Over the past few years, we have become more acquainted with the concept of smart cities. This recent development has been increasing in popularity over the past few years. One of the factors that has been increasing the use of smart cities is the quick development in the technology field. The development of technology and the adoption of smart cities is bringing along many opportunities for cities to further transform their cities. This transformation brings along advantages for local governments, businesses in the city and most importantly the inhabitants of this city. Furthermore, another factor that has been playing a big role in this development is the expectancy that by 2050 66% of the world population will live in cities.

Development of Smart cities

Cities have become smart to a certain degree with the use of technology. The use of technology has enabled local governments to boost the productivity and efficiency in their cities. The use of digital connectivity and big data exploration have brought along different opportunities for smart city projects. Furthermore, it has also enabled the creation of beneficial smart-city projects across a range of sectors.

With the introduction of the smart city concept, cities have become more dependent on technology. The main idea behind the concept of smart cities is to provide citizens with a safe place to live. Furthermore, local governments also aim to improve factors such as public safety, street lighting, police and fire protection and many more problems faced by cities. However, the increase in connectivity and intelligent technologies also make the city more vulnerable. Not only is the city more efficient and well coordinated, but it also becomes more vulnerable to cyber attacks.

The consequences of cyber attacksin cities can have severe consequences. Specially, if we take into consideration that local governments safe data containing sensitive personal information about their citizens. Therefore, this can be data that can be compromised or used by hackers to control a city’s network. When implementing smart city technologies, it is therefore important that the local government takes the security of the city into consideration.

Securing  Smart Cities

With the developments of smart cities, local governments need to take into consideration the security of the city. This includes the general security of the city and the cyber security. The importance of cyber security has increased over the past few years. Over the past few years, cities have become more vulnerable to this type of security.Vulnerability in cyber security can have severe consequences for smart cities. According to Riaan Badenhorst, Managing Director for Kaspersky Lab Africa:

¨This could lead to a major disaster. Imagine if a hacker was able to get into a network and shut down a power grid for days. Smart city security projects need to be safe and local municipalities need to play an important role in making sure this safety precaution is taken.¨

Due to the increased vulnerabilities for cities, local governments have sharpened up their measures in cyber security. Due to this vulnerability, cities have developed new cyber security guidelines. With the development of these guidelines, cities are able to have a better overview of what elements are needed to provide the best solutions. According to Mohamad Amin Hasbini, a Kaspersky Security Professional:

“This is the reason behind the newly released Securing Smart Cities guidelines, a joint initiative by Securing Smart Cities and the Cloud Security Alliance. These guidelines provide organizations with an overview of the key elements needed in order to implement the best technological solutions with a lower risk of exposure to cyber threats.”

These guidelines address a variety of topics that need to be considered by local governments. Therefore, the guidelines include the following topics:

  • Safety implementing, operating and maintaining technology
  • Enabling strong encryption and passwords
  • Disabling services that are no longer used or needed

Furthermore, when it comes to cyber security it is also of main importance that local governments develop partnerships. This allows local governments to work together with security organizations as they develop new guidelines and standards. Ultimately, these partnerships can help both the organization and the local government further develop security measures. Moreover, local governments can benefit from the long experience of organizations operating in the cyber security field.

Conclusion

The development of smart city initiatives has helped to improve the life in cities across the world. However, this has also brought along different worries for local governments that have implemented the use of smart city projects. With the increased use of technology and data collection forces local governments to think about cyber security. Therefore, in the past few years, we see a shift in the measures to be taken by local governments. This is especially important since a small breach in the security measures of the city can have big consequences.