Understanding risk and creating resilient and secure networks is essential to ensure critical services and citizen safety.
When worlds collide
Today’s citizens have come to expect and rely on secure, critical government services, and as cyber and physical risks converge that security is being threatened.
On the cyber side of things, the exponential increase in Internet of Things (IoT) devices and new work from home expectations are extending network boundaries increasing the potential risk for cyberattacks. Add to that, the dark web, where sensitive government data can be sold anonymously, making government systems targets for information theft and coordinated attacks.
On the physical side, a rise in vandalism, terrorism and riots are increasing threats to civic and defence infrastructure and business continuity. And severe weather events and natural disasters, resulting from climate change, are making it next to impossible to deliver government services and keep citizens safe when they need it most
Together, these risks are making it more difficult for governments and cities to remain fully compliant with increasingly strict data sovereignty and privacy regulations creating potential for infringement fines and lawsuits.
New bold, proactive strategies that deliver security and resilience are required to address today’s most significant threats.
Understanding the risks and building resilience and security into their networks will enable governments and cities to protect citizens and operations and ensure business continuity in challenging circumstances.
Unfortunately, when budgets are strained, risk mitigation measures are often first on the cutting block, especially when incidents haven’t yet hit close to home. However, the reality is that every government organisation is a potential target for an attack. In fact, cyberattacks against governments jumped 95% in the last half of 2022, and it’s estimated that by 2025, 30% of critical infrastructure organisations will experience a security breach. The harshness of today’s reality is highlighted as the United Nations advises governments to work to make cities and human settlements more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
And so, while budgets may strain, it’s clear that governments and cities must make resilience and security a top priority. Ensuring critical services are available and protecting sensitive data, particularly in times of unexpected crisis, is critical. As well heading off potential financial losses due to cyber and physical attacks is an investment well made. In addition to the material impacts, government organisations need to consider the trust of their citizens which can be badly damaged or lost altogether due to service delays and outages. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, safeguarding citizens by providing essential health, safety and protection is paramount.
Technology brings rewards and risks
The need for digitalisation initiatives that increase operational agility, efficiency and productivity has never been greater. With digitalisation, government organisations can take advantage of IoT technologies, automated workflows, use real-time data for better decision-making and implement smart building applications.
However, today’s connected people, objects and processes also means threats can quickly spread throughout systems, devices and applications making it easier for hackers to extend their reach throughout the network. Digitalisation can also create a link between cyber and physical risks. For example, bad actors can remotely hack into data centres or gain physical access by compromising an electronic door lock. Additionally, IT/OT convergence creates new opportunities to attack information resources and critical building systems.
New technologies can also be used for and against government organisations. Artificial intelligence (AI) for example helps to prevent, protect and accelerate responses to cyber and physical threats, but it also enables bad actors to crack passwords to government systems. In future, we will need to prepare for similar situations with quantum computing, which will help governments solve complex problems but also make it easier to decrypt sensitive information.
A framework for success
Governments and cities must improve their ability to prevent, protect against and react to threats. Doing nothing is not an option. Continuing to rely on outdated and isolated networks and communications technologies as risks continue to multiply is not a viable approach from any perspective.
As governments and cities grow, a technology partner can help implement a framework that aligns with their requirements. The Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Risk, Resilience and Security (RRS) framework includes the processes, best practices and solutions governments and cities need to predict, monitor, avoid and counter exposure to cyber and physical risks.
Working together, ALE can help governments and cities identify their unique set of risks and choose solutions to address them; bridge the gaps between cyber and physical security, and resilience; and help make the case for budget approvals with subscription-based models.
Learn how ALE is helping governments and cities address, risk, resilience and security to ensure critical services and citizen safety.