Nuclear Security Summit 2014

Nuclear Security Summit 2014: BT helps world summit stay secure


BT cyber security expertise helps Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs create safe environment for Nuclear Security Summit 2014

When 5,000 delegates including 58 world leaders and representatives from the United Nations, the European Commission, the European Union and Interpol gather in one place, security’s always going to be of the utmost importance.

The challenge facing Han-Maurits Schaapveld, responsible for organising the third Nuclear Security Summit 2014 in The Hague, wasn’t just about physical security during the summit itself, because cyber security needed to be of the highest order too. BT expertise and knowhow in all those areas helped Han-Maurits run a supremely safe and successful event.

We were very grateful that BT agreed to share its wealth of cyber security expertise with us; the learning from its vast experience from the London Olympics being particularly relevant. BT Advise consultancy proved of enormous value, while its connectivity services were impeccably delivered.”
- Han-Maurits Schaapveld, Director, Nuclear Security Summit 2014, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Security vital at high-profile summit

Speaking in Prague in 2009, US President Barak Obama labelled nuclear terrorism “one of the greatest threats to international security” – actioning that statement with a Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in Washington DC the following year and another in Seoul in 2012.

Hosted by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague, the third NSS took place in 2014, bringing 58 world leaders, 5,000 delegates and 2,000 journalists together. Given the subject matter and the high-profile delegate list, security would be of utmost importance. Not just physical security but cyber security, particularly around the NSS website that hosted the vital delegate registration portal.

Martijn de Graaf, from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the project lead for IT and telecommunications at the summit, says: “We were keen to learn from others with knowledge of dealing with such major international events. So when BT offered to share its experience from the London 2012 Olympics, we accepted.”

Confidential senior-level disclosure

The information exchange took place in the UK. BT devised a two-day programme that would maximise value for the Dutch delegation. The programme had to be not just about cyber security, but all aspects of international event safety and security.

The initial session at the BT Tower included BT security experts and UK government representatives. On the second day the delegation visited the BT Sevenoaks cyber centre. Not only providing a first-hand review of the global capability BT has built, this also included a second in-depth debate, with additional disclosure of BT security operations both during London 2012 and subsequently in its day-to-day operations.

Martijn de Graaf recalls: “We learned so much in those two days. Some things just reinforced our thinking, but other aspects we might have overlooked or not even properly considered. The whole experience was absolutely invaluable.”

Virtual, physical and consultative contributions

One of the first challenges was to create the National Security Summit 2014 web site incorporating the delegate registration portal. “Given the relationship we’d developed we chose BT to provide secure connectivity for the delegate registration portal and deliver an ongoing monitoring service to protect against distributed denial-of-service attacks,” says Martijn de Graaf.

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs also engaged BT to review and critique its ICT project plan for the event. As well as reviewing the ICT plan the BT consultants imparted new ideas. For example, how to maximise reuse of the infrastructure built to support the NSS, drawing from BT sustainability initiatives following London 2012.

BT also provided the structured cabling infrastructure for the event. That involved upgrading existing cabling at the World Forum convention centre in The Hague, as well as an all-new cabling infrastructure for the temporary village housing thousands of support staff and journalists covering the event for the world media. It included over 70 kilometres of copper and optical fibre cabling serving fixed LAN ports as well as access points for Wi-Fi services. The installation work was completed on schedule and to budget.

Comprehensive precautions assured successful outcome

Thorough planning and preparation by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs paid dividends. Throughout the four-month registration period there was not one second of downtime and there were no other significant security breaches.

The comprehensive communications facilities provided were appreciated by delegates and support staff alike. “Looking back, we took every conceivable precaution on security to assure a safe and successful event,” concludes Martijn de Graaf. “One thing’s for sure and that is the advice and guidance provided by BT set us on the right track. The services it provided in support of the summit were first class.”

Core services

  • BT Security Consulting – professional services for cyber security
  • BT Internet Connect global – internet access services
  • BT One Enterprise – onsite structured cabling services


Case study