IT Operations

How CES keeps attendees and vendors safe

“There is a community of IT professionals—CIOs, CTOs—who work for the properties; they share and exchange information on a pretty frequent basis,” CES exec says.
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It’s been almost a month since CES drew more than 135,000 people to Las Vegas for the world’s biggest consumer tech trade show, and host Consumer Technology Association (CTA) is already planning next year’s event.

Preparation includes ensuring the digital security of attendees and vendors. There hasn’t been a hack on the CES show, CES VP and Show Director John Kelley told us, save an attack on the website “several years ago.” But networks have crashed and the show has experienced outages.

“We haven’t really experienced anything large scale, where we’ve had some sort of cyberattack,” Kelley said.

Keeping an eye out. A recent spate of attacks on Las Vegas casinos and resorts like MGM and Caesars adds complexity to the security picture. As IT Brew reported, the MGM hack in September cost the resort company $100 million. Caesars reportedly paid “tens of millions of dollars” to recover its data, according to Bloomberg.

CES operates more than 2.5 million net square feet across more than 10 venues. The show uses different networks than the casinos do where possible, helping to ensure some separation between the event and affected properties, and checked in with the resorts on their level of protection. CTA and the venues have contingency plans for how to maintain continuity of service when there’s a network disruption.

“We started those conversations, last summer going into the fall, with each of the venues to ensure what security protocols they had in place—if there were any gaps, did we need to fill any gaps?” Kelley said.

Checking in. That often involves talking with security and IT professionals in the venues.

“There is a community of IT professionals—CIOs, CTOs—who work for the properties; they share and exchange information on a pretty frequent basis,” Kelley said. “So if, for instance, something’s happening over at property X, then they share it with their counterparts over at property Y to say, ‘Hey, look, we’ve noticed some weird traffic on the network or this has happened here; make sure your house is in order.’”

Top insights for IT pros

From cybersecurity and big data to cloud computing, IT Brew covers the latest trends shaping business tech in our 4x weekly newsletter, virtual events with industry experts, and digital guides.