Cyber Security in Smart Cities

 

The 2017 Smart Regions Conference was the Midwest’s largest gathering of experts exploring smart city solutions. The event welcomed business, academic, and government leaders in local, county, state, and federal positions to explore smart city success stories, challenges, and opportunities - looking beyond municipal boundaries.

A noteable Smart City Workshop featured leaders in the cybersecurity space, including Greg Akers (Cisco Security and Trust Organization), Richard Harknett (University of Cincinnati), Chris Huntington (Nexigen), Mark Schnitter (Centric), James Walden (Northern Kentucky University) and Mitchell Kominsky (Venture Smarter).

Cyber Security in Smart Cities - Smart Regions Conference - Venture Smarter

“The only way to protect that data is to do it by way of protecting the infrastructure.”

Greg Akers, Senior Vice President of Advanced Security Initiatives and Chief Technology Officer within the Security and Trust Organization (STO), of Cisco

Author: Mitch Kominsky

Ransomware is deployed and found everywhere, including hospitals. As the internet of things becomes more prevalent, security becomes more critical. For example, some of our panels spoke of how many medical device companies are building pacemakers, which most likely have vulnerabilities that are easy to penetrate for a hacker.

threats and Challenges in Cyber

The cybersecurity threat grows everyday -- and major corporations face hundreds of millions of attacks on their networks on a daily basis.  It is impossible to thwart every attack. Greg Akers, Senior Vice President of Advanced Security Initiatives and Chief Technology Officer within the Security and Trust Organization (STO), of Cisco, indicated that “the only way to protect that data is to do it by way of protecting the infrastructure.”

Another challenge resides in the how the government and private sector work together.  For years, cyber experts have worked on forming public-private partnerships to enhance security for digital threats. Those partnerships have produced key initiatives to help prevent attacks and share information. The alignment of government and business, however, is not direct.

Opportunity for Resilience

There is an opportunity to improve security if  companies look at cyber threats from a prevention and detection mindset, according to Chris Huntington.  Resilient policy allows organizations where to start, how to map out a strategy for threats, and include all relevant departments to be active participants. Companies can also improve their efforts by quickly patch security flaws and becoming more anticipatory than reactive.

It all starts with a solid foundation

Education is a big component of cyber hygiene. This includes education about how innovative companies are incorporating security into their business models. There is also an opportunity for companies to work with legislators to change laws to accommodate smart city planning and technologies.

Workshop Takeaway:

Cybersecurity is a critical and growing challenge for government, businesses, and universities. Focusing on the infrastructure layer of the network will be key in improving security and leaders must think about what data is the most valuable and how to secure.

Interested in participating or sponsoring our next event?  Get in touch.   (e) hello@smartregions.org