20 May 18

What it takes to be SMART

What it takes to be SMART

Smart cities and nations leverage digitisation to drive convenience and efficiency, improving the lives of citizens. The end-goal is clear, though the critical pillars to establishing sustainable smart ecosystems are not always as well-defined.

Making the word SMART an acronym representing the cornerstones of successful smart environments may help to drive the message of what is really required to deliver on the promise of SMART.

S stands for Secure. Digital information and systems need to be secure, end-to-end, with a capability in place to monitor and react to suspicious behaviour instantaneously. Systems need to be able to determine the value of data assets, who/what has access to them, where they are located, and who might want to steal or compromise them. A risk mitigation programme needs to be instituted, which adheres to the cyber security life-cycle and involves planning, prevention, detection, protection and response to cyber incidents.

M stands for Managed. Access to data when required is paramount, as is control of who has access to it. Managed Security Services play a critical role in this respect, as outsourcing security to specialists is one of the most powerful and cost-effective ways to keep organisations safe; address compliance and risk management issues; and drive operational efficiency. Choosing the right Managed Security Services partner is vital to success.

A stands for Agile. A system needs to be able to respond to community needs and to new or emerging threats that develop. The exponential growth in compute power, storage, and connectivity, matched by the unrelenting rise of threat vectors and actors in parallel, makes it unrealistic to expect legacy methods of cyber security to keep pace with the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT). Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence could have a drastic and lasting impact on the ability of digital systems to establish cyber resilience.

R stands for Resilient. Digital systems have to be able to counteract or repel attacks, recover quickly from any breach, and remain capable of remaining available under adverse conditions. When we build SMART systems, we must acknowledge that there will always be some element of risk in their operation and there must be a balance between security and usability. A system resilient or counter responsive to attacks is a key foundation of being SMART.

T stands for Trust. Business occurs at the speed of trust. If trust is not present, no transactions will occur. There are many elements that must be considered in order for the correct amount of trust to be attributed to a SMART system: How much confidence does an actor within the system have in who or what is at the other end of a transaction; or what is the integrity of the transaction within the system? This will be a metric determined by (among other things), the combination of protocols used, identity management, credential management, and the security and resilience of the infrastructure – in short, just how SMART the infrastructure is.

About the author

 Scott Rea is Senior Vice-President of Trust Services at DarkMatter

By Scott Rea
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