Zero impact: Head of Telekom Security, Dirk Backofen, about managed security services (MSS) and harmless cyber attacks.
Zero Impact

“We can and will deliver.”

Head of Telekom Security, Dirk Backofen, about how customers benefit from a European SOC landscape, the boom in the market for managed security services (MSS) and the “zero impact” approach to protecting companies from cyber attacks.
Author: Thomas van Zütphen
Photos: T-Systems
Mr. Backofen, the market for SOCs and other managed security solutions is booming. Why is that?
Customers don’t have the resources to keep up with the rapid evolution of new technologies and the sheer number of solution providers in the security market. Hackers, however, will quickly adopt new technologies for cyber attacks. That means that companies need a strong partner that is well versed in many different industries so it can offer as complete a cyber security shield as possible. Deutsche Telekom is this strong partner. We can deliver. For 20 years, we’ve been protecting not only ourselves, but large swathes of the German private and public sector as well.
How will consolidating all of the Group’s security resources in Telekom Security change things?
Even the tiniest device now contains a super computer and all these devices are linked together. This is a world of “everything connectivity”. We need “everything security” to match it. That’s no small feat. To reach this goal, we are pooling the expertise of all our specialists – currently numbering 1,200 strong – into one agile, high-performing business unit and thereby investing directly in our customers’ security. Deutsche Telekom spends about 250 million euros each year just protecting itself with best-in-class security solutions. This figure goes up every year. This demands tremendous expertise, management and organizational talent. It only makes sense to let our customers share in the benefits from this investment, too.
So what is Telekom Security’s specific approach?
Our goal is to make security simple for customers. To make it convenient, practical, understandable – and yet highly secure. We believe in zero impact. We can never prevent cyber attacks, but we can keep them from having an impact.
Zero impact: Head of Telekom Security, Dirk Backofen, about managed security services (MSS) and harmless cyber attacks.
Dirk Backofen, Head of the Telekom Security corporate business unit
You’ve touched on the problem: for many companies, security isn’t just complicated. It’s also expensive. What’s your answer to them?
That it’s not true! Obviously, security costs money. But it’s wrong to treat security as just another cost center. On the contrary, properly installed and orchestrated security systems will save money by avoiding much more expensive losses. That perspective reveals security to be a necessary, important investment. Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Höttges had clear words of advice for managers asking about the best places to invest: “My fellow CEOs, when it comes to cyber security, don’t listen to your CFOs. Listen to your nerds.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Back to the SOCs – why are you expanding the landscape of your security operation centers?
We already have a series of specialized SOCs in Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and South Africa. Starting this fall, our new, state-of-the-art SOC in Bonn, Germany will use the know-how of all the SOCs in the various Deutsche Telekom networks to proactively deflect attacks. This will be our first integrated Cyber Defense and Security Operation Center where Deutsche Telekom, as one client among many – and always pursuant to the agreed-upon SLAs – can benefit from the experience of our cyber security experts and threat analysts. One prime example is our use cases, for which we use a wide range of analytical procedures. That allows us to link threat intelligence with cognitive security technology. As a result, we can leverage artificial intelligence and data mining to roll out new services that stop malware from communicating. In other words, we always know what’s currently en vogue in the hacker community and try to stay one step ahead of them when it comes to our customers.