September 01, 2022

IT security at the core of smart cities

Technology will be a key component of smart cities, influencing everything from service delivery and public access to home automation and smart parking sensors. This, however, necessitates more robust IT security.

In Asia, Europe and America, smart cities are now a reality. At the moment, Shanghai is regarded as the leading smart city, followed by Seoul, Barcelona, Beijing and New York. These cities have committed to digitised urban development, waste management, energy, transport and infrastructure.

The standard of living is already transforming as a result, but to protect these digital systems from various threats, revolutionary cyber security is essential. In Kenya, this will also be true. The government will need to partner with credible IT service providers who can offer digital services and IT security solutions for smart cities.

Smart city IT security risks

According to a recent report, if cyber criminals hack or breach the interconnected systems required by smart cities, it could trigger a “cascading failure across key city systems”. IT security systems will need to be exceedingly sophisticated and always on because this could be extremely expensive and disruptive for the entire city.

The report also discovered that many existing smart cities are not placing enough emphasis on cyber security, leaving them vulnerable to attacks that could impede health services, disrupt traffic and harm the local economy. The risks are always present, but they increase in likelihood if IT security hasn't been improved or implemented.

The primary threat to smart cities is likely ransomware because it will be attractive for cyber criminals to hold key systems at ransom in exchange for massive sums of money. However, these risks can be significantly decreased or even eliminated if IT security is prioritised.

The people who are in charge of overseeing IT security systems should partner with third-party providers to achieve complete oversight and 24/7 monitoring and maintenance of these systems. The more sets of eyes on these systems, the better the services rendered to residents and businesses within the smart city.

Smart city investment of two levels

Investment will be needed on two fronts for the development of smart cities. One would involve investing money in the city's physical infrastructure and interconnected digital systems, while the other would concern IT security and the granular-level IT architecture, or the "back-end" of the smart city.

Smart city leaders and local governments should collaborate with IT security partner to set up these systems and make sure they are always up to date. While government departments are completely capable, having an expert private partner can lead to improved monitoring and oversight of the security systems. For more information or to get a quote for our IT security services, email us at or leave us a message.

SEACOM owns Africa’s largest network of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, including fibre optic networks and subsea cables. We offer a wide range of industry-leading scalable ICT solutions for large companies that operate throughout the region.

SEACOM is privately owned - making it adaptable to the needs of the client. We are the preferred ICT and internet connectivity supplier for African enterprises. We can guarantee fast, reliable and secure internet and networking services at affordable prices.

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