Smart City Transport..Security Challenges

One of the major investments in a Smart City would be on an integrated intermodal  transport network which connects the personal transport vehicles to the public systems of different kinds.

To understand the issues involved, a really smart city transport service means that the city bus service, the private taxi or auto services  are needed to be connected to the railways, metro and air network so that a person leaving his residence in his vehicle knows exactly how is the transport network which will reach him to the airport in time. This network of transport vehicles need to be connected to the traffic light system, (including the VIP movement system..or privileged access system) to enable smooth vehicular movements. The GPS records of the movement need to be picked up say with visuals from different CCTV cameras en-route, processed in real time and decisions to be transmitted back to the grid. If an ambulance is on the way, it should be recognized and provided privileged access. If an accident happens, there needs to be an intelligent rerouting, alerts to the hospital etc.

The technologists will look at different components that will address these systems. However the biggest challenge would be in working out the interoperability of different systems. Application level security may be guaranteed to some extent by the vendors of the systems but the security challenges that may arise from the interconnection of one system to the other would be the responsibility of the network integrator. The decisions of such an integrator would conflict with the decisions of other functionaries as regards to vendor choice, application choice etc and are likely to introduce political and commercial hurdles.

The Smart City management team need to be suitably empowered to take decisions on purchase of products and services by the City. In a way this is similar to what we say in a corporate scenario where the CISO should have a say in hardware and software purchase but it does not happen as often as necessary. In the Corporate scenario we try to over come this hurdle with the formation of a high level Information Security Committee. Perhaps the Smart City project should also create a CISO and Information Security community even at the time of initial planning so that security inputs go into every decision right at the architecture level.

If these challenges are properly addressed, then the cost of the smart city projects will be controllable. Otherwise the project will be delayed and there will be cost escalations along with inefficient implementation of the project.

The Smart City projects should therefore be on the look out for IS professionals of all hue and colour and it would be a great time for such professionals in terms of job opportunities.


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About Vijayashankar Na

Naavi is a veteran Cyber Law specialist in India and is presently working from Bangalore as an Information Assurance Consultant. Pioneered concepts such as ITA 2008 compliance, Naavi is also the founder of Cyber Law College, a virtual Cyber Law Education institution. He now has been focusing on the projects such as Secure Digital India and Cyber Insurance
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