A Wireless Traffic Network Doesn’t Need to Be Scary

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Dave Bullock, Managing Director, ITS Line of Business, Miovision

Cities are at the forefront of the next wave of the Internet of Things.  Combining digital technologies with existing physical infrastructure to gather useful data – this is the promise of the future city; streamlining communication, optimizing efficiency and improving the lives of citizens. At the heart of the smart city are wireless networks, connecting physical infrastructure and technology via the cloud.

Traffic signals are no exception to the IoT revolution. A connected traffic network provides a whole host of benefits for cities, citizens and transportation professionals. Traffic engineers can access data to make more informed operational decisions, maintain the signal network remotely, and ensure traffic and goods are moving. Remote access provides the flexibility to access signal data anytime and anywhere. But extending access to signal data outside the walls of a traffic management center (TMC) can cause city officials to have security concerns, some real, some perceived. Will my data be secure? What about hackers? What if the cloud is down?  But a wireless network doesn’t need to be scary. If the CIA can trust the cloud, so can you.

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Here are the common security concerns we hear from traffic professionals and city office. If your solution can address these issues, you can rest assured that your wireless traffic network and the underlying data will be secure.

Concern #1: Will I have less control over my data?

A good solution will allow you to maintain full control of your data via the cloud. You’ll be able to manage and monitor who gets access and when. All access should be managed by secure authentication. If you can’t manage and control access securely, then we’d suggest finding another solution.

Concern #2: Will my data be secure?

Your data should be secured through encryption and a Virtual Private Network. For example, Miovision enables read-only access to monitoring tools, and prohibits the ability to push new timing plans from outside the city’s VPN. We recommend utilizing a vendor with a strong cloud partner, like Amazon Web Services. We consider them to be the gold standard, which is why we use them for our Spectrum solution.

Concern #3: Isn’t it more secure to have my data stored on city-owned infrastructure?

Regarding cloud computing, some cities are concerned with the fact that the solution and data live outside their walls, and not on city-owned IT infrastructure. To ease those concerns, cloud-based providers like Miovision and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have sizable security teams focused on monitoring and regularly patching systems. It’s safe to say security monitoring from cloud specialists is superior to a few security personnel on a city’s IT team. These security measures for cloud-based computing have earned the trust of government organizations like the CIA and the US Department of Homeland Security.

Concern #4: What if the network is down? What if a disaster hits?

To avoid downtime, a vendor should provide a rigorous overview of their security response process as well as real-time network status. You can find our network status here. Furthermore a reputable cloud partner should provide a very detailed security response process. This should entail their process for secure backups and disaster recovery.

Concern #5: What about hackers?

A good solution will use the highest level of encryption similar to those used for banking and government. A good standard is OpenVPN connection that uses AES-128, configured with CBC mode. Endpoint authentication is via OpenVPN pre-shared key authentication mode. This level of encryption will keep your traffic network on lockdown.

Hopefully this eases some of your concerns about wireless network security. The cloud is the new normal for businesses, governments and cities. With robust security, your city will be more effective, efficient and secure.

Dave Bullock is a serial entrepreneur who has built successful companies in the mobile, gaming, and telecommunications industries.  He joined Miovision in 2015 and spearheads Miovision’s Intelligent Transportation efforts.

Learn More About Connecting Traffic Signals

If your security concerns are at ease, you can learn more about our solution; Spectrum. It’s the fastest, easiest and least expensive way to connect and understand your traffic signals.

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