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The Convergence of Physical and Digital Infrastructure

Building secure and resilient smart cities and communities

As digital and physical infrastructure converge, enabled by cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT), cities become increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks. Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory’s Smart City and Smart Community Cyber practice assist government and private organizations to address cybersecurity and privacy risks associated with connected environments while embracing the power of new technologies—next-generation networks, cloud, IoT, blockchain, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

Cyber everywhere in smart cities and communities

Smart cities and communities aim to increase economic competitiveness, strengthen sustainability efforts, and improve the quality of life of its people. The components of a smart city or community are designed to increase convenience and open the door to new services and communications in an ever-increasing mobile society.

As urban hubs become increasingly connected, many economic, environmental, and quality-of-life benefits are realized. However, with cyber everywhere, this connectivity comes with unique privacy and cybersecurity risks.

In a converging physical and digital world, relying on perimeter cyber defense is not enough. City and community leaders should, therefore, embrace a broader future-minded approach to grow anywhere, safely.

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New “connected” mission-critical considerations

Connected city initiatives are seeking ways to integrate infrastructure and processes with technologies such as big data, IoT, cloud computing, robotics, and artificial intelligence to spark a transformative change that benefits their population. In doing so, new considerations will have to be part of the strategy.

Smart city and smart community programs and processes are now increasingly connected—and highly dependent on each other. As cities gain new efficiencies and improved services with innovative technologies, it is more important than ever to monitor for cyber incidents. This also requires detailed incident response plans. When a cyber incident does occur, it is also important for leaders to have rehearsed crisis response, with detailed continuity plans.

City and community IT systems comprise many different technologies, often with different protocols, standards, and security mechanisms. As more technologies are introduced through smart city initiatives, it is critical to have cross-agency, -city, and -enterprise IT policies, standards, protocols, and a security architecture that govern and enforce minimum levels of security for technologies connected to the city’s IT ecosystem.

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Three factors influence the potential cyber risk in a smart city ecosystem

  1. The convergence of the cyber and physical worlds
  2. Interoperability between legacy and new systems
  3. Integration of disparate city services and enabling infrastructure

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Our services

Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory’s Smart City and Smart Community Cyber Services can help state and local governments and related public sector and private organizations address cyber risk in their smart city ecosystem. We offer risk intelligent services to help cities develop an integrated, holistic approach to managing cyber risk with smart city cybersecurity principles baked into stages of the development process, from strategy and design to implementation and operations.

Trusted by the world’s leaders. Chosen by the world’s innovators.

We manage cyber everywhere so you can innovate anywhere. From the visionaries reimagining businesses and the disruptors changing industries to the pioneers creating new markets, Deloitte is helping the smart city and smart community leaders solve their complex problems. So, they can build a confident future—one idea, innovation, and breakthrough at a time.

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Get in touch

Piyush Pandey 
Managing director
Cyber Smart Cities Leader

Timothy Li
Managing director

Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory

Sean Peasley

Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory

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