Beyond blockchain

Heightened focus on security for public sector agencies

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phone appsTechnology innovations like IoT, autonomous systems and mobile solutions invariably bring with them increased risks and security threats. Today’s news cycle features a constant stream of stories on hackers commandeering household nanny-cams, smart thermostats and video-enabled doorbells.

The expansion of the Internet of Things has dramatically increased the attack surface. As the number of connected devices continues to rise dramatically, we can expect cybersecurity attacks to increase in frequency and, likely, impact. A new IDC forecast estimates that there will be 41.6 billion connected IoT devices, or “things,” generating 79.4 zettabytes (ZB) of data in 2025.

The convergence of information technology/operational technology (OT) make many physical systems susceptible to cyberattacks, while the increased mobility of the public sector workforce that accesses government applications from the field also causes new vulnerabilities.

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Technology expansion and vulnerability

This expanded attack surface, coupled with many outdated, often unsupported, legacy systems performing essential functions in government, has made an easy target for disruptive attacks on public sector infrastructure and IT systems.

These attacks have wreaked havoc on critical processes, most recently in many cities, impacting traffic flow, navigation systems networks, public transportation systems, smart lighting patterns, and video surveillance camera functions as well as key functions such as email, phone and customer relationship management systems.

The result is a heightened awareness of the importance of security prevention and reaction for public sector agencies, especially around securing mobile devices and mobile communications. The heightened focus on cybersecurity threats in turn highlights the importance of trusted technology and services partner ecosystem.

The partnership between IBM and Samsung was designed with just these public sector challenges and vulnerabilities in mind. The partnership combines the security strengths of the Knox Platform — as well as its market leadership in 5G, IoT and next-generation devices — with IBM hybrid cloud, analytics and data processing capabilities. One of the most fundamental concepts of secure computing is to ensure a hardware-based, trusted environment.

The Knox Platform provides such an environment with the TrustZone, a securely isolated area within the device’s chipset to assure integrity and trust throughout the device’s lifecycle.  Further, it provides device software customization capabilities to serve the fit-for-purpose technology needs.

Partnerships for secure technology

A great example of this collaboration in delivering fit-for-purpose technology, is the IBM and Samsung SecuTABLET solution. SecuTABLET allows defense agencies to take advantage of secure messaging services, something that has historically been a struggle. SecuTABLET allows defense and intelligence agencies to work in real-time, with classified data on tablets and smartphones, securely.

For public sector agencies, security, pervasively threaded throughout the tech stack, has never been more important. Agencies will need to work with best of class vendors and partners who understand current and future vulnerabilities in the space. Further, draw from partners in the space who understand the public sector and its various critical missions to securely implement fit for purpose technologies.

Be sure to read my other blog posts in this IDC series sponsored by IBM, Navigating disruption in complex times and Technology for good: Advancements with social responsibility to learn more.

Learn more about what’s happening with business continuity and worker safety

Ph.D., Research Vice President, Smart Cities and Communities – Public Safety, IDC

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