5 steps for cybersecurity in smart cities, according to KPMG

5 steps for cybersecurity in smart cities, according to KPMG
The most significant downside of connected technology is cybersecurity concerns. While connectivity increases the scope of modern businesses and opens up a world of new opportunities, cyber vulnerabilities and increasing cyberattacks make stakeholders more and more vulnerable.
 
Any digital device connected to the internet in any vertical is an equally vulnerable potential threat. Apart from the quality of the device itself, the only major difference here is the nature of the vertical and its scale. Naturally, the bigger or more critical an asset, the larger the risks and the possible losses from a cyberattack.
 
This is the situation that smart city projects are facing. They are large, often government-funded projects that would bring a plethora of devices together online. Many of them are critical infrastructure, which if breached, could result in total mayhem. Imagine power grids or nuclear power plants in the wrong hands.
 
The research firm KPMG recently came up with a report on the steps that could be taken to minimize cybersecurity risks. The information in it could be summarized to five major points.
 

Establishing a formal cybersecurity framework

 
According to the research firm, formal guidance based on well-defined cybersecurity policy and a structured security organization with clearly defined roles and responsibilities will be important for governing the cybersecurity posture and reducing the cyber risks.
 
Cybersecurity is an inter-vertical issue. It affects almost every industry these days. Unfortunately, the expertise to fight each and every cyberattack is limited. Hence, standardization of solutions and policies become inevitable.
 

Security must be built-in from the ground up

 
Stakeholders and users in smart cities ecosystem will expect security to be built into the system, KPMG notes. Technology architects should follow an ‘always-on’ principle that provides high levels of control with appropriate fail-safes.
 
Being vigilant of potential threats at any point of time is important to stop any kind of attack. There should be clear cut plans in place to follow when a threat emerges. 
 

Security should be deployed in integrated from across the value chain

 
In smart city projects, cybersecurity should be part of the value chain. In other words, every service provider, every component supplier, and every solution provider must be aware of cybersecurity concerns and know what steps to take to reduce risks. This becomes a major concern as the projects scale up and more and more companies become part of it.
 
“Smart cities should carefully evaluate their third-party suppliers, identify qualified partners, and invest in integrating security, privacy, and trust across the ecosystem,” KPMG noted.
 

Establish a cyber-resilient and trusted environment

 
Ultimately, the users need to feel that they can trust the system to feel encouraged to use it. To make this possible, there should be a proper and transparent governance system to manage cybersecurity issues. This will make it clear to the users that companies are complying to regulations.
 
“Resilience and trust will be established through validation of cyber practices, ensuring compliance and consistent engagement with smart city stakeholders and citizens,” KPMG said. “This will enhance cyber confidence of citizens and stakeholders on smart city functioning.”
 

Engage across industry, knowledge bodies and regulatory groups to standardize security measures

 
As mentioned before, cybersecurity concerns are not limited to one industry. As we see more and more industries getting connected and devices being integrated, hacking and malware-related issues from one industry could be relevant to another. There is a need for decision-makers in different industries to join hands and fight this problem together.
 
“Collaboration will reduce ambiguity and accelerate the ability to implement secure products and services within sustainable smart cities ecosystem,” KPMG concluded.


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