A Smart, Secure Approach To Smart Cities

Anna Ralph

April 23, 2018

Cities are getting smarter and smarter. Whether it’s simplifying data collection, revamping the voting process, or installing smart traffic lights to effectively manage congestion, there are a number of new and exciting technologies municipal and local governments can implement to simplify and improve quality of life while streamlining processes. And with over half of the worldwide population living in cities, smart cities will soon become essential. But without a plan that accounts for both infrastructure capacity and security, smart city investments can easily go awry.

Building from the Ground Up

From the first hop, your DNS has to be capable of handling the load of all these new connected devices, sensors, and more. It’s important to not let the excitement of new technologies cloud your careful assessment of your network capabilities and capacity. Approach your smart city with a goals-first strategy. What do you want to accomplish? What are the priorities of the city and the citizens? Being connected for the sake of being connected doesn’t benefit anyone.

“You don’t start with the technology, you start with the priorities that your city is trying to achieve.”

Account for your needs of today and the future and make sure you have a reliable, scalable network that can handle the load and processes. As your smart city grows in size and popularity, you’ll soon realize the importance of having a flexible, scalable, secure DNS that can grow and shift with the needs of the city. All these new processes and concepts require a hard look at your network infrastructure, as all of these initiatives will ultimately rely on the current city’s network with a slew of new (unprotected) IoT devices.

Securing Your Smart Cities

With any new technology comes risks. It’s crucial that all stakeholders temper their excitement for new and exciting technologies with the gravity of today’s breach reality. For example, smart traffic lights, parking meters, and charging stations can all be connected via sensors and other IoT devices to help reduce congestion and optimize parking. But the fact is every unprotected IoT device serves as another brick in a bad actor’s road to your sensitive data and critical systems. Because the fact is they’re not trying to get access to your streetlights, they’re trying to get access to your infrastructure.

DNS should be a crucial part of any cyber security stack. After all, the bad guys are using it to gain access to your networks, so why not use it against them? By utilizing DNS to secure your IoT devices, you save yourself the trouble of tinkering with the operation of the device itself. Agentless solutions like DNS Edge allow for easy implementation without consuming memory, bandwidth, and operating resources with an outside agent.

The Future Is Now

Smart cities are not some far away, Jetsons-like dream. Governments are taking more steps towards bringing their municipalities into the future. In fact, one of the most amazing examples of a smart city is not a city at all, but a country. Estonia spent 10 years crafting and creating X-Road, the foundation of e-Estonia. “X-Road, the data exchange layer for information systems, is a technological and organizational environment enabling a secure Internet-based data exchange between information systems.” Estonia understands the risks involved in transferring sensitive data, and takes a holistic approach to information systems, with cyber security, data integrity and network capacity as the core foundation.

When you’re looking at planning your smart city, DNS should be first on the list for both cyber security and infrastructure. Interested in ensuring your DNS infrastructure is ready? Want to learn how to leverage that infrastructure to provide easily implemented, agentless security? Get in touch with us.

Smart cities open up a world of possibilities. Instead of being connected for the sake of being connected, citizens and institutions can work together to create seamless and simplified processes that improve day-to-day life for everyone.

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Anna is a passionate content writer who’s always eager to learn something new about cyber security.

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