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Bull, digital security on an industrial scale

Posted on 17 September 2012 by Pierre Picard

Bull: solutions from an industrial company specializing in digital security, to establish digital trust

As a cornerstone of trust, these days digital security is a major issue for businesses and the public sector alike. An issue that has become even more pressing with the advent of the Cloud and mobility, in our totally connected and digitalized universe. As European expert in digital security, Bull delivers made-to-measure answers to the new risks inherent in a world where digital technologies underpin the essential functions of every country’s critical infrastructures: from telecommunications to energy, from banking to transport…

Every minute of our lives, digital technology is there, making our existence simpler, more pleasant and more productive. Constant innovations in IT and electronics open up extraordinary new possibilities every day. But only on one condition: that we can really trust those systems. If we are to accept them and use them blindfold, we have to be absolutely sure that they are secure. But we live in a world full of threats. Some of them explicit: from simple malicious acts, right through to terrorism and organized crime. Some of them hidden: like hardware failures, human error and the vagaries of nature. Nevertheless, despite the fact that they are exposed and sensitive, the majority of digital systems have little or no security.

FranckAttacks against government institutions and leading companies, spectacular data losses, massive system failures… in recent years, many incidents have drawn attention to the vulnerability of today’s digital systems and the new scale of the dangers they face. At last, we are coming to realize that efforts to secure our digital systems have to be commensurate with their vital importance. Many organizations, both in the public and private sectors, are measuring the scale of the challenge: the ever higher direct costs of an incident are now, increasingly, accompanied by a dramatic loss of credibility and trust. Quite rightly, security is becoming one of the key elements of every big digital project and every tender document.

Against this backdrop, Bull’s role is to help companies, the organizations that operate vital infrastructures and governments to protect their information, communications, installations and personnel against the complex, multi-faceted threats that they face, in line with their security objectives.

Cyber-security: two vital aspects

The first thing that comes to mind when we talk about the security of digital systems, is cyber-security. This is defined as an information system’s ability to resist cyber attacks, in other words, malicious acts aimed at altering the confidentiality, integrity or availability of the system itself or the information it holds. These three characteristics (availability, integrity and confidentiality) – along with user authentication – are the key pillars of our cyber-protection offering.

In order to be effective, a cyber-security solution absolutely has to include two aspects. The first, of course, is protection: technical and organizational countermeasures are implemented to strengthen infrastructures, applications and data. But because it is impossible, both technically and financially, to comprehensively foresee all the risks and constantly evolving threats, active supervision is the second essential element of our cyber-security offering. Active supervision has two key objectives. The first one is to detect any suspicious behaviour (in terms of the system itself and/or one of its users) as early as possible. The second is to maintain the same level of security for the system, even though the threats it faces are changing all the time.

Thanks to an extensive range of products and services (unrivalled in France for example) Bull helps its customers to tackle these two dimensions simultaneously, to build a coherent, effective and proportionate cyber-security policy. From up-front consultancy, security engineering, intrusion tests and security audits, right through to secure hosting and data storage: Bull offers expert support services that minimize the number of contact points.

When it comes to products, Bull stands out, thanks to its capacity to respond to security needs from ‘sensitive but unclassified’ to ‘classified’ level and the comprehensive nature of its solution portfolio: Identity and Access Management (Evidian IAM9, E-SSO, Web Access Management, MetaPKI, Card Management System), network security (TrustWay encryption solutions), secure ‘end points’ (S-phone, globull), and data security (Data Loss Protection with our innovative solution visibull, CRYPT2Pay Hardware Security Module, CRYPT2Protect, Proteccio).

So Bull provides its customers with the resources they need to deal with increasingly sophisticated and targeted attacks, and to understand the security issues related to new ways of using technology (such as the Cloud, BYOD/Bring Your Own Device and virtualization), without delay.

Electronic warfare: controlling the airwaves to save lives

Another aspect of Bull’s digital security business more specifically concerns electronic warfare. In this case, it is not so much a question of protecting systems but, more directly, protecting the lives of military and civilian personnel, especially against the threats of terrorism and organized crime. With its signals intelligence and jamming solutions, Bull helps to control the electromagnetic spectrum and its use, for friendly purposes.

The Group offers a comprehensive range of COMINT (Communications Intelligence), ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) and signals jamming solutions. The latter, in particular, is used to secure military and humanitarian convoys and personnel movements against RCIEDs (radio-controlled improvised explosive devices).

Critical infrastructures: an industrial approach to integration

The third and final area where Bull operates concerns critical infrastructures. This refers to systems where failure can cause major damage: a shutdown or significant degradation may result in human casualties. To ensure the safety and security of these kinds of infrastructures, Bull develops comprehensive and resilient secure digital solutions.

To do this, the Group calls on six complimentary areas of technical skills – micro-electronics and electronics, IT (especially technical, industrial and embedded systems), networks, testing and measurement, systems integration and mobility – as well as its expertise in different industry sectors. This makes Bull much more than just a systems integrator, positioning it as an industrial company specializing in digital security capable of building made-to-measure, trusted systems – from start to finish – that are perfectly adapted to the reality of the risks and the specific issues of the organization and its activities. Typical examples include on-board computers used in aeronautical industry, command and control solutions for vital infrastructures, secure communications systems used in transport and site protection solutions.

So essentially, when it comes to digital security, Bull is involved on three fronts: cyber-security, electronic warfare and secure digital solutions for critical infrastructures. The Group’s Security Solutions Business Line is naturally developing its own business, but also supports the other entities within Bull on all aspects of digital security and resilience. Its leading-edge expertise and capacity for innovation represent a real differentiator and a major asset for Bull when it comes to winning new business, especially at a time when digital security is becoming a major criterion in invitations to tender.

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