More than eight billion people live on Earth, and more than half live in metropolitan areas. Currently, 83% of US residents live in some type of urban environment – that number is expected to grow to 89% by 2050. As urbanization accelerates, the demand for infrastructure will also increase. In response, community planners are rapidly turning to digital technology to meet the growing demands of urban life.
Enter the “connected community” – the promise that equitable, safe, secure, and sustainable community life can be achieved through digitization. However, a digital transformation from a traditional community to a connected community requires a robust strategy. Digital strategies help community planners reflect on the factors that must be addressed to foster a connected community. Furthermore, strategies can catalyze the widespread adoption of technical solutions to enhance the community.
A strategy can also be the difference between secure community services and the disruption of those services by cybercriminals. The deployment of new technologies in communities creates new targets of opportunity for cybercriminals. In fact, U.S. state and local governments reported a 70% increase in ransomware attacks between 2020 and 2021. While a digital strategy may not have prevented each attack, a strategy would better prepare community planners to think through the implications of digital projects, which include cyber risks.
Unfortunately, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) 2023 analysis of 106 of the largest U.S. communities found that only 26 had published a digital transformation strategy as of April 2023. However, all analyzed communities had launched at least one connected community project, suggesting that many projects are started without a comprehensive digital strategy. The analysis does not suggest those projects will fail or lead to cyber-attacks. However, DHS believes that more can be done to foster safe and secure connected communities – and that starts with a strategy.
To that end, DHS partnered with representatives from New York (NY), San Jose (CA), Memphis (TN), Chattanooga (TN), and Colorado State University to develop this "how-to" guide to help community leaders build a digital transformation strategy. Contributors include chief information officers, chief information security officers, chief privacy officers, economists, technology experts, cyber policy professionals, risk analysts, and former municipal executives, each with unique experience driving community digital transformations. This foundational guide is the first in a series of guides that DHS hopes will help communities achieve their connected community goals.
|How to Write a Connected Community Strategy||1.70 MB||10/30/2023|