Endpoint Protection

Q&A with Williams Martini Racing CIO Graeme Hackland 

07-07-2017 06:36 PM

In a world where data drives just about everything, securing that data has become a top priority—and a top challenge—for organizations of all types. Few, however, face bigger security hurdles than Williams Martini Racing, one of the world’s leading Formula One racing teams. With competitors ready to do almost anything to gain an edge, industrial espionage is a very real concern. And when you consider that Williams’ data center goes where its drivers go—two racks of hardware travel to 21 countries per year and require 100 percent uptime once they arrive at the track—you begin to understand the magnitude of Williams’ security challenge. Here, Chief Information Officer Graeme Hackland of Williams Martini Racing reveals how the company is using Symantec™ technology to rise to that challenge—and maintain its Grands Prix–winning tradition—in the sport it has dominated for four decades.

Q: With a typical Formula One race weekend generating more than 140 GB in telemetry, video, and other race car analytics, can you describe the challenge of keeping all that data confidential while still making it 100 percent available for the split-second decision-making that ensures driver safety, facilitates compliance with motorsport regulations, and (ultimately) wins races?

Hackland: In Formula One, we’re always thinking about speed—speed of the car and speed of operations. This means that any endpoint security technology must have low overhead on all machines because nothing can slow things down trackside. A longer boot-up process causes real problems in a Formula One context. … If you get a blue screen, no one will wait until you’re ready—the race goes on.

Q: Because data collected at the track can directly impact midrace decisions and lead to the engineering tweaks that tip the scale to victory, how do you keep your competitors—who will do everything from recording car engine noise to determine gear ratios to mining data—from accessing the networks and devices that contain Williams’ all-important intellectual property (IP)?

Hackland: Moving to digital workflows has unquestionably led to much speedier processes—for example, allowing the race tyre engineer to record pressure and temperature at the track using a tablet. However, it also increases risk because that confidential information is now available to anyone who can access that tablet. As we transform ourselves, IT risk changes, which is why we’re working with Symantec to eradicate that risk.

Q: Can you talk a little bit more about how Williams is using Symantec technology to do this?

Hackland: It’s not enough to have just antivirus or intrusion prevention or even machine learning. We also need proactive detection for the latest threats (including ransomware), reputation analysis, behavior monitoring, and more. Through our partnership with Symantec, we’ve been able to embrace a new portfolio of technologies that encompasses all of these.

Q: Williams’ business does not end at the racetrack. In recent years, your affiliated company, Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), has applied knowledge and skills gleaned from Formula One racing (around lightweight structure, aerodynamic flow, etc.) to clients in the aerospace, defense, sports science, and medical fields. How has Williams used Symantec technology to protect WAE customers’ data?

Hackland: Formula One data has a very short lifetime—three, four years, maybe. Williams Advanced Engineering presented us with a very different challenge in that we now have multiple customers in industries ranging from automotive to aerospace, healthcare, and more, and they don’t want their data leaking among project teams. This is one of the reasons we turned to Symantec. If we lose our customers’ intellectual property, our reputation—and therefore our business—will suffer.

Q: How critical is it to both Williams Martini Racing and Williams Advanced Engineering that your security infrastructure provides access to the world’s largest civilian threat intelligence network?

Hackland: One of the major advantages of our partnership with Symantec is access to knowledge of the ever-changing global threat landscape. If you stop thinking about threats, you’re going to be hit by something. Symantec Global Intelligence Network—part of our end-to-end Symantec security solution—ensures that this doesn’t happen by identifying threats globally and sharing that information with Symantec Endpoint Protection.

As for our Williams Advanced Engineering customers, we work on such sensitive projects that protecting customer data and IP is crucial. We’re often called upon to demonstrate that specific security requirements have been met in order to win our customers’ business—and our Symantec solutions enable us to do that.

Learn more about how Symantec protects Williams.

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03-03-2018 05:14 PM

Really enjoyed this.  A case study with a difference!

From a Formula 1 perspective, it provdies added confidence that Williams will be back competing for top 3 honours this year!

08-29-2017 12:22 PM

This was a very interesting article. Never thought about all the data that is collected during a race and how it is utilized to make on the spot decisions to help the drive and pit crew. Brings a new light onto formula one racing that makes it even more interesting. Thank you for article.

08-14-2017 11:12 AM

Algo importante de este artículo es que, aunque no parezca, toda información que se genera es sensible y por ende debe de ser protegida de la mejor manera. Excelente cómo se aprovechan del portafolio de seguridad de Symantec y utilizan el Global Intelligent Network para unificar todos los datos generados por los sistemas de seguridad.

08-09-2017 10:04 PM

As someone who follows the automotive scene, I agree that I was pretty surprised by this. Sort of like realizing that the ice cream man doesn't live in his truck. If data leakage is such a concern with teams like this, what sort of approach are potential attacjers using I wonder?

08-08-2017 10:32 AM

It's crazy to see how much data you guys crunch through in just one weekend, 140GB is impressive. I guess this is also the reason for not storing beyond three four years although I guess really how useful is data much older than that when the technology changes so quickly.

07-28-2017 03:07 AM

I was already aware Symantec products were used for this, but this blog post explains in details of how they are used, so thank you for sharing it. It's an interesting reading!

Next time I watch F1, I know how the data are being used, processed and protected.

07-27-2017 02:11 AM

Behind the scenes to keep winning takes a lot of technology which nobody sees or hears. Amazing stuff.

07-25-2017 03:48 PM

F1 is definitely a fast-paced sport specifically when it comes to technology adoptions.

This adoption though makes the organizations have to keep up with the pace of possible threats and downtime when they rely on the data for run the business capabilities as well as future proofing their business model.


I liked this Q&A


07-25-2017 10:52 AM

This really interesting and it's always nice to see how different organizations set up their infratructure. I would imagine it's fairly easy to figure out when you have the money and support of corporate higher-ups. It'd be great to see what solutions they turned down.

07-24-2017 04:37 PM

Muy buena informacion, realmente increible pensar en todos los campos en los cuales puede realizar proteccion SEPM y mas cuando hablamos de espionage industrial(DATOS), gracias a que actualmente symantec endpoint protection es mas que un antivirus tradicional ya que es un antivirus de ultima generacion en donde la inteligencia artificial juega un papel muy importante en las detecciones de tiempo real y a su vez la red de inteligencia global mas grande del mundo hace de esta herramienta la mas poderosa en temas de seguridad por lo cual esta abarcando muchos campos como lo es la F1.

07-24-2017 06:13 AM

Have to agree that there isn't a great deal of detail here, though that ins't surprising for F1. 140GB also seems low. Red Bull have been quoted as pulling 500GB per car over a race weekend but they're a bigger outfit than Williams these days.

07-23-2017 07:18 AM

It's basically a mobile mini data center! International travel 21 times in 1 year is hard on snything you have to pack up and move. Of all sports I would guess this is the one they'd rely on the most for computer processing.

07-21-2017 01:48 PM

Interesante entrevista, estos articulos son interesantes debido a la aplicacion de tecnologia en campos donde no se tiene experiencia. Este tipo de contenido nos hace pensar el modelo de negocio donde se pueden aplicar soluciones, buena informacion y datos.



07-21-2017 03:42 AM

Apart from how sexy it is working within the F1 environment, getting this stuff right first time is obviously critical. Time and information is money, and loss of either loses a *lot* of money!  Having an invested customer that is enthusiastic about your technology and the relationship is a great thing to have!.

07-20-2017 02:41 PM

F1 ... that's where Security meets with Speed.

Interesting to read this amazing BLOG.

Symantec is surely doing an amazing job protecting customers’ intellectual property, reputation and the business.


07-20-2017 09:51 AM

So I'm going to disagree w/ everyone here.  I found the article very high level and not very informative at all.  In regards to the question on how do you keep the data confidential the response was "we can't have blue screens" which doesn't answer the question at all.

Look I get that you don't want to share the whole security stack and all that but come on at least answer more of the question. 

"Can you tell us more about the Symantec Technoloogy?"  Answer:  "Through our partnership with Symantec, we’ve been able to embrace a new portfolio of technologies that encompasses all of these."

​That's basically another non answer.  Sorry folks not a good article and a very fluffy post.


07-20-2017 09:44 AM

I don't think they would share the whole security stack for various reasons including letting hackers know what to attack.

07-20-2017 01:13 AM

Very interesting article,  I always thought car and driver are two most importnat for the race, could not image how important of data drive to car racing, First time to know that racing company seriously guard their data and how they would use the data, another good example that Symantec can help the customere in all fields to protect their data and information.

07-19-2017 04:06 PM

Neat article @Symantec!

So...140GB of telemetry?!  I'm not sure why, but that's doesn't seem like a lot over a bigger race.  I imagined more, for some odd reason.  Also, I'm sure they use SEP (Cloud) and DLP, but I would love to see their whole portfolio of security suites and infrastructure that they use to keep data in and other people out.  I'm sure it's impessive, especially with Symantec products being by their side.  ;)

07-19-2017 01:48 PM

I was definitely surprised by the amount of data.

the real surprise how fast the data goes obsolete.

you need to have the data immediately and securely just like most companies.

never thought of racing and data

07-19-2017 01:36 PM

Informative article. It's nice to read a first hand account of the whys and how's from someone who's implementing theses kinds of strategies. Not just the vendors word that it's "The Best" the loss of confidential data for these teams could be the difference of winning and losing a race. With the annual profits of well over a billion dollars, F1 teams can litterally not afford to be compromised.

07-19-2017 09:52 AM

Nice and interesting article, Formula 1 is a real complicate world where a lot of things happens in few times. And the racing team has to collect and analyze data in real time in order to have to full controll.

Interesting also read about how the security is so considered : Hackland: It’s not enough to have just antivirus or intrusion prevention or even machine learning. We also need proactive detection for the latest threats (including ransomware), reputation analysis, behavior monitoring, and more. Through our partnership with Symantec, we’ve been able to embrace a new portfolio of technologies that encompasses all of these.

07-19-2017 07:18 AM

It's amazing the amount of data in play here as well as the "attackers" who are after it. I never thought this would be a concern in F1 racing. Competing teams hacking each other for the others' data seems crazy to me, just to gain an advantage. 

07-19-2017 07:09 AM

They clearly have their IT sorted, but now they need to get out and win some races!  Good to see they have leveraged their business with Symantec solutions and can convince sceptical customers that their data will remain secure.  Is Symantec using this company as a selling tool for other F1 teams?

07-19-2017 03:39 AM

Good to read that they use Symnatec for protection against ransomware. I'd hate to see Massa or Stroll not racing due to a ransomware attack! Thanks for the read.

07-19-2017 03:27 AM

I didn't realise that in one Formula 1 race weekend more than 140 GB of data telemetry, video, and other race car analytics was created. I can see the importance of fast and secure access to the data too. Important for a competative advantage!

07-19-2017 03:19 AM

Very interesting, especially as I follow F1. Hadn't thought that ormula One data would have such a short life time of three, four years. Thanks Symantec.

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