Customer Stories

Royal Caribbean

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At a glance:

  • Royal Caribbean’s security team must protect a complex digital environment from the ever-changing threat landscape
  • Darktrace helps secure Royal Caribbean’s fleet of ships, no matter where they are in the world
  • Strong partnership ensures smooth deployment and continuous protection as the business evolves

Finding coverage for complex digital environments

Royal Caribbean supports a fleet of cruise ships that are floating cities. They rely heavily on technology to augment guest experience. Each ship has diverse infrastructure including power plants, medical facilities, point of sales systems, casinos, and more.

Since the attack surface layer has so many different signatures and attack vectors, the overall digital environment is highly complex. As a result, Royal Caribbean requires strong, integrated visibility to protect its assets and operations from cyber threats.

“The bottom line is we don't want the technology which we all love to impact the guest experience negatively,” said Terry Griffith, Senior Director of Counter Threat Operations at Royal Caribbean Group. “Guest-first and guest safety, all of that is primary here. We sell fun, but we want it to be safe fun.”

In addition to a multifaceted cyber environment, Royal Caribbean faces increased cyber risk as a globally recognizable brand. The security team must always remain vigilant.

Adding to the level of risk, threats today are ever-changing, especially as threat actors adopt new generative AI tools to make attacks more effective. For example, they can now generate targeted phishing campaigns or novel malicious code in seconds.

To keep up with both an intricate digital environment and the evolving threat landscape, Royal Caribbean uses Darktrace.

AI-powered protection, anywhere in the world

Royal Caribbean had long been interested in Darktrace, with some of its security leaders following the early developments coming out of the Cyber AI Research Centre in Cambridge.

When given an opportunity to trial Darktrace, Royal Caribbean installed it on one of its newer ships. The security team was impressed and realized the tool was exactly what it needed to provide real-time visibility, boost team efficiency, and cover all the targeted areas. Soon after, the team began working to get the rest of the fleet and the shoreside data centers covered by Darktrace.

Darktrace protects Royal Caribbean with Self-Learning AI, which learns every user and device in an organization’s digital environment. By understanding normal patterns of behavior, the AI can recognize abnormal activity that may indicate a cyber-attack.

“Darktrace monitors our specific environments for all kinds of malicious activity. And it makes it so I don't need a specialist in every category. I have a tool that's a specialist. All my team has to do is respond to what the threat looks like,” Griffith said.

Self-Learning AI can be applied anywhere a company has data, so it can protect all parts of Royal Caribbean’s complex digital environment. It compiles the data into a single pane of glass, allowing Royal Caribbean to understand its cyber security status across its ships and onshore sites at a glance.

Having a centralized manager makes the security team more efficient. The members of the team receive alerts and recommendations on what actions to take.

The security team especially appreciates how Darktrace conveys information. Some team members prefer the Threat Visualizer, which shows how traffic flows and what devices are interacting. Other team members navigate straight to reports covering autonomous investigations into incidents and written with natural language processing to be easily understood.

“Darktrace is supportive of the different environments and the different ways people work, and it's one of the few tools that we have that does have that graphic interface in such a way that it's enjoyable to use,” Griffith said.

Another key feature of Darktrace’s coverage is that it can work from anywhere, so it can cover each ship wherever it is in the world. And Royal Caribbean needed a solution that could work even when internet connection is intermittent. Darktrace provides self-sufficient, self-defending protection even in these conditions.

Building a lasting partnership

The partnership between Darktrace and Royal Caribbean is key. Deploying Darktrace appliances across the fleet required precise logistics. Darktrace set up daily meetings with Royal Caribbean and ensured that all materials were packaged and shipped on time, even finding workarounds for obstacles like packages’ being lost by international customs departments.

“Darktrace goes out of their way to be a partner. And that's one of the things I like the most is that the technology is really cool, but the people are awesome. They'll work with us,” Griffith said.

Beyond initial deployment, the partnership between Royal Caribbean and Darktrace continues to evolve. Since Royal Caribbean is constantly innovating, its structure and format change as it adds to and updates its vessels. Self-Learning AI provides continuous protection even amidst that dynamism in order to help the security team with automation and efficiency.

“Darktrace is very complementary to all that we are trying to do,” Griffith said.

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Royal Caribbean is one of the world’s largest cruise lines and has been delivering innovation at sea since its launch in 1969. Its fleet of 63 ships travels to more than 1,000 destinations. Each successive class of ships brings the latest technology to transform vacations.
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