Making Cybersecurity a Part of the Smart City Process
The rapid and inevitable hyper connectivity manifesting in the evolving digital world, while opening up massively impressive opportunities, leave many organizations exposed to new entry points where nefarious cyber actors can inflict damage. Recently, we just watched this unfold across the world with a major ransomware attack known as ‘WannaCry’. However, even as high profile cyber-attacks like WannaCry become more and more frequent, security initiatives are still not up to par. Particularly for government organizations, which also face growing public safety threats that require more immediate action. And although proper cybersecurity strategy is complex to deliver, cyber-attacks are becoming more sophisticated, and more than ever, it is imperative that security challenges be effectively addressed.
In urban environments, this is presenting a unique challenge. The growth of smart, connected technologies that capture both public and private data can threaten privacy if breached. And the interconnectivity of smart devices across cities and communities means that the compromise of a single point, makes the entire network ecosystem vulnerable to attack. But, both of these qualities similarly define what helps to make cities ‘smart’. How, then, do city and government leaders achieve the ultimate security balancing act?
Cybersecurity is and will continue to be critical to the success and growth of smart, digital cities with an estimated $29 billion value at stake over the next decade.
That means, protecting opportunities afforded by unlocking treasure troves of city data, like we see in London Borough of Hillingdon. Equally as important will be to ensure livability and vitality for residents by securing the day-to-day functions of what make communities tick. For example, Mexico City’s Universidad Panamericana uses Cisco CloudLock to protect students, educators, administrators, and trainees without the limitation of physical barriers. This can also mean keeping transport modalities safe, like the airports in Bucharest, Romania that secured their digital infrastructure to combat malware threats.
The lists of risk and reward can go on and on, especially as cyber-threats evolve alongside cities and communities. One thing is very clear; security can no longer be an afterthought or an add-on. Instead, cybersecurity must be an integral part of the smart city process.