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Beware of punishment for something you did not do

In many countries throughout the European Union, legislation is underway to protect the privacy and security of consumers. The new laws would hold companies responsible for leaking customers personal data. That means major fines – sometimes adding up to the tens of millions of Euros, depending on the severity of the leak and the size of the company. But, what if the leaks occur outside the responsibility of the company?

Data and information are constantly flowing. Because of this, most organizations put a lot of effort into protecting and securing their physical and digital premises: offices, data centers, and networks. So far, this strategy works pretty well. But in the modern world of data communications, most information going from one office location to another will pass through (fiber) cables and networks that others control – like carriers. Those cables are hard to oversee and protect, as they run across thousands of kilometers of land and sea. Many people think that a fiber network itself is secure – but they’re wrong.

Getting access to data from a fiber optic network is relatively easy. Think of the unattended manhole covers in the shopping mall that give access to underlying network and connections. Put on overalls, carry a ladder and a toolbox, and nobody minds if you attach a device to the fiber optic cables.

Once this data is stolen it can be used for extortion, blackmail or to drive a competitor out of business if the leak becomes public knowledge. Entire company reputations are at stake. Plus, the financial damage could be significant as customers leave and the authorities implement fines. On top of all that, the duped company will have to prove that the leak was beyond their control.

So, what can we do? Well, encryption on the optical level is the way to go for several reasons. Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) provides encryption on the optical layer that comes with quite a few benefits in terms of money and performance compared to IP-encryption.

Encryption typically comes with latency as devices and software need time to do their encryption and decryption job. But a DWDM reduces this latency – adding just microseconds in latency and milliseconds at the IP layer. What’s more: the bandwidth remains fully available. Encryption on the IP-layer results in a loss of 15 percent bandwidth, where optical encryption does not affect the bandwidth. Also, optical layer encryption is transparent and protocol agnostic. It can handle any protocol and is suitable for Ethernet, SDH, OTN and Fibre Channel Transport.

A good encryption solution on the optical layer is always on and does not need human management, so WAN traffic is at any time secured. The encryption keys are shared only with the security officer of the customer and do not need to be distributed to others. All in all: encryption on the optical level is more secure, more effective, costs less and does not affect bandwidth.

So to avoid leakage and to demonstrate you are in control of all components of your digital infrastructure, it is time to consider optical level encryption. Otherwise, you could receive punishment for something that is out of your reach.

Do you want your network DWDM optical encrypted? Contact us at

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