By: Iranga Kahangama, Assistant Secretary for Cyber, Infrastructure, Risk, and Resilience
More than eight billion people live on Earth, and over half of them live in metropolitan areas. In fact, 83% of Americans live in an urban environment and that number is expected to grow. As urbanization accelerates, community planners are rapidly turning to digital technology to modernize municipal services and improve the standard of living for their residents.
These “connected communities” offer an opportunity to build safer and more resilient cities, but they also create new targets of opportunity for cybercriminals. With an eye on the horizon, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is working with state, local, and academic partners to help municipal leaders to reduce risk and increase resilience within our communities across the nation.
As part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to build resilient infrastructure and to recognize Critical Infrastructure Month, this past week DHS released its first Connected Community Governance guide, “How to Write a Connected Community Strategy.” We developed this foundational guide in collaboration with representatives from cities across the country.
It is critical that we think holistically about connected community projects to ensure that they are secure-by-design, and that starts with a strategy.
The guide will help local leaders to set a clear vision for their connected community, define smart service areas, articulate metrics of performance, and address cybersecurity risk and privacy needs.
“In an increasingly interconnected world, our collective mission is clear: securely delivering technology services to our residents. A well-crafted digital strategy acts as the guiding light for our cyber defenders and enables the protection of those services,” said New York City Chief Information Security Officer Kelly Moan, who contributed to our guide. “We are pleased to contribute to this guide, dedicated to serve and fortify the broader community where innovation, technology, and resiliency converge to create a more secure future.”
The resource also highlights the opportunities and benefits of DHS’s cybersecurity grant programs, specifically the grants available to state, local, territorial, and tribal governments across the country.
As the first of many resources to be developed by DHS in collaboration with state, local, and academic partners, the guide will inform municipal professionals' decision-making for implementing smart projects to reduce the risk of disruptions to their communities.
To download the guide, visit the How to Write a Connected Community Strategy webpage.