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TECHNICAL WHITEPAPER

Crucial elements to consider when choosing your ATC recording solution

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Find the optimal recording and replay solution for your needs.

Few, if any, industries are subject to the same strict legal and industry requirements, regulations, and standards as the Air Traffic Control industry. For ATC organizations to satisfy these standards, each cog in the machinery needs to run smoothly – and each system must offer high efficiency and quality.

Your recording and replay system is no exception, and choosing the right solution based on your needs is of the highest importance. 

That is why we here at guardREC have created this extensive guide to help you find your ideal solution. While we can in no way claim to be without bias, the main objective of this article is simply to highlight and explore the most crucial elements to consider when you are choosing and investing in a new ATC recording and replay solution.

This guide is divided into six sections, each highlighting an important subtopic when choosing your recording and replay solution:

  1. Compliance
  2. Completeness
  3. Investigation
  4. Documentation
  5. Expansion and scalability
  6. Cybersecurity

(Click the links to jump directly to a specific section.)

 

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SECTION 1: COMPLIANCE

Ensuring compliance with ATC standards and regulations

In an ever-evolving regulatory landscape, air traffic controllers and investigators must be able to trust that their recording and replay system is compliant with all relevant standards and regulations, such as CAP 670, EUROCAE ED-111 and ICAO Annex 10, 11 and 13.

Compliance failure affects efficiency and security

Compliance is vital in order to protect data from unauthorized access and staff from unwanted exposure. Systems that fail to adapt to new standards and regulations may negatively affect operations in terms of efficiency and security.

Issues in this area usually stem from choosing a vendor that is unable to, unwilling to, or uninterested in continuously improving and adapting their software to satisfy new standards and requirements.

System adaptability and vendor agility

When investing in an improved recording and replay solution, you should always consider the system’s adaptability to changes in regulation and the vendor’s willingness to make continuous changes, in addition to current regulations and standards.

Ensure that the system provider has a deep knowledge and understanding of compliance, and verify that the solution in question upholds all required standards.

The solution should be designed to allow continuous and seamless upgrades and improvements to stay compliant at all times, and system providers should show high willingness, skill, and agility to satisfy your compliance needs.

Stay ahead of the curve

Good recording and replay solution vendors listen to the needs, input, and feedback from both potential and existing customers. 

At guardREC we aim to stay ahead of the curve, closely monitoring developments in the market and enabling you, the customer, to focus your time and resources on your core business – without worrying about compliance.

 



SECTION 2: COMPLETENESS

The challenges of working with an incomplete system

Many ATC professionals note the lack of complete control, access and overview within their recording and replay solutions, mainly due to outdated systems, technical limitations, security holes, or lack of important features.

Such issues, ranging from unauthorized access to data, system outages, and critical data loss to system instability, difficulty detecting failures, and potential errors in synchronism between multiple systems, may cause unnecessary challenges for your ATC staff.

Common shortcomings of recording and replay systems

There are several reasons why your ATC staff may feel like your system lacks completeness. Common challenges and issues are:

  • Outdated system designs and development platforms
  • Insufficient alarms and monitoring capabilities
  • Insufficient access management
  • Unreliable solutions
  • Weak password policies and accompanying cybersecurity issues

These symptoms are all trademarks of recording and replay solutions that fail to keep up with technological developments and industry standards.

Satisfy the needs of your investigators

When selecting your ATC recording and replay solution you should ensure that the system is able to satisfy the needs of your investigators, operators, and controllers – simplifying their workday, giving them a complete overview in any situation, and enabling them to work more efficiently.

Your recording solution vendor should be able to provide:

  • Extensive alarms and monitoring capabilities
  • Up-to-date system design
  • A modern development platform
  • Strong and reliable password policies and other cybersecurity initiatives
  • Customized levels of password policy to ensure protection

Diagnosing your system and identifying areas in need of improvement, or where your needs are not sufficiently satisfied, is always a smart first step when choosing your vendor, and your complete recording and replay solution.




SECTION 3: INVESTIGATION

Do your investigators get the full picture?

Investigating and reconstructing an accident or incident requires detailed data, smart tools, and a high level of precision. Yet, many investigators feel limited by their recording and replay systems.

Common complaints are poor user-friendliness, lack of important features, and inefficient replay solutions, making it difficult and time-consuming for investigators to reconstruct what the operator actually experienced.

Main challenges faced by investigators

The main challenges that may prevent investigators from attaining a full overview are:

  • Insufficient investigation tools
  • Limited sources recorded, e.g. missing screen recording and radar feeds
  • No centralized solution providing access to data across all units and sites

While recording and replay functionality has become an industry standard for ATC systems, some system suppliers still struggle to deliver high-quality solutions for synchronism between sources. 

Additionally, some systems only record certain sources, forcing investigators to search through several separate systems to collect important information from screen recordings, radar feeds, and audio sources.

Give your investigators the necessary tools

To ensure that your investigators have the necessary tools at hand when investigating and reconstructing an incident, you should verify that your recording and replay solution is capable of recording all required sources. Precise synchronism between multiple sources is also vital. 

Additionally, your solution should support nationwide deployment, providing your investigators with access to remote sites from one central location. Investigation tools should be intuitive, user-friendly, and efficient, offering enhanced radar analytics and high-quality visualizations. Advanced features, such as transcription, OCR, radar replay, and scenario mode, have become necessities for efficient investigation

Finally, you should ensure that all data sources can be recorded and replayed in one, single system, eliminating the need for manual synchronism and improving the precision of your investigations.

guardREC® ATC helps improve investigation efforts by offering Through-the-Wall recording. The system receives and records data comparable to that of live ATM solutions, giving investigators access to complete data sets and the ability to see outside the box – rather than being limited to what the operator saw on-screen. This provides investigators with a more complete picture of the situation and helps clarify situations that may have otherwise gone unsolved.

 



SECTION 4: DOCUMENTATION

Simplify your documentation process

Documentation of incidents and operations is a time-consuming and tedious task, made even more challenging by outdated systems that make it difficult to grant access to multiple or external users, export complete datasets, and/or ensure originality in exported material.

Common documentation pains

Based on feedback from ATC organizations across the globe, the most common pains that air traffic controllers and investigators experience when documenting operations and incidents are:

  • No centralized solution across sites
  • No centralized access to tools and data across all sources
  • Poor export capabilities
  • No recording of data sources such as screen and radar

By eliminating these issues you can significantly improve efficiency, saving time and resources spent on the documentation process.

Ensure easy documentation and secure exportation

Choosing a recording solution that enables you to replay multiple sources, analyze, tag, and document your findings in a single interface will have a significant impact on your documentation process.

Additionally, you should ensure that the recording solution offers export of datasets for replay on 3rd party, offline impound players, as well as radar metadata in the .csv format and that these exports are sufficiently encrypted and protected from tampering.

A built-in transcription module, offering speech-to-text capabilities and efficient replay shortcuts, may significantly simplify the export of transcriptions for use in investigation reports, though this technology is, as of date, only offered by a select few system providers.

 



SECTION 5: EXPANSION AND SCALABILITY

How to avoid scalability issues and unpredictable costs

Choosing a recording and replay system with low scalability and expandability may result in costly challenges when upgrading your system.

When choosing your ATC recording solution you must always consider the system’s scalability and expandability. Poorly designed platforms may be difficult and expensive to upgrade, resulting in unpredictable costs and a drain on human resources.

Typical challenges that may arise include problems with integrating new sites into your existing solution, new investments requiring an excessive amount of time to get up and running, and facing difficulties keeping the hardware up-to-date.

Red flags

To avoid getting locked into a potentially costly and time-consuming recording and replay solution with low scalability and expandability there are several red flags you should be aware of: 

  • Additional channels and sources require new tender processes
  • Additional channels and sources require on-site re-installation
  • The existing solution cannot easily be upgraded with new channels and/or sources without re-installation of a new version – or replacement of the system as a whole
  • The vendor does not support a nationwide solution, and/or is limited to one site only
  • There is no leasing option, only a one-time purchase
  • The solution is not designed to handle future changes, such as migration to the cloud

These issues are remnants of outdated solutions that still linger on today, and should be avoided in order to keep costs down and efficiency up.

What your vendor should provide

Now that you know which properties and red flags to avoid, let us take a look at the aspects you should favor when choosing your recording and replay solution vendor:

  • New channels and sources should be included without reinstallation or a restart of the existing solution
  • Upgrades and updates of the existing solution may be done remotely and without the need for on-site assistance
  • Your vendor should support a nationwide solution
  • Your vendor should support digitalization and cloud features

By choosing a vendor that can satisfy these requirements, you will have much more control over the costs, time, and resources needed to keep your system up-to-date and working with high efficiency.

 



SECTION 6: CYBERSECURITY

Is your system vulnerable to cyber-attacks?

With several types of cyber threats and a wide array of methods for unauthorized persons to access sensitive data, the ATC industry standards for cybersecurity have a long way to go to catch up with the potential risk. 

System providers may not invest enough in cybersecurity, putting you at risk of experiencing critical data loss, accidental deletion of incident data, and being unable to protect OTAs and controllers from public exposure.

Cyber threats – categories and methods

Outdated security design and features, insufficient access management, weak password policies, poor encryption, and a lack of traceability are common areas being exploited by cybercriminals.

Cyber threats are generally divided into three categories:

  1. Threats to confidentiality:
    Attacks designed to steal personal information (such as bank account information, credit card information, social security information, etc.)
  2. Threats to integrity:
    Attacks by cybercriminals that access and release sensitive information to the public
  3. Threats to availability:
    Attacks on availability aim to deny access to systems and data. There are two distinct sub-groups: Ransomware and Denial of Service (DoS)

Common methods used by cybercriminals include:

  • Social engineering
  • Phishing
  • Advanced Persistent Threats (APT)
  • Malware
  • Man-in-the-middle attack
  • DoS: Denial of Service

Choose a vendor with a strong focus on cybersecurity

While no one can guarantee 100% protection, a strong focus on cybersecurity measures should weigh heavily in your choice of recording and replay solution vendor.

Your vendor should offer:

  • Strong password policies and other cybersecurity initiatives
  • Customized levels of password policy, including multi-factor authentication, a lockout policy, block policy, and password requirements 
  • Support for encryption of stored data (AES256) and user access
  • A solution that includes extensive traceability capabilities, such as alarms, audit trails, and logging

A strong password policy is particularly important, as your system is only as strong as its weakest link and in cybersecurity. And more often than not, the weakest link is the end-user.

 



guardREC® ATC recording and replay solution

GuardREC AS is a software company based in Norway that is reshaping the ATC industry with innovative recording and investigation solutions.

​​The guardREC® ATC recording solution is flexible and reliable, specifically designed for the ATC market to support all relevant requirements and regulations.

Our future-proof recording and replay solution comes with a multitude of built-in integrations with other systems and technologies – giving you unparalleled flexibility when choosing a set-up that covers all your needs.

 

Download technical whitepaper

Crucial elements to consider when choosing your ATC recording solution. 

guardREC Technical whitepaper Crucial elements to consider when choosing your ATC recording solution.

Learn more about guardREC® ATC

​​The guardREC® ATC recording solution is flexible and reliable, specifically designed for the ATC market to support all relevant requirements and regulations. Built for the future by introducing new state-of-the-art features and functionalities. 

  • Multi-channel recording
  • Easy-to-use interface with powerful investigation tools
  • Flexible deployment options; cloud, on-premise or hybrid solution
  • Ensure compliance with CAP 670, EUROCAE ED-111 and ICAO Annex 10, 11 and 13.
  • Secure & encrypted storage

 

Learn more about guardREC ATC

guardREC ATC recording solution

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Why Choose guardREC®

Robust and Reliable

The guardREC® record ing solution is the most robust and reliable system on the market – providing high stability and ensuring constant compliance. Choose whether to keep your data stored in-house, on-site, or opt for our secure cloud-based storage.

Built-in Connectivity

The future-proof guardREC® recording and replay solution comes with a multitude of built-in integrations with other systems and technologies – giving you unparalleled flexibility when choosing a set-up that covers all your needs.

World Class Customer Support

Our world class customer support team provides you with the security and assistance you need – regardless of where you are located. Quick response times and rapid resolution of critical incidents ensures minimal downtime and maximum efficiency.

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