of the intercepted data.

The LIMA Élite backend supports many input formats, like ETSI-232, LEMF specific export formats, ETSI-671, and many others. To support the flexibility in configurations of the backend, the software makes use of flexible and easy to configure open source technology like Docker.

The modularity of LIMA Élite solution also opens chances for other derived, however, useful solutions, which might be topic for a follow-up blog.

For more information about our LIMA Élite solution, please visit our LIMA Élite website.

 

News

Winners SBIR Cyber Security III Second Phase

Winners SBIR Cyber Security III Second Phase

At the end of 2016, The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) opened a third SBIR Cyber Security tender. The SBIR was focused on the resilience of our society and proposals had to concentrate on the research programmes of Nationale Cyber Security Research Agenda (NCSRA-II).

Recently, RVO has announced the 13 winners of the second phase: innovation development.

1. KPN

2. Group 2000 Nederland B.V.

3. Tracks Inspector B.V.

4. Delft Dynamics B.V.

5. Bitsensor B.V.

6. Adversitement B.V.

7. Slatman IT

8. Cybersprint B.V.

9. InnoValor B.V.

10. Embedded Acoustics B.V.

11. Software Improvement Group B.V.

12. Storro B.V.

13. Intrinsic-ID B.V

More information about the SBIR (in Dutch) and read the article in Computable.

(Author: The Hague Security Delta (HSD))