Securing the Continuity of City Operations During Coronavirus

As local governments around the world brace for the impact of Coronavirus and the need for employees to work remotely, Leading Cities is extending this year's AcceliGOV application deadline until the end of April. The Grand Prize for the AcceliGOV competition is a year of no-cost Blacksands' award-winning Secure Connection as a service protecting local governments from cyber-attacks.

Additionally, in partnership with Blacksands, Leading Cities announced that due to the cyber-security threats related to the need for remote work in order to maintain continuity of city operations, Blacksands is providing unlimited, no-cost SCaaS (Secure Connection as a Service) for the next 90 days for all AcceliGOV applicants.

The last thing that a city needs during the Coronavirus crisis is to lose critical systems due to lack of staffing or a cyber-attack. Cities must have a continuity of operations strategy which includes secure provisioning of remote access for employees immediately.

Cities often do not have the ability to provide every individual a customized secure laptop or handheld device. Employees need to access applications, PCs, and IT/IoT infrastructure to keep the critical systems running. Providing VPN access or traditional remote desktop connection adds significant cost and risk that can leave cities vulnerable. Hackers, organized crime, and state sponsored organizations recognize that this crisis is exposing vulnerabilities and are already increasing cybersecurity attacks on exposed infrastructure (https://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/487542-hackers-find-new-target-as-americans-work-from-home-during-outbreak).

AcceliGOV offers municipalities around the world the chance to compete for a pre-paid pilot of a globally sourced, expert-vetted cybersecurity solution. AcceliGOV was launched last month by Leading Cities CEO, Michael Lake, at the Global Cybersecurity Forum, which featured over 1,200 government officials, private sector leaders, international organizations and other key stakeholders drawn from expert communities and academia.

“Ensuring the protection of public data and having necessary defenses against the threat of a cybersecurity breach, is a foundational requirement of smart cities,” said Lake. “Our local governments are vulnerable, and they have a very real responsibility and challenge to guarantee that municipal services, taxpayer’s money and any other city asset is adequately protected from cyber criminals.”

Blacksands’ SCaaS is a remote access solution that allows organizations to immediately connect to PCs, Applications, IT / IoT Infrastructure utilizing the organization’s devices or BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) without the risk or cost of traditional VPNs. Blacksands brokers point-to-point encrypted connections without touching city data. Blacksands reduces risk with granular, real-time, knowledge and control of every connection, can be deployed in minutes, and managed without complex IT training. Blacksands can immediately provision your Emergency Remote Workforce and just as quickly de-provision when the crisis has ended.

Blacksands also partners with a network of strategic partners who can assist with; change management, security assessments, efficiency assessments, and logistics assessments. These partnerships allow for rapid deployments, secure connectivity, and broad implementation to keep your cities functioning with the necessary systems while reducing virus exposure.

For more information contact us at AcceliGOV.com and fill out the ‘Apply Now Form’ and we will schedule a brief web-conference to answer additional questions about how Blacksands can help maintain your city’s immediate Continuance of Operations.

About Leading Cities

Leading Cities, an international nonprofit organization, is a global leader in Smart City solutions, city diplomacy, and collaboration advancing sustainability and resilient city strategies and technologies to improve the quality of life in cities around the world. With its global network of world-class cities and partners, Leading Cities has built tools and bridges to share best practices, solutions, and lessons learned among city leaders while breaking down barriers within cities by engaging each of the five sectors of the Quintuple-helix (Q-helix): Public, Private, Non-profit, Academia and Citizenry.

 

Michael LakeThis article was written by Michael Lake, the President and CEO of Leading Cities, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts and with operations in 10 countries around the world. As President and CEO, Michael establishes and develops relationships with municipal governments, businesses and universities around the world, creating a global network of partner cities dedicated to implementing Smart City solutions that improve the quality of life in cities.