Choose a business site

Vodafone Business

Our business solutions portfolio and solutions for global businesses.

Local market

Find solutions local to your business. Choose your region:
Close dialog

Why Sustainability and Cybersecurity Go Hand-in-Hand

07 Jun 2023

Fabian Best

Head of International Public Sector, Vodafone Business

Governments and public agencies worldwide are racing to migrate their operations to digital platforms to serve and protect their citizens more effectively. That digital journey will transform the public sector but must be held accountable in two critical regards: These platforms must be resilient to cyberattacks, be flexible in their operational value whilst advancing the public sectors goals - of transitioning to a more sustainable future. Leaders rarely mention security and sustainability in the same breath, let alone retaining the operational value, that is key, for all businesses to thrive. However, it is achievable – how? Let me explain.

Security sets the foundation for using IoT, 5G, and smart utility grid technology to meet sustainability goals. Many regions and countries are tackling their carbon-emissions challenges by deploying smart grids and energy management systems to improve the efficiency of their energy consumption. However, the same technology can also be vulnerable to cyber-attacks. A cyber attack on a smart grid or energy management system could have devastating consequences, not only for the system itself but also for the people and businesses that rely on it. Many International Organizations are already being targeted by cyber criminals; our DDOS mitigation supports the most critical institutions – globally, to protect them.”

The same goes for protecting IoT and 5G networks, which cities and regions increasingly adopt to manage their core assets more sustainably. Vodafone has been applying connectivity to solving cities’ climate challenges. Recently, we pioneered ‘Light as you Need,’ a system for cities to fine-tune their night illumination based on actual demand. IoT sensors in streetlamps use 4G, 5G, and edge computing to control the lighting, and our analytics tool helps the sensors to understand where and when lighting is needed. The result is improved public lighting with up to 30% energy savings. These assets have to be secure to be effective.

Cybersecurity investments often add computing hardware, sensors, and other devices that consume energy and materials, which often get tossed in a landfill when their useful life is over. But, by using energy-efficient devices and working with partners steeped in circular economic thinking, governments and public agencies can reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprint while reducing their vulnerability to cyberattacks.

For example, thanks to the ongoing modernization of our network, Vodafone can continue adding layers of cybersecurity into its network without adding to our carbon footprint. We already power 100% of our European networks using renewable sources and are working to achieve the same in Africa by 2025. We’re moving our entire vehicle fleet to EVs and are on track to meet our goal of operating as a net zero company by 2040. Vodafone also designs its products with reuse and recycling in mind to reduce waste, environmental impact, and the risk of cyberattacks resulting from improperly disposed equipment. Vodafone is well along the path to reusing, reselling, or recycling 100% of our network waste by 2025.

Another way security and sustainability are converging is through the public procurement process. Government agencies have always had stringent data security and privacy requirements, and now they include net zero targets in every contract, which we welcome. Vodafone was a founding member of the EU’s Green Digital Coalition. This group brings companies like ours together with policymakers and experts to help drive investment in and implementation of digital solutions against climate change. We are also addressing emissions outside our direct control, like those from our supply chain. Vodafone now evaluates suppliers based on their environmental commitments and provides SME suppliers with extra guidance on sustainable practices.

My cybersecurity colleagues never cease to amaze me. They stay calm and collected even as threats and hacking teams spiral upward. Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, for example, are a common scourge and only getting worse. DDoS exploits knock web apps and websites offline with overwhelming junk traffic. The first months of 2023 saw record-breaking DDoS attacks of 50-70 million requests per second, with the largest exceeding 71 million. We’ve been there for global agencies for years. Vodafone was the first service provider globally to provide a managed service that protects customers from Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks – doing it since 2004.

The great work ahead of us is to reduce the public sector’s climate impact while protecting its digital assets from cyberattacks. Can AI help in this effort? Yes, it can contribute with better insights and analytics at scale, but we must ensure we deploy AI with the proper data protections. Public sector agencies can achieve both goals by implementing sustainable technology solutions, using energy-efficient hardware and equipment, developing a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy that includes sustainability considerations, and implementing a circular economy model for technology equipment.

Related articles

Why Vodafone?

Wherever you’re based, we’re there

Around the globe, our network reaches over 184 countries.

The complete package

We provide the underlying transport network, the virtual overlay, and the platform to prioritise everything.

We are a Leader

We have been recognised by industry analysts as leading network providers.