The DP World Tour is leading a digital transformation effort with a vision where technology touches every aspect of the game.
Technology can help to straddle the gap between on-course spectators and armchair viewers by delivering rich and immersive content to enhance the storytelling and helping to make everyone feel connected to the action. Media and commercial partners also benefit from access to compelling content to engage their audiences. In short, the operation of individual events and the entire Tour is now being delivered more effectively. Technology means that staff can be more productive and more agile, whether they are at home, at the Tour HQ in Wentworth, UK or at an event.
Central to the vision is not just the concept of connected course but ultimately the intelligent course. This moves very quickly from IoT connected hand sanitisers and entry systems to a world of insight where for example 15 data points are gathered for each golf swing in real-time and a further 15 weather metrics collected across each hole on the course every three seconds. The intelligent course sees data, insight and rich content flowing between players, the media, partners, fans, event and Tour staff and a host of connected devices. The second element of the vision is to deliver the intelligent course at every tournament in a consistent, high quality and effective manner. The central strategy to make this a reality is the idea of the Tournament as-a-Service capability. Whether an event is staged by the Tour, co-sanctioned or run by a promoter, Tournament-as-a-Service means not only that all stakeholders get a consistent and repeatable experience, but that this is delivered effectively. With a preconfigured and packaged selection of hardware, software, networking and services, fewer people are required to travel to events in order to deliver the intelligent course. This ultimately means greater sustainability with a smaller footprint, whilst delivering a consistently high-quality service.
Creating a Strong Foundation
Every vision needs to be built from the ground up with a strong foundation. The transformation to the intelligent course and the Tournament-as-a-Service model creates a richer, more agile and more accessible environment. As a natural consequence, with greater access comes increased vulnerability, unless security converges with networking to become an integral component of that transformation.
“The Fortinet Security Fabric ensures that as the organisation becomes more dependent on technology, we can continue with confidence that the transformation is secure and trusted”, said Cole. “This transformation has highlighted the importance of our data. It is our currency from which we create intelligence and insight that we can utilise around our operations, with our commercial partners, and with our own marketing teams to drive real benefit. It was therefore critical that we looked to secure it.” In addition to hardening security, the Fortinet Security Fabric supports this transformation by enabling better scoping of the Tour infrastructure for the future. With enhanced visibility and analytics, the Tour will get a better understanding of inbound and outbound data, which services are being used and how much bandwidth they are consuming. These insights on flows, behaviours and access patterns will then be used to inform future architecture and service needs.
Securing the Remote, Agile Enterprise
The first step in a phased approach to delivering the intelligent course was to securely connect the DP World Tour extended workforce, unleashing productivity and enabling a more agile approach for both the Tour’s office staff and its event staff. “While the integration of Fortinet’s security products and services is absolutely an exercise in risk mitigation, it is also an exercise to increase our productivity and efficiency by opening up access to key systems and databases wherever our staff are located, but in a secure and safe manner from across the globe”, said Graham Gifford, Head of IT at the European Tour group. As an organisation now running in the cloud, the ability for teams to work effectively from anywhere, at home, in the office, at a tournament or on the move in between has become second nature. As part of this transition to fully agile working, the organisation needed to ensure that a strengthened and effective security posture was in place with zero-trust enforcement regardless of location. While hardening endpoints and perimeters was the primary task in this phase, it was key that the solution is also transparent and simple, for both users and the IT team.
Gifford continued, “Ideally, security technology should be frictionless and so our staff should not be experiencing any degree of restricted access or impact to how they work. It is a zero-trust approach, but as long we recognise the device and the user, then policy will permit us to continue to offer an agile way of working.” FortiGate Next Generation Firewalls (NGFW), along with real-time FortiGuard Security Services, were installed at key locations including offices in Dubai and the UK HQ at Wentworth, warehouse facilities in the UK, in the cloud and as part of a number of pre-configured event kits. Protecting inbound and outbound data, multiple firewalls were deployed at several locations to provide full redundancy. FortiExtender meanwhile provides reliability to network connections by extending the reach of the Fortinet Security Fabric from Wired access to 4G/5G Wireless WAN, providing extra capacity and redundancy to all remote devices.
FortiManager allows remote management of the entirety of the estate from one singular pane of glass. With limited employee resource within the IT Team, it is simple and easy to use and means the team can easily understand the network topology and orchestrate security services for all connections. Along with FortiAnalyzer this enables the team to keep track of real-time security status and deliver automated compliance reporting, again reducing the burden on resources. Over 500 FortiClient licences deliver lightweight client security software on Tour owned laptops and mobile devices, including anti-virus and malware protection as well as ZTNA functionality. The use of FortiClient means that when users leave a protected office network the security rules and security features will still apply to the client regardless of what network they are on. FortiMail secure email gateway adds further protection to 550 devices for what is still the most common attack vector. The email security solution provides powerful multi-vector detection and protection capabilities including URL click protection, filtering and real-time scanning for cloud-based Office 365 as well as a further layer of anti-virus and malware protection. The Tour also elected to adopt the FortiPhish service to ensure that end users remain vigilant. The phishing simulator delivers increasingly sophisticated attempts to test user awareness of phishing emails. The analysis tools and further training mean that the organisation as a whole remains alert to one of the most important attack routes for bad actors. “In addition to delivering key security technology capabilities, we felt it was important that Fortinet helped us to educate our employees, enhancing their skills and increasing understanding of the role that they all play in cybersecurity,” said Gifford. He concludes, “Security is critical to underpin this transformation. The Fortinet Security Fabric means that as we evolve, we can provide greater access to our insight and content while at the same time hardening our security to address any vulnerabilities that such access implies. We started by increasing the agility of our internal teams and will look at addressing wider audiences in future phases.”
Fortinet Security Fabric: Cybersecurity Mesh Platform for the Intelligent Course
As the DP World Tour builds on the initial implementation phase, the Fortinet Security Fabric will allow the organisation to scale real-time visibility and control as the intelligent course becomes a reality and is opened up to thousands of fans each with their own device.
The ability to identify different types of traffic such as social media, web, email, and voice and to have control over how services consume bandwidth will be paramount. In future this will include dynamic traffic shaping and control using policy based routing and security as well as granular application and URL control to protect the infrastructure and stakeholders on the network.
Cole summarised the relationship: “A secured infrastructure is a necessity for any organisation. However, with our digital transformation to the intelligent course increasing data flows and opening up services to wider audiences, we decided that a cybersecurity mesh platform approach was needed to make the intelligent course not only a reality, but a secured reality. With the visibility, control and flexibility provided by the Fortinet Security Fabric, and the best-in-class infrastructure solutions, Fortinet’s vision mapped perfectly to our own.”