Best practice information and communications technology (ICT) recommendations


Sophisticated information and communications technology (ICT) and automated systems are a common features onboard today’s fleet. Long gone are the days where you had a radio officer sending comms. Nowadays shipboard infrastructure is complex and constantly advancing as ship owners embrace digitalisation to support safety, compliance and operational efficiency. But just how do you approach designing, implementing and maintaining a sophisticated ICT infrastructure that’s physically remote in the middle of an ocean? How can you protect against the growing threats from cyberattack? How does a crew adapt to a new ICT playing field?

The ICT best practice recommendations report, published by the Inmarsat Research Programme, provides a comprehensive set of best practices for the design, deployment and ongoing operational management of shipboard ICT systems. The report outlines practical guidance on maximising uptime and minimising cyber vulnerabilities of onboard networks and automated systems. Offering a framework for developing IT policy and advice on best practice.

Key report findings

Prioritising system uptime

We examine the factors required to prioritise system uptime. We ask what systems are critical in the safety and operation of the ship, from email clients and web browsers to applications and hardware. We look at practical steps to build resilience into your network to mitigate risk, examining the role of hardware, IP connections, power sources and ICT backup strategies.

Fleet ICT management and planning

The effective planning and maintenance of ICT systems are critical factors to ensure the long-term success of your investment. Recommendations are made for standardisation, budgeting and upgrade schedules as well as a comprehensive list of factors that should be considered in the formulation of ICT policies and procedures.

Cyber security

Cyber security continues to dominate the maritime headlines as it remains one of the biggest risks to vessel operations and safety. We take a look at best practice steps to minimise the risk of a cyber-breech, examining ways to mitigate downtime in the event of critical system failure, due to cyber incident or unplanned system breakdown. Topics covered include cyber incident response planning, crew training, user control setting and capability testing.

Virtual ship infrastructure

We review the benefits of a virtual ship infrastructure for scalability, cost savings and speedier recovery after failure. The report also provides examples of IP plans and virtual LAN set ups. 

Download the report

To download the full report, please click below.