Pinching ideas on Climate Change and Cyber Security

“We’re here to pinch your best ideas.” Those words began Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan’s remarks to a small group of city officials, regulators and private industry in New York City’s financial district this morning.  The discussion was focused on cities, climate change and the use of technology to address it while improving citizens’ lives.

Mayor Khan stated that he believes this will be the first generation to tackle climate change or the last to ignore it.  Obviously a strong commitment partially driven by a commitment to public health.  It’s estimated that 9500 Londoners die every year as a result of long-term exposure to poor air quality.

Technology can definitely play a role and providing appropriate cyber security for that technology is critical.  Whether it’s carbon neutrality (London) or 80 by 50 (NYC’s pledge to 80 percent emissions reduction by 2050 as compared to 2005 levels), renewable energy, energy efficiency, smart transportation and smart buildings will play critical roles.  And all need to be delivered securely.

As the conversation at the roundtable continued another relationship between the climate change debate and smart city cyber security emerged.  In both cases there’s a need for integration.  The New York State Department of Public Service Deputy for Markets and Innovation made the comment that everyone has a tendency to look for the ONE THING that will solve the problem – renewables, improved building stock, etc.  But the reality is that it takes many efforts that need to be integrated together to achieve the goal.

The same thing is very true for securing smart infrastructure.  We are often asked what one technology should be deployed.  The answer is much more complex.  Security must be designed in.  And for the era of the Internet of Things it is particularly important that the integrity of devices and data be ensured from the moment the system is installed.

Security built into the hardware (secure boot, identity, secure storage, trusted execution environments) can be foundational, but we also need network security and protected infrastructure in the cloud.  And it all needs to work together.

Smart, connected and secure.  And carbon neutral.