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Smart Cities Are Most Vulnerable to Cyber Security Risks To reduce the evident cyber risks, a cyber-resilient and trusted environment is a prerequisite

By Aastha Singal

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With the urban civilization turning to smart technology solutions to increase operational efficiency and share information, cybersecurity has become a major concern. To keep pace with the tech-savvy generation, a need to establish a formal cybersecurity framework in smart cities has risen. To reduce the evident cyber risks, a cyber-resilient and trusted environment is a prerequisite.

The trade body FICCI in association with KPMG has suggested a five-point action plan to enable smart cities to make peace with the cybersecurity needs. "Smart Cities today is a model that has augmented civil infrastructure with a digital arm converting city assets into services with a view to improve urban living standards and reduce the environmental impact of growing populations," the report explained.

Smart Infrastructure

The world is moving from traditional to smart infrastructure with connected homes and devices. "A 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," the report suggested.

Mr Ajay Pandey, Chair-FICCI Urban Infra & Smart Cities Committee, FICCI & Managing Director & CEO, Gift City, said that India is at the brink of next stage transformation and urban transformation is growing at a faster pace. He stressed upon the need to adopt strategies to merge infrastructure with the cultural values of the cities under the smart city development.

Data Security

Security of Data collected in huge Volumes, Variety and Velocity is imperative for confidence in the utilization of smart city services. Stakeholders and users in smart cities ecosystem will expect security to be built into the system; technology architects should follow an "always-on' principle that provides high levels of control with appropriate fail-safes, the report defined.

Data is extremely valued in the smart city context. Highlighting its importance, Elias George, Chairman - Infrastructure, Government and Healthcare, KPMG in India stated, "India needs to be cognizant of the challenges that smart cities across the world have faced in terms of the deluge of cyber-attacks affecting the availability of smart city infrastructure, continuity of services and misuse of personal data."

Collaborative Approach

Collaborative service utilization and management reduce ambiguity and accelerate the ability to implement secure products and services within a sustainable smart cities ecosystem. Engagement across industry, knowledge bodies and regulatory groups to standardise security measures can also help robust cybersecurity framework maintain independence despite collaboration.

A well-planned city requires the services to be monitored to ensure security, transparency and ability to react to known and unknown events. In short, services require checks and balances to ensure fair usage and product utilisation. Governance is the core of city management and is enabled further in a smart city through smarter solutions and aids to ensure smooth flow of processes.

The following infographic based on the FICCI-KPMG report would further elaborate on the concept of cybersecurity in smart cities.

Aastha Singal

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Features Writer

A business journalist looking to find happiness in the world of startups, investments, MSMEs and more. Officially started her career as a news reporter for News World India, Aastha had short stints with NDTV and NewsX. A true optimist seeking to make a difference, she is a comic junkie who'd rather watch a typical Bollywood masala than a Hollywood blockbuster. 

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