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It seems everyone is talking about smart cities these days – and with good reason. The potential of a whole city working in perfect harmony via interconnected technology is a fascinating prospect.

But wherever the discussion regarding smart cities leads, a conversation surrounding the security concerns closely follows. And undoubtedly, protecting the entirety of a smart city’s infrastructure across a densely populated, sprawling urban environment is an intimidating proposition.

Only through implementing the appropriate technology – which provides the depth of data connected cities require without sacrificing safety – can we achieve a balance between smart services and security risks.

Safety first

The world is becomingly increasingly urbanised. Indeed, by 2050 more than two-thirds of the population globally are projected to live in urban areas.

Brand new, purpose made locations – such as Toyota’s Woven City – will be able to start from the ground up, while existing cities must ensure that current legacy technology will not present additional risks.

Securing components at an individual level is crucial. But for smart city networks to run safely, security teams need to have a comprehensive overview of all the systems involved, and how they interact with one another.

Taking a more integrated approach enables cities to identify potential vulnerabilities in advance – reducing the risk that ‘zero day’ exploits or brand-new attack methods will cause havoc in urban environments.

And just as with traditional IT networks, effective security also relies on the ability to spot unusual or suspicious activity on the network.

Given the sheer extent of infrastructure that smart cities need, continuous, automated monitoring is essential for detecting signs of security breaches. This must be coupled with contextualised alerts that allow security teams to prioritise their responses.

Advanced monitoring and security

Distributed Acoustic Sensing technology (DAS) is a perfect example of how smart cities can build new intelligence into existing infrastructures, advancing monitoring and security capabilities.

Combining a safety-first approach to city planning with the right technology will allow municipal authorities to manage and respond to physical threats that are localised or span across the entire network.

Smart cities are set to develop into extremely complex interconnected entities, that the vast majority of people around the globe will grow to rely on.

From tracking automated vehicles to monitoring foot traffic in increasingly densely inhabited urban areas, solutions such as DAS will be vital in balancing smart services and security concerns.

 

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