During the weekend of the attacks, Steeves contacted IBM’s cyber security team for advice on moving its web infrastructure to the cloud. IBM had already been conducting an extensive review of our in-house infrastructure for IT roadmap planning purposes. After assessing the situation, IBM recommended the OPS implement Akamai Kona Site Defender along with the IBM Managed Security Solution for attack monitoring and mitigation.
"We weren’t simply looking for any solution. We wanted one that was proven in the market but could also scale to address any threat level. According to IBM, the Akamai solution was the best one for the situation we were facing. Plus, it was proven to work in the cloud with IBM’s products," continues Steeves.
Within 30 hours of engaging Akamai, the OPS site had been migrated to the cloud and the Akamai solution was implemented. "We were very impressed with the speed of implementation, especially considering the required interactions between three third-parties: Akamai, IBM, and our existing web hosting provider," says Steeves.
Kona Site Defender incorporates three features used by the OPS: a Web Application Firewall, Fast DNS, and Site Shield. Kona Site Defender provides a Web Application Firewall enabled to deny application-layer and volumetric attacks, including DDoS, SQL injections, and cross-site scripting. Fast DNS became the Ottawa Police Service’s primary DNS infrastructure to protect the site from volumetric attacks that would deny service to visitors. Finally, Akamai Site Shield was enabled to deny attackers direct access to the OPS web infrastructure.
"With the Akamai solution in place, we’ve gained a bulletproof buffer against cyberattacks and threats of any scale and sophistication," explains Steeves. Moreover, Akamai reduced the load on the OPS infrastructure by absorbing 90% of hits from the edge. Plus, Akamai lowered the load on OPS servers by 83%.
At the same time, the OPS is assured that IBM’s cybersecurity team is monitoring its site 24/7. "If any attacks occur, we know IBM will address them in real time," continues Steeves.
According to Steeves, implementing Akamai Cloud Security Solutions has restored the public’s confidence in the Ottawa police. "The community feels that the police’s ability to protect itself – such as against DDoS attacks – is a direct reflection of its ability to protect the public. Now our citizens can feel more confidence in the police as a public institution," says Steeves.
Moreover, the OPS Internet security team no longer worries about cyberalerts to pagers or smartphones when they are away from precinct headquarters. In the past, team members had to respond whenever a web security threat was detected. "Akamai and IBM saved my security team from many intensive work shifts. My team can now sleep through the night while being assured that our site is well protected," concludes Steeves.
The Ottawa Police Service’s vision is to be the trusted leader in policing and is committed to protecting the safety, security, and quality of life in Ottawa.