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FRESH IDEAS IN PUBLIC SAFETY


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      • Increasing Connectivity Exposes New Cyber Attack Vectors

        Published 10 days ago by Troy Mattern
        • Cybersecurity
        • Services

        Can your cell phone be used to steal your email password or fingerprint data? Can hackers access personal information from your heart rate monitor, fitness tracker or smartwatch? What may have once sounded like science fiction is rapidly becoming reality.

        We now live in an era of connectivity – with digitally connected devices permeating every aspect of our lives. In fact, as soon as 2020, the number of connected devices will reach more than 21 billion. This level of interconnectedness is enabling people and businesses to do things never before imagined – from home automation to environmental monitoring. 

        Today’s increasingly connected world is also introducing more attack vectors and more possibilities for cyber crime. Unfortunately, some of the most commonly used interconnected devices contain vulnerabilities. At a recent DEF CON, 47 vulnerabilities affecting 23 connected items – including webcams, door locks, thermostats and baby monitors – were disclosed. With these vulnerabilities, cyber criminals now have more entry points and can move laterally across networks. As a result, cyber attacks can have far more extensive effects than ever before. Despite this information, 80 percent of organizations do not routinely test their IoT apps for security vulnerabilities.

        Developing resilience to withstand cyber attacks is critical to future success. Safeguarding software and connected devices – and making it as difficult as possible for exploitation – will help to improve overall organization system security.

        Organizations must be proactive and operate in a state of readiness. Embracing a holistic, risk-based strategy enables organizations to manage their risk awareness, security, detection, response and recovery. By focusing on mitigation options, continuous monitoring, diagnosis and remediation, companies are better able to protect themselves and proactively confront potential situations before they become an acute threat.

        Read the full Motorola Solutions White Paper here to learn more about the emergence of new attack vectors and how a holistic strategy can help defend against emerging cyber threats.

        Troy Mattern is Vice President of Cybersecurity Products and Services at Motorola Solutions. 

      • No Margin for Error: Loudoun County ECC is Always There for Residents

        Published 10 days ago by Keith Johnson
        • EMS
        • Services
        • NG9-1-1 Dispatch
        • Fire
        • Law Enforcement

        Loudoun County, Virginia, where I’m System Fire Chief, is truly one of the best places to live in America. Since we’re located just outside Washington, DC, but still have comparatively affordable housing for the region, the county’s population is booming.

        In Loudoun, we operate an emergency communications center, formally called the Emergency Communications Center or ECC, to support the county’s 400,000 residents. Every time a 9-1-1 call is made, it comes through the ECC where it’s referred to the right jurisdiction. We have our fire and rescue staff embedded in that facility, as well as the sheriff’s office staff. That’s why our communications systems are critical. We need them to always work so we get the appropriate help to the citizens that call, in both emergencies and non-emergencies.

        As my colleague Patricia Turner, ECC Manager for Fire and Rescue says, “we need to bat a thousand. There is no margin for error in what we do. From the time a call is answered until the first unit appears on the scene, we have to get everything 100 percent right.”

        We’ve partnered with Motorola Solutions for over 15 years to maintain our communication networks. With ASTRO® 25 radios and PremierOne™ Computer-aided Dispatch software, our personnel can instantly connect with each other and share data with responders in the field.

        Motorola Solutions also manages support services for the ECC. In July of 2016, that support meant the difference between a catastrophic network failure and uninterrupted emergency support for our county. That’s when an unexpected power surge, caused by a third-party contractor, sparked a complete network failure and our first responders’ communications ground to a halt.

        We worked with our communications staff to get some alternate towers up quickly, so 9-1-1 calls and dispatches went through without loss of services to Loudoun County citizens. Then, with a Motorola Solutions Managed Services resource, we were able to identify what was going on, rectify the situation, order the parts, get the parts shipped, get the resources on scene and get the system back to normal capacity in less than 24 hours.

        With support like that, we don’t need to constantly think about patching, updating, or fixing radios and towers. We know it’s all taken care of and that even in unexpected emergencies like the 2016 power surge, help is ready any time support is needed. We don’t have to worry about it.

        To learn more about the technology, services, and people powering this long-standing relationship, check out the full case study here.

        - System Fire Chief Keith Johnson, Loudoun County, Virginia

      • Interoperability, Crucial to an Effective Response

        Published 11 days ago by Jacob Kishter
        • EMS
        • NG9-1-1 Dispatch
        • Fire
        • Law Enforcement

        There is always something going on in Washington D.C.  We face all the same crimes as other major cities but we also have lots of events and activities, from the 22 million annual visitors who visit our various tourist sites to presidential motorcades, protests at national monuments and memorials, and special events on the National Mall.  These activities rely on an organized response, requiring the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to interoperate with multiple D.C. agencies such as fire, EMS, secret service, Metro Park and also neighboring agencies from Montgomery County and Prince George’s County, Maryland.

        Shared Radio Communication System

        The coordination between multiple agencies happens at the Office of Unified Communications (OUC) which operates the 9-1-1 center and the shared radio system for 27 agencies allowing us to easily coordinate an effective response. As a MPD officer in the field, I rely on the dispatcher to provide information on where we need to be and the background on the situation we will encounter. We also provide information back to the dispatcher about what is happening on scene, building a close partnership with the dispatcher to manage an effective response.

        The radio I carry is my lifeline.  It not only allows me to coordinate response, it also allows me to get additional help if I am in a tough situation.  We get calls that originate in the 9-1-1 center, but we also come across situations in the field that need additional support and I know I can rely on my radio to get the help and response I need from my own agency and other agencies, too.  

        Multi Agency Collaboration

        My job is to help protect the citizens and visitors to Washington D.C. so they can have a safe and enjoyable time while in the District. Having an effective interoperable communication system makes my job easier because I can seamlessly coordinate responses with other agencies. Take a listen as our dispatchers in the Office of Communications talk about multi agency collaboration.

        Attending IACP? Learn More:

        The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) will be hosting their annual conference October 6-9th in Orlando Florida. If you are planning to attend the conference please make sure to stop by the Motorola Solutions booth #2201 and learn how interoperable communications makes an officer’s job easier.

        The Washington D.C. Office of Unified Communications handles 1.8 million calls per year making it one of the busiest 9-1-1/ 3-1-1 centers in the country. The center serves over 27 law enforcement agencies, including police, fire and EMS. On the non-emergency 3-1-1 side, support is provided to 14 agencies. Check out the Washington D.C. Unified Communications Department Overview Case Study Video.

        Jacob Kishter is Commander (Retired), Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.

      • New 9-1-1 Technology Enables Accurate & Automatic Location Data

        Published 22 days ago by Dan Sawicki
        • NG9-1-1 Dispatch

        “The week of September 17 was a watershed week for Public Safety,” said Keller Taylor, Infrastructure Operations Manager at Princeton University, Department of Public Safety. Keller and Bob Finney were panelists on the recent NENA webinar, sponsored by Motorola Solutions, in which they shared the impact of the Apple iOS 12 release, Google’s partnership announcement with RapidSOS and the profound impact these events have on saving lives.

        Over 80% of the 240 million calls made to 9-1-1 centers across the U.S. are from wireless phones. That’s about 192 million people in need while on the move, making it more critical than ever for PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Point) to know a caller’s exact location. In fact, the FCC estimates 10,000 more lives could be saved every year if 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers had more accurate location information.

        “Location accuracy is the #1 priority in being able to effectively and efficiently dispatch resources to those in need,” said Keller. “Today, with the RapidSOS NG911 Clearinghouse, we have an operational solution that utilizes supplemental location information which will speed the identification of the caller’s precise location. This has enormous implications for saving lives.”

        “In addition to being able to pinpoint the exact location,” says Bob, “the other big benefit is that 9-1-1 can now dispatch responders to the scene more rapidly.”

        Finally, a Solution: RapidSOS Integration with VESTA and CallWorks

        The location accuracy solution offers a level of situational awareness not possible until now. Public Safety has had to rely on a network-centric approach to identify a 9-1-1 caller’s location. The reason apps like Uber can identify exactly where we are is because they use device-based hybrid location.

        Tests with RapidSOS and Motorola Solutions call handling software have shown that device-based hybrid location indeed provides more accurate location information because it combines the smartphone sensors including: GPS, Wi-Fi access points, Bluetooth beacons, barometric pressure, pedestrian dead reckoning, gyro sensors, accelerometers and more.

        The RapidSOS NG911 Clearinghouse is accessed through the VESTA® and CallWorks platforms. This means VESTA and CallWorks customers now have the technology to receive fast and accurate, life-saving location information for millions of iPhone and Android devices in the U.S.

        During the webinar, Keller and Bob shared specific examples of how the RapidSOS functionality with VESTA and CallWorks will make the difference between life and death.

        Keller talked about the ability to identify a 9-1-1 caller in Princeton University’s Tiger Stadium, in a crowd of thousands of fans. Bob talked about the ability to pinpoint a 9-1-1 call coming from within a school building. He pointed out, that in Collier County, due to the frequency of hurricanes, school buildings are built to Category 5 standards to withstand the hurricanes, but their construction makes it extremely difficult for wireless reception. “Schools, unfortunately, have become targets, and we need much better coverage. In one of the tests we did with VESTA, RapidSOS and Android ELS (Emergency Location Service), the caller was standing right outside of a classroom, and we were able to pinpoint that exact location. In situations like active shooters, having the exact location is very beneficial.”

        How PSAPs Access This Technology

        Your PSAP can easily realize the benefits of the RapidSOS technology through the use of RapidSOS, CallWorks CallStation and VESTA 9-1-1 and or VESTA® Map Local.

        Once PSAPs are enabled, citizens do not need to install any app. When dialing 9-1-1 from their iOS 12 iPhone or Android device with ELS enabled, their location is automatically sent to the RapidSOS NG911 Clearinghouse and accessed by the appropriate 9-1-1 center. The call taker then sees the caller’s location, sent as supplemental location data, from RapidSOS as well as the ALI (Phase 1 or Phase 2 location).

        “With this tremendous capability, citizens can have greater confidence in Public Safety’s ability to know their location when they call 9-1-1 from their mobile devices,” said Keller.

        Bob closed the webinar with a reminder why it’s so important to take serious note of this development. “9-1-1 gets its fair share of news stories and some are based on location difficulty. What has occurred with Apple and Google is a positive for Public Safety. But PSAPs have to take action and bring this technology into their centers. Otherwise, there will be someone who will die because we didn’t have an accurate location soon enough and none of us want that to happen.”

        The team at Motorola Solutions is ready to help you bring this life-saving location data to your call takers and first responders, who need and deserve the best possible technology.

        For more information on Motorola Solutions and our CallWorks and VESTA capabilities, visit motorolasolutions.com/ng911. For information on RapidSOS and how to enable the functionality for your PSAP, go to RapidSOS.com/ng911clearinghouse. You can also listen to the NENA webinar here and view the Motorola Solutions Emergency Call Handling video on YouTube. 

        Dan Sawicki is Principal Consultant of Business Operations and Planning at Motorola Solutions.

      • Cybersecurity Month Activities Designed to Increase Risk Awareness

        Published 28 days ago by Troy Mattern
        • Cybersecurity
        • Services

        October is officially National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. In light of headline grabbing cyber attacks around the globe, governments and businesses are becoming increasingly concerned about their cybersecurity – and with good reason. Cybersecurity Awareness Month provides the opportunity to cut through the typical fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) surrounding cybersecurity and focus on understanding the risks.

        At Motorola Solutions, we are working to ensure both our customers and employees fully understand the reality of today’s evolving cybersecurity landscape and generate awareness of both the risks and potential solutions:

        • Cybersecurity Bootcamps: Recently, we hosted a number of internal cybersecurity bootcamps in Salt Lake City, Chicago and Krakow. Featuring Jim Manico, founder of Manicode Security and co-founder of the LocoMoco Security Conference, the bootcamps challenged participants to hack a system, learn mitigation techniques and implement defense systems.
        • Cybersecurity Webinar: On September 26 at 12:30 p.m CDT, we are partnering with MissionCritical Communications to host a webinar, answering questions regarding critical communication cybersecurity for public safety agencies. Discussions will include the latest insights and trends, best practices and a look at how cybersecurity can improve agency outcomes. Register for the webinar.
        • Cybersecurity Panel Discussion: An internal panel discussion will inform and educate employees on current cybersecurity efforts. The panel will showcase current cybersecurity products and services, promote activities planned throughout Cybersecurity Awareness Month and share resources for continued learning and training.
        • Cybersecurity Tournament: In partnership with Secure Code Warrior, we will be hosting a global tournament. Open for 24 hours – October 23 through October 24 – the tournament will present participants with a series of vulnerable code challenges to identify, locate and fix.

        Beyond Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Motorola Solutions is committed to growing awareness and enthusiasm around cybersecurity. In today’s increasingly complex digital environment, it’s no longer a matter of if but when an organization will experience a cyber attack. Moving past the FUD and increasing understanding is critical to being prepared.

        Troy Mattern is Vice President of Cybersecurity Products and Services at Motorola Solutions.

      • Investing in Cyber Tools? True Cybersecurity Encompasses People, Processes and Technology

        Published 32 days ago by Troy Mattern
        • Cybersecurity
        • Services

        Cyber crime is on the rise. Recent reports highlight an increase in the number of U.S. data breaches by nearly 45 percent. As reports of cyber attacks continue to make headlines, organizations are increasingly looking at ways to protect themselves. The result is an increased investment in cybersecurity tools and programs. By the year 2021, it is estimated that global spending on cybersecurity products and services will reach a cumulative $1 trillion.

        Despite these increased investments, security capabilities have been unable to deliver the desired efficiency and effectiveness. Currently, businesses are investing in a wide variety of cybersecurity tools, including advanced perimeter controls, encryption, automated policy management and threat intelligence systems.

        However, spending on cyber tools alone does not ensure security. A truly effective cybersecurity program evaluates risk and then integrates the right technology with people and processes. Understanding your organizational risk is critical to making smart decisions regarding cybersecurity tools and technologies. The most important thing any decision maker does is determine how to allocate their resources towards the success of their organization’s mission. So, how do you know if you are doing that?

        Currently, a study by the Ponemon Institute highlights a potential disconnect in organizational spend on cybersecurity technology with actual return on investment (ROI). Many organizations are investing heavily in a few targeted technologies – including compliance and automated policy management – overlooking the need for a more balanced portfolio of technologies.

        While these technologies do play a critical role in cybersecurity, they should be augmented with security systems that include risk monitoring, patching and innovations like cyber analytics and machine learning. These technologies have shown a high return on investment with the breakthrough areas of cyber analytics, user behavior analytics, automation and machine learning ranking in the top four cost-saving security technologies. Organizations should also work to ensure they take full advantage of their solution capability – employing, maintaining and operating it properly to achieve success.

        As the cyber threat landscape continues to evolve, investments in cybersecurity need to be closely monitored and adjusted to ensure organizational spend is being allocated appropriately. Organizations need to build an ecosystem that encompasses a diverse portfolio of cyber tools that can be integrated to work together. By balancing a strong foundation of “basics” – such as security intelligence, patching and advanced access management – with innovations like analytics and machine learning, organizations can improve the effectiveness of their security programs.

        But technology alone doesn’t ensure security. Organizations need a culture of good security processes and a team of well-trained professionals to drive their cybersecurity efforts. A security team can help guide practices, prioritize activities, respond to threats and inspect potential risks. However, security must live throughout an organization – with processes that safeguard critical communications and proactively monitor for risk. This includes looking at existing vulnerabilities, fixing them, assessing risk and developing a response and recovery plan.

        Cybersecurity doesn’t happen by chance. It requires a focus on implementing the right technologies, engaging with knowledgeable people and implementing effective processes. Read the full Motorola Solutions White Paper here for insights into how implementing a holistic, risk based approach can help your organization address the growing cybersecurity challenge.

        Troy Mattern is Vice President of Cybersecurity Products and Services at Motorola Solutions.

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