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Joining forces to mitigate smart city cybersecurity threats

October 18, 2018

stefan_alfredsson.jpg By Stefan Alfredsson, Global Solutions Marketing Manager, Axis 

Cities are becoming smarter as we speak. With an ambition to achieve livability, cities deploy new, innovative technologies to enable them to manage their assets and resources more efficiently. But the technology cornerstones of smart cities – connectivity, big data and IoT devices – not only offer possibilities to develop more livable cities, they also make cities more vulnerable.

In its Global Risks Report 2018, the World Economic Forum ranks cybersecurity as the third largest global threat. They also conclude that the number of potential cybercrime targets grow exponentially with the acceleration of cloud services and Internet of Things.

Many smart city projects – regardless of focus area – are potential targets for cyber criminals. To manage this threat is not a one-man job, but a collaborative effort that goes across organizations and stakeholders.

Security policies are key

Many of us wish for a universally applicable solution, but as each organization has specific and unique cybersecurity needs, there is no such cybersecurity configuration. Instead, it is important to have a set of information security policies in place to define the scope of security required.

However, it’s not only about having a policy in place. As IDC pointed out in their Smart City: Secure by design report from last year, ‘it is also about ensuring that all the parties involved in the city ecosystem management follow the security policy standards’.

A shared responsibility

Considering all the above, it’s clear we need to join forces to ensure that the links of the chain are as strong as possible. In a recent blog post, Timo Sachse highlights, that cybersecurity is a shared responsibility and stresses the need for end users, like cities, to work closely together with the several stakeholders.

It will happen – it’s all about being ready

The number of connected devices in cities will continue to grow rapidly and cities will be affected by more or less severe cybersecurity incidents. Therefore, it is necessary to be well prepared, and this can only be achieved in the following manner:

  • Having a clear cybersecurity policy in place that is shared and known by internal and external parties.
  • Ensuring a close collaboration with the above stakeholders, to ensure all procedures of implementing a cybersecurity solution are correctly conducted and considered such as system design, installation, maintenance and preparedness.
  • Scalable and efficient device management. When you have hundreds, or even thousands of connected devices – whether street lights, garbage cans or cameras, it is critical that you can perform upgrades and configurations automatically in bulk, rather than manually.

By working together, we can ensure that cities are better prepared to address the constantly evolving cybersecurity threat, and remain capable of reacting fast if the threat materializes.

Get further insights on cybersecurity best practices for device management in the blogpost:

How to maintain cybersecurity across all your devices

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