How important is it for operators not to experience downtime on their websites?
Gaming platform availability is paramount. Operators businesses can be totally online, hence they will not tolerate downtime for any duration, as it directly affects revenues, customer acquisition, retention, satisfaction and the ability to maintain and grow the business. Continent 8 supports operators in terms of infrastructure, network, system and security services with a total focus on availability and service level.
Is it possible to get 0 per cent downtime? What can operators do to reduce it?
While it is theoretically possible to achieve 0% downtime, in practice this is typically prevented by a number of factors. The exponential investment required, the limited ability to change the infrastructure, the drive for new games and features which are required to sustain the business, and to meet ever changing customer expectations, so compromises have to be made.
Customers should focus on acquisition of resilient infrastructure services to eliminate the predominant points of failure within an end to end architecture and work with a partner that can offer a total solution with business and technical resilience across multiple gaming jurisdictions. Continent 8 focus on high availability per data centre location, fully resilient network backbone spanning Europe, North America and Asia in terms of IP Transit and MPLS services, while offering fully managed services to support the gaming application.
Can an operator’s back office security be used to differentiate it from competitors? Is it an edge that can be marketed?
Data confidentiality in relation to an individual’s identity, contact and personal transaction details is of paramount importance in retaining credibility both in terms of the gaming operator, but also the confidence of the player themselves. While it may be perceived that external threats are the critical issues to be addressed, internal data protection processes are critical in the protection of back end systems. The adoption of a governance framework like CobIT and implementation of this in conjunction with PCI certification could be used to reinforce the public perception of an operator focused on gaming security and hence increased confidence with the customer base.
How important is it to protect against DDoS these days? Is it still a problem?
The need for DDoS was, is and will become more critical. This is on the basis of increased volume, size and frequency of attacks. I would reference the recent global report from Arbor (Arbor Networks 7th annual worldwide infrastructure security report) for more detailed information. Continent 8 provides a network wide DDoS protection platform to address this increasing threat and it should also be noted that the sophistication and intelligence level being utilised by the attackers is also increasing. This threat has been seen in the last 12 months through highly visible outages experienced within the gaming industry.
The level of sophistication, innovative behaviour in attack sequencing, and application specific threats are growing, so a comprehensive response from suppliers like Continent 8 will continue to be augmented to address this increasing threat.
Article appeared in Betting Business Interactive, Issue 90, March 2012