Largest German cable operator
The Vodafone company Kabel Deutschland (KD) is Germany’s largest cable operator. It offers its customers high definition (HD), digital (SD) and analogue TV, pay TV and digital video recorder (DVR) offerings, video on demand, broadband Internet (up to 200 Mb/s), WiFi services, and fixedline phone services via cable. Kabel Deutschland also provides mobile services.
Situated in Unterfoehring near Munich, the MDAX-listed company operates cable networks in 13 German federal states and supplies its services to approximately 8.3 million connected households.
As of 31 March 2014, Kabel Deutschland had approximately 3,700 employees. In the fiscal year 2013/14, the organisation reported revenues of EUR 1,900 million and an adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation) of EUR 910 million.
Currently, cable operators face a number of challenges that include: increased competition, security issues, the gradual move of television transmissions over the Internet, as well as the development of new technologies, devices, and digital-content-delivering platforms.
Security is a key challenge for cable operators with risks of hacking, content piracy, and unpermitted access to network infrastructures and data. The technical and regulatory requirements associated with cable operations also cause increases in complexity, time, expense, and risk.
The high bandwidth that cable operators provide for their customers can become a focus for cybercriminals. They want to use the bandwidth for illegal activities that can include file-sharing and botnets. Customers may also become targets for fraudulent activities.
All these factors apply financial and efficiency pressures to the daily operations of cable operators.
Security is the priority
Kabel Deutschland’s goal is to have a secure, efficient network infrastructure. Its complex network already incorporates sophisticated security software, but senior management wanted this enhanced to minimise the risk of hacking, which can negatively impact business confidence and customer numbers. Kabel Deutschland wanted to achieve enhanced security and improved efficiency, but keep its costs down.
Due to the size and complexity of its network, Kabel Deutschland needed many employees to administer the infrastructure. To be more efficient, it was necessary for these employees to manage more network devices, and in a secure manner.
Prior to this project, administrators accessed the company’s backbone infrastructure from a variety of mostly unmanaged client systems, and installed different tools and applications to customise their desktop environments. The variety of devices with access to the core network increased the risk of compromised security. Additionally, an increased demand for mobility and remote access had developed, which was creatively solved with a number of individual, remote-access solutions.
Kabel Deutschland is an organisation experiencing rapid growth. Its infrastructure must be secure and efficient to maximise opportunities and address the challenges that face cable operators in the current, competitive environment.