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      • Fixing the "Delay" of Security Patching

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:29 PM by Anne Marie Johlie


        This October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Activities throughout the month are designed to engage and educate public and private sector partners with the goal of raising awareness about cybersecurity and increasing the resiliency of the nation in the event of a cyber incident.

        Today’s LMR communication system is not our grandparent’s system. When I started my career, the transformation from analog to IP-based LMR networks was in its infancy. It was a massive technological shift for a communication platform that had remained stagnant for many decades. There was excitement about the endless possibilities an IP-based network had to offer, and that excitement was well founded. Today’s IP-based, mission-critical networks have made possible features like interoperability, geo-fencing tracking, and biometrics reading. As a result, public safety has become more efficient and intelligent. With this excitement, came anxiety due to unknown vulnerabilities.

        In 1936, Galvin Manufacturing, from which Motorola Solutions evolved, introduced the “Police Cruiser”, which arguably had no ‘vulnerabilities’ to cyber attack, because the concept didn’t even exist. Compare that to today’s distributed systems, which have 1000’s of IP based computers.

        If you think cyber criminals are only going after the private sector, think again. Hackmageddon’s July Report, shows that government, law enforcement, and military make up a significant percentage of cyber attacks.


        Like any other IP-based system, today’s LMR communication system is not immune from a cyber attack. It is comprised of countless networks, computers and software - all of these introduce vulnerabilities.

        Public safety agencies now need to protect their citizens from physical attacks, as well as the information traversing their communications systems, from cyber attacks. One of the simplest ways to protect these systems from cyber attacks is to patch known vulnerabilities when updates are available. Though straightforward, the challenge of ”Which patch?” “How often?” or “When to perform this task” can be stressful for agencies. These patches must be pretested to ensure they do not impact the unique makeup of a public safety, communication system and networks which must be operational 24x7x365.

        Beyond these challenges is the shortage of resources – personal, time, and funds - to perform these updates for government organizations. When considering the average data breach costs $3.8M, agencies absolutely must find a way to accomplish the task.

        Patching is a critical step in safeguarding your system, as noted by the Department of Homeland Security. Yet, it is not an easy task. That is why many public safety agencies have started adopting the best practice of outsourcing this effort. Motorola Solutions has been a dependable source for this task -- our technical experts validate security patches for all aspects of our communication systems on a continual basis and make them available to our customers to install. This is in line with our core mission: helping people in the moments that matter, specifically by providing dependable communication systems.

        To ease this task more, Motorola now offers a remote security update service to take the hassle out of pushing patches and coordinating the reboots. Simply put, we fully take on this responsibility so that you can focus on your core mission - public safety.

        October is Cybersecurity Month – a good time to start monitoring your system.
        President Obama has designated October National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. It is the perfect time to put into place a security software update plan to safeguard your IP-based LMR communication network.

        To learn more about our Cybersecurity Services, visit, or download our cybersecurity brochure.

        Anne Marie Johlie is the Director of the Central Services Organization for Motorola Solutions.

      • Body-Worn Cameras Are Changing. For Good.

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:29 PM by Steve Sebestyen

        For more than a year, body-worn cameras have been all over the news and social media. They have the power to defend the innocent and bring guilty parties to justice in seconds. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is proving itself to be priceless. According to an International Association of Chiefs of Police study on the impact of video evidence on modern policing, 93% of officers are cleared from complaints when video evidence exists, saving police agencies the millions of dollars that would have been spent on the legal fees needed to resolve these complaints. This is why between 4,000 and 6,000 police agencies around the US are planning to adopt or have already adopted body-worn camera technology. Despite the benefits, this body-worn camera trend poses many challenges as well. Most of the attention so far has been focused on the body-worn camera, but we rarely hear about the difficulty agencies face storing and managing the content and devices behind the scenes. When combined, these challenges if left unaddressed, have the potential to increase risk to officers, and cost law enforcement agencies time and money. To combat these issues, it’s important to understand them:

        Officers carry too many devices
        The idea of the “connected police officer” is finally coming to life in 2015 and the amount of devices/tools an officer carries in the field is literally weighing them down. In addition to their standard tool belt, two-way radio and remote speaker microphone, they’re also carrying cell phones and body-worn cameras. Next, they’ll be wearing Bluetooth sensors that will monitor their vitals and detect whether their gun has been drawn. Instead of adding devices to our officers, what if we consolidated them to talk to each other and share information? This needs to be the way of the future or else officers and IT will quickly be overwhelmed by too many devices to carry, operate and manage.

        Storage for petabytes of videos and other multimedia
        Public safety agencies already store vast amounts of data from in-car video and other sources of multimedia. The addition of video footage from body-worn cameras will add to the rapidly increasing burden. When a video is pulled and shown on the news supporting an officer’s case, most people don’t think about the enormous amounts of additional videos and content not seen that also need to be stored, secured and tagged, in case they are also needed in the future. Agencies have to take into account the quality of video and other content - will it be standard definition or HD? How long does content need to be stored? How will that impact the storage requirements and how will the expansion be handled when necessary?
        The most urgent need for agencies in the midst of this trend is elastic, ideally cloud-based, storage for their videos and content with simplified pricing so they can plan their budgets and focus on police work. However, storing content in the cloud for law enforcement agencies also requires that it meets or exceeds CJIS standards (in the USA).

        Managing stored content
        As the amount of data that agencies store grows, they are faced with the questions of how to tag, organize, review, redact and retain all this content – not to mention how their body-worn camera program can impact their existing workflows, adding administrative time and costs. The solution is integration and automation across disparate systems and workflows:

        Automatic: It is critical that body-worn camera software is able to automatically pull metadata from the captured event – such as date, time and location, so that the video can be stored with those details, and be able to automatically redact videos so that agencies can efficiently respond to the increasing number of FOIA requests. Frame-by-frame manual redaction takes hours, whereas automatic redaction only takes minutes, saving time and money.
        Integrated: Information about an event collected by CAD and records management will overlap with the evidence being captured by an officer’s body-worn camera.These applications need to be integrated to share information, and guide agency personnel through workflows to make each process more efficient.

        Simplified transparency
        Last year, around the December holidays, an interesting thing happened in Seattle. The police department was inundated with a massive FOIA request for every Seattle PD body-cam and in-car video recording. Thousands of hours of footage would have had to be reviewed, redacted and distributed to the person requesting the content. The process would have disrupted normal police operations with massive costs had an agreement not been made between the agency and the citizen. Agencies are being asked to provide greater transparency, and body-worn cameras are a major factor. Agencies need a streamlined and automated workflow that allows the public to easily request materials, make payments and securely receive content. Agencies all over the world are voicing concerns like these as they’re considering adopting a body-worn camera program.

        Over the past few years, we’ve been listening. And now we’re responding.
        There is now a Unified, Simplified and Smart solution to address these challenges and more. An integrated body-worn camera and remote speaker microphone – the Si Series Video Speaker Microphones paired with our cloud-based, CJIS-capable evidence management application, CommandCentral Vault. Together, they form an end-to-end digital evidence management solution that will begin a new era in evidence management.


        To learn about Motorola’s Digital Evidence Management Solution (DEMS), go to

        Steve Sebestyen is a Global Marketing Manager for Smart Public Safety Solutions and a public safety expert and evangelist


      • Is LMR Still a Closed Network? Not Anymore.

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:29 PM by Motorola Solutions

        This October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Activities throughout the month are designed to engage and educate public and private sector partners with the goal of raising awareness about cybersecurity and increasing the resiliency of the nation in the event of a cyber incident.

        Remember when . . .
        Mission-critical two-way radio systems used to be circuit switched trunked radio systems. Life was easier then. These systems were closed networks with proprietary protocols and private leased lines for backhaul. There were no connections to the internet. System security was an afterthought and usually limited to usernames and passwords on devices. Even remote access was typically via a dial up modem – not much happened over those 19,200 lines!

        The radio world is different now.
        Today’s mission-critical digital radio systems are Internet Protocol (IP) based systems. The beauty of an IP based network is that we can easily connect anything to anything. We now have open standards, commercially available third party software, and connections to customer enterprise networks to share critical data. The downside of easily connecting anything to anything using open, well known and publicly available standards is that it’s susceptible to unwanted intrusions.

        IP-based systems are vulnerable to cyber threats.
        The days of closed radio networks are long gone. Even if we have a system where there are no connections to an external network, we still have USB drives, laptops, DVDs, CDs and more operating on the system, all of which could introduce malicious software and cause havoc on system operations. A user on the system may unknowingly introduce malware with a seemingly harmless device such as a thumb drive or CD. The laptop that is being used for maintenance may also have been surfing the internet the previous evening and picked up a virus. Threats can come from anywhere, including poorly trained personnel performing a legitimate task incorrectly, or a disgruntled insider who maliciously wreaks havoc to “get even”.

        Threats can come from anywhere.
        All of the threats that exist against a standard IT system can also impact IP-based radio networks. After all, we use the same industry standard protocols and third party software. What about a rogue connection added for ease of remote access? Or worse, a connection added for nefarious access? What about smart phones? It is easy to turn a smartphone into a hot spot and gain an internet connection at 4G speeds. Simply put, we can no longer think of LMR systems as closed networks. These critical systems must be properly protected.

        Develop a cybersecurity plan.
        We must apply appropriate cybersecurity methodologies to LMR to guard the integrity of the system and information flowing over it. This is a new way of thinking: LMR system managers need to develop policies governing secure system usage; personnel need to be trained on the risks associated with external media; regular patching must be a normal part of maintenance; and security monitoring needs to be employed system-wide to be ever watchful for suspicious activity.

        As the leader in LMR mission critical systems, Motorola has developed a suite of cybersecurity services that are just right for mission-critical two-way radio systems. We have: pre-tested patches for all third party software, remote patch management to manage patches to the system, security monitoring to reduce cyber risks and professional cybersecurity services to assist organizations with risk assessment, training and policy/compliance management.

        To learn more about our Cybersecurity Services, visit, or download our cybersecurity brochure.

        Mick Palmer is the Global Cybersecurity Services Manager at Motorola Solutions


      • It's Like Sharing the Answers to the Next Pop Quiz

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:29 PM by Josie Slaughter

        Users arm each other with lessons, clues and insights at the Annual Smart Public Safety Solutions Users Conference

        Do you remember that student from school who would always ace surprises tests? They learned things easily, grasped material quickly, and always had the right answer on the tip of their tongue. I remember watching them from my desk, and wanting to ask them to clue me into their secret study habits. This happened a few times growing up, and it always made me wonder: ‘We have the same homework, the same teacher and the same books, but I don’t seem to get the same results as quickly.’ What could I being doing wrong or what do I need to improve on? I know many people who have felt that way about the technology solutions they’ve implemented. Others utilize these solutions with no issues, while some take a bit longer to grasp and adapt. Instead of accepting a challenge as a set back, the people I know do what I did - invest more time to solve the problem, learn more about the features and functions, and grow with the solution to meet their needs.

        Of those dedicated professionals, many of them were attendees at the Smart Public Safety Solutions Users Conference that took place this month in Henderson, Nevada.

        250 Users, 80 Training Sessions, 3 Days in One of America’s Safest Cities
        Users shared ideas to build, educate and train each other in preparation for that unexpected pop quiz in public safety - like the one that happens when a 9-1-1 call is made and it’s “go time”. During the three days, users received in-depth, hands-on training on command center and field operations, records and jail management, and citizen engagement solutions. They shared experiences with peers from across the Americas and heard trends and regulatory developments from industry experts including the FBI.

        In addition to learning how to better utilize applications that users have already deployed, attendees were able to get a sneak peek and provide valuable inputs into future smart public safety solution offerings. Many training topics for the user conference were recommended by our user committee and included professional development and operational impact sessions. Over 25% of the 80 training sessions were customer led or recommended.

        Implementing a new Smart Public Safety Solution such as a PremierOne™ CAD, records management, mobile CAD or a 3-1-1 system takes a lot of coordination and collaboration. There are so many factors that need to be synchronized to make a new deployment a success.

        As I spoke to one user about the conference, she told me one of the biggest values of the forum is the networking opportunities, specifically the sharing of ideas and experiences between users. She told me about the tours of the Henderson, NV Police Department, how she spoke with Douglas County, NE about their experience virtualizing their CAD application and Saginaw County, MI on the evolution of their dispatch center from cards to CAD.

        After talking with her and a few other users – I got it. I figured out how folks aced those pop quizzes so well - it’s a combination of knowledge and support. They have a strong support system that thrives on helping each other and sharing best practices, learning on to each other to grasp the lessons to better utilize the homework, teacher, and book.

        That’s what makes us committed to providing customers forums like the Smart Public Safety Solutions User Conference where users have access to field and development engineers, industry leaders and peers to make city and county mission critical communications systems the best they can be - to share those answers to pass the next pop quiz.

        Want to learn more about Motorola’s Smart Public Safety Solutions featured at the user conference? Check out:

        Want to hear from our users? Check out:

        Josie Slaughter is Senior Marketing Manager for Smart Public Safety Solutions for Motorola Solutions.

      • We’re More Than Just Radios

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:29 PM by Motorola Solutions

        Building public safety technology and solutions from the ground up

        Motorola has traditionally been perceived as just a “black-box” radio supplier, but that is no longer the case. After more than 85 years of working side-by-side with public safety agencies, we have learned the common challenges beyond communications that first responders face, and developed the solutions to help solve them.

        Earlier this year, Motorola showcased these innovative services and solutions on a tour of Prince George’s County’s recently constructed, state-of-the-art public safety complex, as well as a homeland security and backup center in the Washington D.C. area. Our Site Development and Integration Services teams designed and constructed these innovative centers from the ground up. The public safety complex spans 40,000 sq ft, and includes 63 dispatch stations, and 21 days of generator power and equipment. The facilities bring operational efficiencies for 9-1-1 call-takers and dispatchers, as well as establish the county as one of the premier 9-1-1 communications agencies across the country.

        The mission-critical needs of public safety place unique demands on communications networks. These demands must be considered in every phase of the design, build and integration of a network, and are demands that many commercial networks are not intended to meet. In order to withstand any emergency, from earthquakes and hurricanes to forest fires and floods, it’s critical for organizations to implement public safety grade networks.

        The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council published recommended guidelines to ensure systems are public safety grade. Public safety grade refers to the expectation of emergency response providers to have equipment and systems that will remain operational during and immediately following a major natural or man-made disaster. This requires a solutions provider that fully understands all aspects of mission-critical systems – site grounding, site security, hardened shelters, backup power, antenna support structures – to provide uncompromising services for two-way voice and critical data applications, offering the performance, coverage, reliability and resilience demanded by public safety.

        Motorola’s System Integration (SI) teams have deep expertise and experience in delivering turnkey, public safety grade networks worldwide. As a full service public safety solutions and integration company, we help address the unique challenges faced in the design, build and integration of a network, beginning with site selection and acquisition. Our Site Acquisition Specialists help assess radio system coverage, negotiate lease/purchase agreements to obtain permits, and secure regulatory approvals required to ensure full compliance.

        To help avoid unexpected costs and mitigate risk, Motorola works with industry-leading partners for architectural and engineering design and development planning of your systems. Finally, our team of Construction Managers combined with long-standing contractor partners work together to deploy every aspect of your public safety grade communications systems. This includes:

        • Architectural and Engineering Services
        • Full 3-D CAD design and video walkthroughs
        • Civil and site development installations
        • Electrical and grounding installations
        • Mechanical installations
        • Existing site renovation and upgrades
        • Tower installation and maintenance services
        • Testing and inspection services

        Today’s mission-critical systems integrate multiple products, including LMR voice communication, computer-aided dispatch (CAD), video, records management systems, paging and much more. With our complete Site Development and System Integration capabilities we have a full understanding of the technology requirements and combine them with customer expectations for full turnkey solutions from the ground up.

        Rely on the leader in mission-critical systems as your prime contractor and integrator of complex communications systems. With over 85 years of undertaking a variety of unique challenges, Motorola’s integration methodologies are field-proven to successfully deliver reliable system performance under the most extreme operating conditions. Systems integration from the ground up – it’s much more than radios.

        Click here to learn more about Motorola’s Mission-Critical Site Development Services.

        Bob Batis, PMP is the Director of Global Site Development Services for Motorola Solutions.

      • Tools for the Unknown

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:28 PM by Motorola Solutions

        What happens when a foreign conflict hits home?

        How do you prepare for a terror attack on a large crowd?

        How do you gather real-time information and survey a crime scene when civilians and dignitaries are still at risk, and assailants at large?

        For 36 domestic and international SWAT, EMS, and federal law enforcement teams, the best way to plan for the worst case is to run through the events as if they’re already happening, and train with the smartest tools to support the mission. UrbanShield’s comprehensive training weekend, hosted by Alameda County Sheriff's office, provided that opportunity to assess global tactical and EMS teams on their response capabilities in multi-discipline planning, procedure, organization, equipment and training.

        As an UrbanShield technology partner, Motorola Solutions participated in this year’s Dignitary Rescue scenario-one of 36 different programs throughout the bay area-- and allowed teams to experience Intelligence-Led Public Safety (ILPS) in action. Participants saw firsthand – through tablets, smartphones and real-time crime center displays – how aggregated data from sources, such as video, social media, and location-based apps, can dramatically enhance tactical team’s situational awareness, and how mission critical voice can be extended beyond land mobile radio to the same smart devices.

        Each scenario began the same way: teams were in a briefing room watching a “live” scenario unfold as a public figure on a terror group’s watch list was presenting to a large crowd. Local law enforcement anticipated that the dignitary may be in danger, so immediate response teams including tactical EMS groups were on standby, and StrongWatch’s Freedom On The Move (FOTM) was deployed. Mid-way through the speech, terrorists concealed in the masses launched an attack to take out the official and several people nearby. As the teams watched the video surveillance feed, assailants remained on the ground hidden in heavy smoke, firing automatic weapons at civilians.

        While these events unfolded, the FOTM and hospital cameras were all viewable on CommandCentral Aware and CommandCentral Inform. With thermal imaging technology, FOTM saw through the smoke to identify potential human threats, such as gunmen, and object threats, such as IED and casualties. With this information, command staff and EMS teams got a good idea of the number of shooters and their positions, the number of people still left in the courtyard, and those that need medical assistance. Because of the technology in use, high level officials knew immediately that the dignitary had been successfully evacuated, and which civilians needed immediate attention. As the scenario concluded, the teams could use BriefCam video synopsis software integrated into CommandCentral Aware to view their performance in the debriefing room.

        These tools dramatically changed the way that teams planned and acted in a crisis situation. CommandCentral enabled teams to assess and analyze multiple video sources, provided a single, operational view for incident command, and streamed real-time video and data to tablets and smartphones. While no one can predict what a real attack will look like, teams experienced a life-like scenario with real-time data streams, and this exercise equipped team members with the tools to operate in the unknown.

        To learn more about Intelligence-Led Public Safety Solutions, visit

        Jeff Menken is a Senior Solutions Architect at Motorola Solutions

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