Gavin McLaughlin, Subject Matter Expert (SME) for Compliance Technologies, wrote this for me to include on my ‘blog:
Many EU member states have been working with Communication Service Providers (CSPs) for some time to help law enforcement agencies by providing telephony records, both for mobile and fixed line. The EU Data Retention Directive however (coming into force later this year) provides harmony across not only current member states, but ascending countries such as Bulgaria and Romania.
In the UK, this sees both Telephony companies and Internet providers needing to keep customers call and transaction records for between six and twelve months in a format that not only enables timely retrieval but ensure secure storage to prevent inappropriate access, interpretation and use.
Whilst the UK government are helping providers by offering monetary assistance, via the Home Office, it’s important to note that this is a distraction from their core business – that of maintaining revenue and retaining customers, especially with additional pressures from such items as roaming charges.
Therefore, to put a technology solution in place that requires mountains of hardware, complex relational databases, and expensive operators would not only complicate the issue, it would be a distraction from the key purpose of an operator – gaining and retaining customers, and ultimately that of making money.
When Sun put together it’s purpose-built solution, the Sun Secure Data Retrieval Server (SSDRS), four key elements were always in mind – Simplicity, Security, Performance and Cost (not only commercial, but environmental cost too). By selecting an appropriate indexing technology (in Coppereye‘s innovative “Live Archive” software) and coupling this with the Sun Thumper device (the X4500), we are able to cover all of the four key elements without potentially compromising the brand that CSPs have worked hard to build.
Yes, Sun could have put together a huge relational database, coupled it with mountains of processing power and tier one storage and made a fortune. It could easily have incorporated Identity Management software and lots of whizzy security tools but it would not only be over-kill, it would go against the key purpose of the whole EU Data Retention Act – providing law enforcement agencies with a cost-effective way to use technology advancements protect corporate citizens – oh and without creating tons of CO2 along the way !
On Sun’s side the people to congratulate are:
- Richard Jenner – Sun Systems Practise Solution Architect (SA) and Chief Architect of the SSDRS.
- Benedict (“Benny”) Faria – Sun Systems Practise SA.
- Dave Walker – Sun Security Consultant – Dave’s weblog is over here.
- Michael Bang – Sun Services – Support Planning & Design.
- Caroline Ward – Telecommunications, Media, & Entertainment (TME) Business Unit (BU) Director.
- Mike Osborne – TME BU Chief Technologist.
- Gavin McLaughlin – Subject Matter Expert (SME) for Compliance Technologies.
Richard and Benny did most of the technical work with security advice and support from Dave Walker, whilst Michael Bang provided the support planning.
Gavin built sponsorship from within Sun, enlisting the help and support of the Telco., Media and Entertainment Business Unit. He liaised with the EU Commission and the Home Office (in requirements gathering and analysis), developed the solution concept, product and contract design, and worked with marketing to develop the “go to market” strategy.
- Official Sun announcement: http://www.sun.com/aboutsun/pr/2007-06/sunflash.20070607.1.xml
- Sun Telco. site: http://www.sun.com/telecomm
- Horst Thieme weblog entry: http://blogs.sun.com/ibigfoot/entry/eu_data_retention_directive_made
- The Inquirer: http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=40216
- Tom’s Hardware: http://www.channel.tomshardware.com/2007/06/08/sun_launches_data_management_appliance/
Thankfully, at Sun, we’re not that terminally hip that we have had to start using the TIME (Telecommunications, Internet, Media, & Entertainment) acronym – yet.