BT opens a fancy new cyber security hub in Belfast

Telco group BT has opened what it calls a ‘state-of-the art cyber Security Operations Centre’ in Belfast as it continues its pivot towards security.

The Security Operations Centre (SOC) is based in BT’s flagship Riverside Tower building in Belfast, and has been set up to ‘leverage BT’s global security expertise and leading cyber technologies’ in order to defend the public and private sector against various forms cyber attacks, which it says are constantly increasing (as many firms involved in the sector seem to have concluded).

The opening of the new facility follows the award of a £6.3 million contract from the Department of Finance for the provision of a Security Information Event Management (SIEM) and SOC managed services. We’re told the unit will provide ‘24/7 management 365 days a year’ for ICT assets across the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

It forms part of a wider multi-million pound investment by BT in the building, with all 11 floors currently undergoing refurbishment to create a new workplace for 1800 people, due to be completed early next year.

“Each day, millions of people around the world rely on BT’s expertise in cyber security to ensure they can go about their lives and run their businesses safely,” said Paul Murnaghan, Regional Director for BT’s Enterprise business in Northern Ireland. “Our investment in the opening of BT’s Security Operations Centre in Belfast is significant and we look forward to working with the Northern Ireland Civil Service in this partnership to deliver the most effective cyber support for the public sector here.

“Using a wealth of talent from local cyber experts, the SOC will help to tackle the unprecedented challenges of sophisticated cyber threats. As an increasing number of public services are delivered online, our partnership with central government will help to ensure that the public can trust the services that they access and that the data they provide is secure and protected.”

At recent reshuffle in the BT high command seemed to reveal desire to make security a more prominent component of the group’s strategy. CTO Howard Watson was made Chief Security and Networks Officer and his revamped Networks organisation will consist of: Network Services, Strategy & Research, Cyber & Information Security, Operational Resilience & Service Management, Security Transformation and Health, Safety and Environment.

This reshuffle also led to the departure of Chief Architect Neil McRae. Check out this recent episode of the podcast in which we take a deeper look at the reshuffle and what it means for BT’s trajectory in security.


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