Navigating Security, Connectivity, and Managed Solutions in the Gambling Industry.
This week, Gaming Eminence had the opportunity to engage in a conversation with Justin Cosnett, who serves as the Chief Product Officer at Continent8 Technologies. In this interview, we delved into several pressing topics within the realm of cybersecurity, high-speed internet, advanced cloud hosting, and the managed services approach. We explored the dynamic landscape of global infrastructures and how the distinctive regulatory frameworks of various regions influence the deployment of security measures, connectivity solutions, and managed services. From the perspective of a Chief Product Officer, we also gained valuable insights into how managed services are poised to revolutionise the technological landscape of the gambling industry.
GE) How do you perceive the current challenges posed by cyber threats like DDoS attacks and the increasing demand for robust Web Application and API Protection (WAAP) solutions? Moreover, how can the gambling industry proactively tackle these challenges while ensuring uninterrupted customer experience and trust?
JC) The global online gambling industry is one of the most attacked and the threat is very real indeed. There are plenty of high-profile examples of where operators and suppliers have been subject to attacks. This includes the likes of a high-profile US Daily Fantasy Sports and sportsbook company, which fell victim to a credential stuffing attack whereby $300,000 was stolen and the data of 67,000 users compromised, and a well-known British-based operator, which suffered a GDPR Breach and data theft of 120,000 people recovering from gambling addiction back in 2020.
DDoS is incredibly prevalent with Continent 8’s attack data showing a sharp rise in the number of attacks on customers in the second quarter of the year. During the three-month period, we blocked 1,106 DDoS attacks which represented a massive jump from the 186 attacks blocked in Q1. The volume and sophistication of DDoS attacks are only set to increase, and operators and suppliers must act now to ensure they are protected.
In addition, businesses in this industry have a high reliance on third-party apps and APIs and this is another area that cyber criminals are looking to exploit. Here are some stats to consider:
Cloudflare reported a 300% year-on-year rise in web app and API attacks last year with the iGaming industry recording a 36% increase. According to Akamai's State of the Internet Security report, API abuses increased 681% from 2020 to 2021. Both Gartner and Akamai say that attacks against APIs are one of the fastest-growing attack vectors and are set to be the number one attack vector. To put this into context, in 2020 there were more than 246 million web application attacks against the gambling industry, representing 4% of the 6.3 billion attacks tracked globally by Fortinet.
The best way that operators can ensure resilience against these various types of attack is to take a multi-layered approach to cybersecurity taking in DDoS and WAAP protection as well as MDR/EDR and SIEM/SOC solutions. This also ensures that operators are being proactive in their responsibility to protect players, especially those that are most vulnerable.
GE) Could you share your perspective on the critical role of high-speed internet and advanced cloud hosting solutions in enabling gaming operators to meet the growing expectations of their players? How can a managed services approach enhance this connectivity while adapting to varying global infrastructures?
JC) Players are incredibly discerning and have high expectations when it comes to the online gambling experience they receive from an operator. This is why speed, low latency and resilience are mission critical. Players want games to load in a matter of seconds, and they want to be able to place bets instantly. To facilitate this, operators must have cutting-edge infrastructure in place. If they don’t and the player receives a bad experience, they will simply move on to the next brand. If that brand provides a superior experience, the player will be gone for good.
Having access to a high-speed internet is therefore the foundation of an operator’s infrastructure and a Continent 8 we have a global connected network spanning 95+ locations to provide the most reliable IP transit with the highest availability and uptime. Taking the managed services route also ensures that operators are using the right infrastructure for their needs and that this infrastructure is working as it should at all times. This allows operators to focus on delivering the best possible customer experience.
GE) Geographical diversity is a hallmark of the gambling industry, necessitating adaptable strategies. From your experience, how do different regions' regulatory landscapes impact the implementation of security, connectivity, and managed solutions? Can you share examples of innovative approaches that successfully navigate these complexities?
JC) Regulation is incredibly complex and is one of the biggest challenges that the industry faces – as does Continent 8 as a company. The US is a very good example of this, with each state having its own regulations and requirements in place. From our experience of securing approvals in 25+ states, some are very prescriptive and clear on what they expect with others less so. This can make it incredibly tough for operators to know where they stand when it comes to infrastructure requirements, and that’s why we have taken a first-to-market approach in the US that has seen us work closely with state regulators from day one to help craft their requirements and to ensure our solutions are fully compliant. Successfully navigating this landscape ultimately comes down to understanding regulations and working in partnership with regulators to create frameworks and requirements that are viable for operators and suppliers while properly protecting players.
A good example of a Continent 8 innovation that helps to navigate these complexities is our Gaming Exchange. This is a private internet and exclusive community exchange specifically for iGaming businesses, allowing operators, content and platform providers to connect faster and more securely than over the standard public internet. This capability unique to Continent 8 additionally improves the speed and performance as well as public surface area exposed to attack of the previous questions. This is combined with a Premium Portal where they can monitor and manage all traffic flows while being confident they are safe from the threat of a cyber attack.
GE) As Chief Product Officer, you've likely witnessed the industry's shift towards managed solutions. How do you envision the role of managed services in reshaping the gambling industry's technological landscape? From your vantage point, how do these services streamline operations, optimise performance, and drive innovation across the spectrum of gaming offerings?
JC) There are many benefits to managed solutions with different upsides appealing to different operators or suppliers. There are several infrastructure and platform options available to online businesses and for some, a scalable, cost-effective cloud is exactly what they need to launch into new and emerging markets. For others, managed private hosting enables them to put aside worries about infrastructure and focus on the day-to-day running of the business. Without the heavy burden of infrastructure management, they can focus on strategic initiatives, marketing, product innovation, etc. This approach can also streamline costs – for example, it can result in a reduced resource cost as the business does not need to employ experts to manage its infrastructure as this is being done by a provider such as Continent 8. This freed-up resource can then be deployed in other areas of the business if required.
About our contributor
Justin Cosnett is a seasoned professional with a wealth of expertise in developing and curating products and services designed to enhance customer capabilities in reliable and highly connected environments. As a key member of the executive team at Continent 8, Justin plays a pivotal role in supporting the company's sales and solution architecture teams. His work revolves around collaborating with CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers) and CTOs (Chief Technology Officers) to deliver connectivity, security, and managed services in the complex and highly regulated global markets. Visit https://www.continent8.com/