Update your Passwords, Back Up your Files: The Future of Smart Cities Technology Depends on Increase


Update your Passwords, Back Up your Files: The Future of Smart Cities Technology Depends on Increase

Today, virtually everything we do is internet dependent. Most people rely so heavily on paying with credit cards or Apple Pay that if the internet goes out at any retail location, customers are forced to leave the store empty-handed because carrying cash has largely become a thing of the past. Commercial transactions and social relations alike are carried out through digital platforms. As a society, convenience is paramount; without smartphones in our pockets to connect us to all of the information we could ever need, many of us would feel lost.

Especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, virtually everything is being digitalized. This increased focus on technology in every aspect of our lives means increased convenience for consumers, but, “The more windows and doors you have in your house, the more risk there is of someone being able to enter. The same principle applies to technology. The more devices are connected to a network, the more chance there is for someone to find their way into that network and cause problems.”

The infrastructures that keep cities running efficiently should go nearly unnoticed to the people who pass through them every day. Areas like smart lighting, smart traffic management, smart parking, intelligent waste management and more, are such ingrained parts of daily life that the only time people take note of them is when they’re malfunctioning.

The “Smart Cities” concept initially referred to initiatives that use digital and ICT-based innovation to improve the efficiency of urban services and generate new economic opportunities. The smart cities market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate is 24.2 percent from 2022 to 2030 to reach USD 6,965.02 billion by 2030. This exponential growth is driven by significant investments in digital platforms, smart applications, and IoT technologies, and represents a step into a future where public spaces operate through smart technology, with everything from lighting, waste management, traffic management, and smart parking and enforcement, controlled by a Smart Cities Ecosystem.

But our digital society is disorganized and in a state of constant disruption. The complex integration ecosystems, applications connecting from different providers and hosted in different cloud platforms– while being supported and managed by different tech companies– requires a very high degree of security. The concept of a “frictionless society,” developed in Silicon Valley, means a world where there are as few barriers between the physical and digital worlds as possible. This vision, while conceptually positive, has led to increased technological vulnerability across the board– and across the globe. Virtually everyone who uses technology should be taking an immediate active role to ensure the safety and security of their infrastructures and platforms, but these security concerns are very frequently disregarded.

In preparation for a future where Smart Cities technologies has reached its full potential, it’s nothing short of mandatory for every company and government agency to implement an ironclad cybersecurity strategy, while continuing to invest in security measures like cyber risk assessment and penetration testing. Software and operating systems must be kept up to date using secured, and encrypted internet communications. Secure passwords are also a necessity to protect credentials in device configuration files– and whenever possible, two-factor authentication is highly encouraged.

General cybersecurity practice must become a part of daily life as we proceed into the future of Smart Cities technologies and the boundaries between the digital and physical world continue to blur. Although it’s common sense to tech professionals, the average person doesn’t follow even the most basic measures of cybersecurity, for example: “when in doubt, don’t click,” add two- factor authentication to your accounts, keep Wi-Fi routers’ passwords updated, use antivirus applications, and more. Backing up files is essential for technology users of any level due to a higher volume of activity from wipers, even by ransomware gangs.

Because we are all so internet- and technology-dependent, cyber-attacks put our way of life at risk of complete disruption, and people trying to facilitate that disruption are only increasing in number. A strong, reliable, and highly-secured broadband infrastructure is a necessity for the future of our society– and the rise in the number of compromised network infrastructures in the past several years is a reminder that attention to cybersecurity should be a daily effort for us all.

“There is no doubt that the future will bring more technology, more integration, and more digitalization. New technology means new solutions and new connectivity– which requires a need for greater internet speeds, increased cyber security, and critical information for infrastructure protection.”

Luis Garma | Chairman | Mobile Smart City | lgarma@mobilesmart.city | (202) 427-5763

Article contributed by:
Luis Garma
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