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5 Best Cybersecurity Practices for European Smart Cities
Drivers avoiding traffic congestion and city services anticipating residents' needs in a smart city sounds appealing, doesn't it? But a smart cyber-safe town includes precise controls with proper implementation. Here is how European smart cities are realizing this dream.
FREMONT, CA: Smart cities are no longer the wave of the future. They are here now and proliferating as technologies expand and impact services around the globe. A recent study reveals that the smart city industry is projected to be a $400 billion market by 2020, with 600 cities worldwide. Ensuring a secure, sustainable, and effective transition is one of Europe’s priorities and one of the critical elements of making smart cities. However, Europe taking an active and planned approach for smart city adoption is becoming a more strategic way of embracing technology. When technology is implemented in a planned and well-thought manner, safety and security earn a more prominent role. Security by design is when it becomes a primary consideration, as equal to any other technology feature being contemplated. Balancing the vision of smart cities against cyber threats and managing the associated risks effectively are vital to identifying the full potential of smart cities. European cities are taking these necessary steps to win the race. Read on to know more.
• Syncing Cyber Strategy
European smart cities are defining a detailed Cybersecurity strategy in line with their smart city strategy that can mitigate challenges arising from the convergence, interoperability, and interconnections of the city systems and processes. Governance authorities are carrying out extensive impact assessments of data, systems, and cyber assets to identify, evaluate, and mitigate the risks associated with technology processes, policies, and solutions. This integrated view enables cities to develop a comprehensive security strategy.
• Formalizing Data Governance
Smart cities across Europe are formalizing the governance approach to data, assets, infrastructure, and other technology components. A comprehensive model spells out roles and responsibilities for each critical element in the smart city ecosystem. To implement an ecosystem approach to tackle security issues, governing authorities in Europe are working together with a robust governance model as the foundation. Cities are establishing a network among other cities, state agencies, and corporations to share threat information, capabilities, and contracts to strengthen cyber defences. Besides, data management, including, robust data sharing and privacy policies, data analytics skills, and monetization models, facilitate the sourcing and usage of data. Policies, legislation, and technology are continuously aligned to maintain the right balance of protection, privacy, transparency, and utility.
• Building Strategic Partnerships
The cyber skills gap is not going to fade soon. Realizing this fact, smart city administration in Europe is exploring unconventional efforts to tap into cyber talent. The initiatives include crowdsourcing, prizes, and challenges to remediate cyber-related issues. A smart city needs new talents and competencies across its ecosystem. Cities are also augmenting existing capabilities through strategic partnerships and contracts with service providers. As more and more industries get connected and devices being integrated, hacking, and malware-related issues from one sector could be relevant to another. Decision-makers have realized the need to join hands and fight this problem together. Collaboration is reducing ambiguity and accelerating the ability to implement secure products and services within sustainable smart cities’ ecosystems across Europe.
• Incorporating Security Solutions
A practical, simple yet secure method that is widely adopted across European smart cities is the integration of security solutions. Such security solutions consist of firmware integrity and secure boot. This ensures that a device in the connected ecosystem only executes code generated by the device or trusted party. Using secure boot technology is preventing hackers and ensures that devices in the ecosystem are only communicating with authorized services. Governing bodies also use mutual authentication while receiving and transmitting data. Secure, mutual authentication helps protect against malicious attacks. A life cycle management feature is also added to this security framework that allows smart cities to control security aspects of assets when in operation.
• Keeping up with Regulations
Along with the rise of smart cities, there is a rise in cyber regulations. In response to years of security breaches, smart city leaderships in Europe are introducing expansive rules for technology usage and data protection. Working with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe is an excellent way of keeping cybersecurity and data protection in focus. As cities collect more data and implement more technology, city leaders are fighting against cyber risks. High-tech professionals will need to do everything, including managing citywide cybersecurity. Creating a policy that works within regulations can help ensure security in inadvertent instances. Sound policy can guide employees and users toward becoming more cyber-secure.
City leadership realizes that safeguarding cities from cyber risk is no one-time event, and the irony is that cyber strategy evolves with cyber threats. Cybersecurity is just too crucial to be treated as an afterthought.