Councils partner with US firm to guard against cyber-attacks

16 May 2019

Orbis Partnership, a public sector alliance in the UK, has joined forces with US software company Splunk and is using its services to guard against cyber-attacks.

Formed in south-east England by East Sussex County Council, Surrey County Council and Brighton & Hove City Council, Orbis spans 550 sites and offers services such as finance, procurement and human resources to over 20,000 users.

It is using Splunk ES for early detection of security incidents in order to reduce costs and limit potential damage. When the WannaCry attack was carried out, the councils managed to quickly identify infected devices and removed them from the network before the ransomware worm could spread to other devices.

Orbis chose Splunk ES because it is flexible and offers a centralised view of its security, compliance and IT operational requirements. At the same time, the software solution gives each council ownership and control over its data.

“The Splunk platform fundamentally underpins Orbis’ compliance strategy,” said Orbis technical delivery manager Morgan Rees. “By automating the collection, search, alerts and reporting of logs and machine data, it’s become easier than ever to build a full audit trail. Splunk Enterprise Security provides us with both confidence and flexibility when handling the general public’s personal data or interacting with other government bodies such as the Public Services Network and National Health Service.”

Orbis is also using Splunk Enterprise to quickly detect and resolve IT faults, in addition to minimising downtime and disruption of crucial government services such as social care, waste and road management.

Splunk EMEA sales vice president Richard Timperlake said that with public sector finances coming under increasing pressure, government organisations demand cost effective solutions that benefit their constituents.

“The Orbis Partnership is a great example of how a single software platform can have widespread benefits across different parts of an organization,” he said. “Not only are the councils now better protected, they have also reduced costs through tool consolidation.”