Does being “smart” jeopardise the security of infrastructure?
With raising urbanisation and the boost in technology, cities are trying to adapt and evolve into better, more efficient and more environmentally friendly places - Smart Cities. This means deeper technological integration, modernisation of the existing network as well as sophisticated data collection and utilisation. The Internet of Things will play a significant role here. And having said that, all this connectivity will enlarge the potential “attack surface” that these urban areas must protect and defend. The Digital Security of Smart Cities has become a critical initiative in all “smart-oriented” countries. And Saudi Arabia is one of them.
Dr Justinia Taghreed
Asst. Professor and Program Director for Health Informatics | King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences
Regional Director IT Services Technology & Health Informatics | Ministry of National Guard, Health Affairs, Saudi Arabia
Dr Justinia Taghreed from the Ministry of National Guard, Health Affairs and King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences in Saudi Arabia will join the panel discussion about securing Smart Cities at the upcoming Kingdom Cyber Security event in Riyadh this April. Having led the commissioning of a “smart campus” for the university in Jeddah, she will focus on the importance of the planning stages of such projects by first developing a smart city policy.
Why are we talking about cyber security in this particular region?
“This market is booming with rapid infrastructure development and we must keep up the pace of security alongside the speed of these rapid development projects and mega projects that have been implemented, are under development or are planned in the near future. Cyber security is of key interest to anyone involved with IT. I've decided to join this particular event because, as a leader in the IT realm, it is important for me to be involved and advocate for cyber security and protection our data and assets.”
What are the next steps for Saudi Arabia to take in the near future?
“We are a country with a uniquely vast geography of cities still distinctly separated and still under development. We have rapidly developing urbanisation projects like economic cities, university communities, medical cities and many others underway or recently completed. We also have an advanced and reliable telecommunications infrastructure that would support a vision favouring smart cities. With the setting supporting the development of smart cities, it is necessary to focus on securing the infrastructure and data. Getting citizens and various agencies involved in unifying the vision is an important step. With that, investing in cyber security alongside any investment in smart city development is a necessity and must be considered in the planning and budgeting stages of any project, and not left to later stages or only when there is a security threat.”
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