Protecting Smart Cities - Security in the IoT Era

The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the world around us at an unprecedented rate, powering everything from smart homes to smart cities. There is no sign of this slowing down any time soon. In fact, the IDC expects worldwide IoT spending to surpass the $1 trillion mark in 2022. However as the adoption and number of IoT devices continues to accelerate so does the risk of cybercrime. 

Over the last ten years, global economies have experienced major growth as a result of developing technologies. Next year marks the beginning of a new era filled with fresh opportunities for innovation. Although the next ten years will see the evolution of technologies that generate smarter and more connected cities, a key concern is the ability to build-in reliable security solutions especially where urban planning and the development of public spaces are concerned. 

The outdoors are becoming just as connected as indoors, and increased access and reliability of connectivity will provide more strategic commercial advantages and opportunities for local areas. However, the increased number of connected devices will also result in a wider threat landscape – that is why network managers need the right tools to oversee and safeguard digital infrastructures as they grow across towns and cities.   

New initiatives such as the WiFi4EU across Europe, which has seen major investment in several countries to further develop internet connectivity in public places. Harnessing the power of the Digital Single Market, the initiative will create a landscape where individuals and businesses can seamlessly access and enjoy the benefits of secure connectivity. 

As governments and enterprises continue to implement policies to make smart cities even smarter, ongoing network management is critical. Governments wishing to lower emissions and smooth out traffic, through smart traffic lights and IoT-based road monitoring, count on appropriate connected services and robust security solutions which are fundamental to upholding public and private protection and safety. 

Connectivity solutions are increasingly required in all types of public space, from healthcare centres to museums, as well as used in more urban environments such as in parks or on roads for pollution control and traffic management. Appropriate infrastructure and hardware must be used to process the large streams of real-time data smart cities require to function. In increasingly connected public and private spaces, intelligent, robust and sustainable solutions are central to upholding security. 

With the rising rate of IoT device adoption; there is an increased risk of attacks from cybercriminals. The rush to innovate can lead to unforeseen risks as a result of poor cybersecurity practices. Manufacturers and industry bodies must work together to advance security solutions and equip organisations with the tools they need to consistently keep their network safe. 

In-built security features are important in IoT technology deployed in Smart Cities; from basic infrastructure such as routers and Wi-Fi points to wider surveillance technology. It is key for governments and enterprises to have the ability to create safe and trusted network environments, using authorization and encryption capabilities in products from the outset. 

The ability to oversee networks 24/7 is pivotal for mitigating risk and supporting cybersecurity practices, by enabling remote configuration, monitoring, and automated management. Innovative software such as the D-Link Nuclias range gives network managers a flexible and cost-effective solution that fits a multitude of environments. For smaller organisations there are easy out-of-the-box network solutions, whereas for larger organisations that require robust functionality and end-to-end control, Nuclias has the flexibility to make on boarding, studying, troubleshooting, and reporting on your network activity quick and easy.

The multitude of IoT connected devices appear in a range of shapes and sizes, connectivity solutions must offer the same flexibility. Whether indoor or outdoor, public or private spaces, all require connectivity solutions that are agile and easy to implement. D-Link’s Nuclias Wireless AC2600 Wave 2 Access Point, for example can be set up and ready to deploy almost anywhere, from high footfall public spaces to corporate premises and offices.

As a new decade begins, there is no time like the present to start connecting the environment we live in to create truly smart cities. As public and private space becomes increasingly connected organisations will require suitable digital services and effective, robust solutions to ensure visibility and uphold network security as a whole.   

Neil Patel, Director European Marketing and Business Development

A highly-regarded voice in the networking industry, Neil Patel has spearheaded D-Link's European Marketing and Business Development for nearly a decade.