The relationship between smart cities and cyber security is complex, and standards are still being developed. However, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has laid the groundwork for an IoT-enabled framework for smart cities that addresses cyber security and data protection.
It begins with good policy. It's easy to get excited about the doors opened by IoT but forget the threats that can come through them. Having clear policies around IoT data use and privacy from the start will prevent misuse and help city staff be more security aware, so they can do their part in preventing a cyber attack. At the same time, there must be boundaries around who is allowed to access and use the information generated by the various connected devices.
Remember, a smart city handles the data of all its citizens, which means identity management is critical across all connected systems, even if each piece of infrastructure has different access rules. Credentialing must be synchronized to eliminate weak points and protect all residents' personal information.
In addition to managing access and credentials, city staff must be clear on how each connected device behaves—what data it collects and how, as well as how the data is transmitted and used. Proper encryption must be applied as soon as the device is turned on, both at the device level and across any communications links to the data's destination.
Any smart city's goal is to improve the quality of life for people living in them while increasing the ways and efficiency in which cities operate by design infrastructure, systems and processes that elevate the way they provide services in new and cost-effective ways. The smart technology, connectivity and applications must be able to meet the basic wants and needs of residents with cyber security acting as a key building block of any smart city's foundation.
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