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Symantec Analyst Relations

Transformational Smart Cities: cyber security and resilience

Created: 07 Jan 2014
Giampiero Nanni's picture
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Smart cities are on the increase worldwide and, especially within Europe, there are many such initiatives being stimulated by the EC and national governments. Local administrators and policy makers are under great pressure to make their cities increasingly competitive, in order to attract businesses, talent and taxpayers – and to comply with sustainable policies, greenhouse gas emission targets and carbon footprint guidelines.

What will they look like? In the main, smart city deployments will be multi-faceted, carried out by a diverse ecosystem of providers in innovative domains, involving state-of-the-art technology, including critical and complex ICT implementations. These deployments can address different components and city systems, such as Intelligent Transportation, Connected Healthcare, Public Safety and Security, Emergency Services, Smart Grid and Smart Metering, Intelligent Buildings, etc.

At the same time, increasing ICT complexity, hyper-connectivity, namely through ‘Internet of Things’ environments, as well as the generation of significant amounts of data,  will also mean increasing vulnerability, both to malicious attacks and unintentional incidents. By conceiving interconnected urban systems with security and information protection in mind and already built in, city administrators will be able to ensure service continuity, safety and well-being for citizens and businesses alike.

A centralised governance body will ultimately run the smart city through a central virtual dashboard, comprising the ICT operational centre – and that is a massive undertaking. It will demand constant ongoing assessment and timely response to a whole range of incidents and needs. Against this complex and challenging backdrop, how exactly do you safeguard the connected smart city? This is where threat intelligence services come in to play. With the right services partner’s systems in place, any threat to the security of the system and its information can be detected, analysed and dealt with. The ICT will be able to obtain reliable threat and vulnerability intelligence, and consequently dynamically adjust its security stance.

Moreover, where incidents occur, these need to be promptly and effectively managed by specialist operators and incident management tools, in order to return users and services to their normal operational status.

Against a threat landscape that is growing in intensity and sophistication, having an effective strategy to combat such attacks has become an integral consideration in the private sector boardroom and for policy-making within the public sector – because public administrators know that any serious incident or breach could result in devastating outcomes, in terms of financial, data, credibility and reputational loss or damage.

That is why choosing reputable, experienced thought leaders as partners in conceiving such complex developments is an important step in the right direction towards building resilient smart cities that will stand the test of time and set new benchmarks in urban development. With so much at stake, there really is no room for compromise when it comes to ensuring that these cities of the future enjoy the highest possible levels of protection.

For a more comprehensive approach, download the Executive Report, ‘Transformational Smart Cities: cyber security and resilience’, here: