Connectivity and advanced technologies are essential for smart cities, but they also bring with them the risk of vulnerability to disruptive cyber attacks. And for budget-strapped cities that can't afford the investment in IT staff with cybersecurity expertise or the support of a knowledgeable technology partner, the risk is worrisome.
But help may be on the way. Colorado Springs, Colorado, has big plans to build a National Cyber Intelligence Center. Its key roles are expected to focus on the needs of the military and area technology companies and perform cybersecurity R&D and information sharing. But it also will work with other agencies and public officials -- including city leaders -- to train them to deal with threats.
The new center, which will be housed in a former manufacturing plant, was announced recently by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper who will ask the state legislature for funding for the project with additional money anticipated from industry and foundations, according to an article in The Gazette, the Colorado Springs newspaper.
While details on the specific structure of the center and when it will open are yet to be decided, it will be operated by a collaborative group including the military, industry professionals, higher education, cybersecurity vendors and others.
The new center is envisioned as eventually becoming a national cybersecurity and an economic blessing for the city.
Referring to the region's technology companies that said they support the creation of the cybersecurity response center, Gov. Hickenlooper said "They said they need someone to call if they are hacked and to notify other companies that they could be vulnerable to the same sort of attack. We also need a Cyber Institute to train public officials -- mayors, governors, city council members and county commissioners -- because they will have to make decisions and allocate resources for response."