National Theatre | Entertainment
LogRhythm Delivers Compliance, Security and Operations Intelligence for the National Theatre
The National Theatre holds a vast amount of information about customers, employees and suppliers. As such, the organisation required a solution that would ensure compliance with PCI DSS and the Data Protection Act. In 2008, it selected LogRhythm’s security intelligence platform as the most comprehensive solution on the market.
Today, the organisation has expanded its use of LogRhythm beyond regulatory compliance and the platform is now used by a number of departments looking after everything from IT security to network performance.
The National Theatre was originally founded in 1963 and is considered one of the most prominent theatres in the world. The National Theatre stages around 25 new productions each year in its three theatres on London’s South Bank, as well as transferring popular shows to the West End, touring productions around the UK and internationally, and broadcasting them via National Theatre Live.
Giving around 2,000 performances a year in the UK, and employing more than 1,000 people, the organisation is responsible for ensuring the protection of an enormous amount of personal data, as well as payment details of many customers.
The National Theatre runs a vast operation, employing not only actors but people in a huge range of roles from lighting technicians to caterers, wigmakers and customer service assistants, resulting in the organisation holding a vast amount of personal information. Furthermore, the theatre processes hundreds of thousands of credit card transactions per year, and sells 65 percent of its tickets online. Due to the amount of data it captures, data protection and compliance are critical considerations for the organisation.
“The easiest way to think about the National Theatre is that we are like a factory. We have departments like set-building , costume and prop-making and digital design on site, who are working alongside the actors and creative teams in rehearsal,” explains Richard Bevan, head of IT security and architecture at the National Theatre. “Essentially, we then sell the end product – the performance – to the customer who comes to see it. Out IT, therefore, is not too dissimilar from any retailer.
Originally, the organisation was looking for a solution that would allow it to fully comply with the PCI DSS regulations for log management and storage. However, over time the theatre has seen an increase in the amount of data that it stores, as well as the need for fraud protection and constant network monitoring. As such, in January 2014, it sought to upgrade the solution to one that could handle its requirements now, and in the future.
Keen to ensure its log management was compliant with PCI DSS, the National Theatre undertook a review of the market in order to establish which vendors would be best suited to meet its requirements. Following successful product demonstrations, the organisation found that LogRhythm not only had the most comprehensive, but also the most user-friendly solution.
“At the time, it was a simple choice as all of the competing vendors seemed to process and present the data in a way that was inferior to LogRhythm,” said Bevan. “In 2008, LogRhythm was relatively new to the market and, instead of going down the same route as other vendors, it presented the data in a way that was very clear and highlighted what was important and what wasn’t.”
While the original implementation was focussed on PCI compliance, over time the theatre has expanded how it uses LogRhythm. With its ability to integrate with thirdparty vendors, such as antivirus and firewall providers, the organisation began to feed far more information into LogRhythm in order to get a single-pane of glass view across its entire security estate. Rather than using multiple management interfaces, IT staff are able to see at a glance where any problems lie, ensuring much faster remediation.
At the start of 2014, the National Theatre sought to upgrade its solution in order to increase the number of servers it could monitor. At a time when security risks are increasing, the organisation wanted to enhance its level of compliance above what is mandatory, as well as provide its internal audit team with more detailed information for fraud investigations. However, the theatre felt that LogRhythm continued to surpass the competition.
“We were looking at an appliance upgrade at the beginning of the year, and we could have thought about moving to another vendor then, but we didn’t need to. We’ve never had any complaints – we don’t even need to contact the support team very often,” explains Bevan. “It provides exactly the information that we need and the new web interface has improved LogRhythm further as it shows anything that is important in a very clear and succinct way.”
Since the upgrade, the National Theatre’s use of LogRhythm has grown and it is now used by general operational staff, as well as the IT and security teams, providing the ability to understand and react to any problems on the network quickly and efficiently.
“With the new web interface it’s become easier for us to give operations or the IT service desk the ability to see what’s going on and receive proactive alerts,” continues Bevan. “Rather than reacting to a help desk call, they can see something’s happening and escalate it internally so we don’t get a call from the end-user.”
Looking ahead, the team at the National Theatre wants to enhance its posture further and gain a deeper understanding of network activity in order to ensure the identification of unusual activity takes place even faster