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FRESH IDEAS IN PUBLIC SAFETY


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      • What Does A Browser Have In Common With NG9-1-1?

        Published Jun 01 2017, 5:08 PM by Craig Dollar
        • NG9-1-1 Dispatch
        • Law Enforcement

        Most 9-1-1 agencies know what an internet browser is. However, not many understand what NG9-1-1 is and how to transition. Almost every public safety agency is trying to figure out all the implications of next generation emergency. I have met with many customers who ask similar questions: does the solution I purchased today work for tomorrow’s standard? As Text-to 9-1-1 advances, can my command center software easily adapt? Are future standard enhancements included in my maintenance agreement? Is the system flexible to address future standard requirements?

        The transition to a next generation call system can involve an ample amount of work. Overall, agencies must be ready to plan out budgeting, technical preparation, operational planning, governance issues and more.

        As you look to integrate NG9-1-1 into your emergency communications center, CallWorks, previously called Emergency CallWorks, can answer ‘YES’ to all those questions. CallWorks provides an innovative, browser based NG9-1-1 offering that converges call taking, dispatch and mapping, together. As an integrated part of the Motorola Solutions software enterprise, CallWorks continually adapts to the latest NG9-1-1 standards.

        What’s the benefit of a browser based NG9-1-1 solution?  

        It is a reliable, repeatable system with reduced deployment time at an affordable price. Flexibility is inherently built into the browser-based solution, allowing it to be implemented on-site or hosted and scaled to the size of an organization. Want to add a new position or a new site? It’s easy to do.  

        Because the NG9-1-1 standard is constantly evolving, the other real benefit of a browser based solution is the ease of upgrade to future standard requirements. With an ongoing maintenance agreement, your system is protected. There will not be any unforeseen software expenses to meet future standard requirements, such as text to 9-1-1 with an appropriate service plan.  

        Going to APCO in Denver, CO – August 13-16, 2017?

        Please stop by Motorola Solutions Booth #801 for a quick demo of CallWorks, first hand. We know you will be amazed at the intuitive user interface of this browser-based, innovative NG9-1-1 solution. Experience the simplicity of Text to 9-1-1, the precise location of the mapping tool and the integrated CAD. Not going to APCO? See why Gloucester County transitioned to NG911 in this blog or watch their story here.

        I am so excited to share the benefits of a browser based NG9-1-1 system and what it means for the future of next generation call taking. Stop by Motorola Solutions Booth #801 at APCO 2017, meet with a NG9-1-1 expert and spend some time exploring the innovations beyond Next Generation.

        __________________________________________________________

        Craig Dollar is the Director of 9-1-1 Strategic Projects at Motorola Solutions.

        In 2015, Motorola Solutions purchased Emergency CallWorks to provide customers with a proven browser based solution. Beginning June 1, 2017, we have simplified the name to CallWorks but nothing else changes. It is still the same reliable, customer driven software, developed by the same people with the same relentless customer service trusted by public safety organizations. Stop by booth #801 at APCO and experience CallWorks first hand.  

        Read the CallWorks: Innovation Beyond Next Generation Blog for more information on the acquisition of Emergency CallWorks.

      • Neglected Security Patches Making You WannaCry? Next Time Don't Wait

        Published May 16 2017, 5:40 PM by Kelly Miller
        • System Management
        • Cybersecurity
        • Law Enforcement

        Thousands of articles, videos and blogs have been written about the importance of software security patching. The simple fact is that most cyber-attacks are based on known system and software vulnerabilities. Patching can correct these vulnerabilities and safeguard your network from intrusions.

        And yet around the world, many of us fail to make security patching a priority. This became eminently clear over the weekend in the largest cyber-attack ever. A ransomware known as “WannaCry” resulted in more than 45,000 attacks in at least 100 countries over a 48-hour window. Former Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin stated, “The reason this is hitting so many computers at once is they [the hackers] discovered a vulnerability in the most popular operating system in the world...in Microsoft Windows.”

        Companies that were up to date on their patching were not affected by the cyber attack that shocked not only private organizations such as telecom giant Spain's Telefonica, but also government and public safety mission-critical entities such as hospitals and clinics across the United Kingdom and the Andhra Pradesh police in India.

        “The fact that so many organizations were vulnerable to this was quite a surprise,” said cyber expert and CEO of Capital Alpha Security in the United Kingdom Matt Tait. “This patch came out three months ago."  Yes, Microsoft did announce a fix for the vulnerability, but not everyone acted or even took note when the announcement was made. Some were unaware. Others had budget or resource constraints or simply waited to address due to other priorities.

        The main lesson from WannaCry outbreak? Don't delay patching--ever. The political, public relationship and most important, civilian ramifications are enormous, especially for mission-critical organizations that depend on sophisticated IP-based communication networks. Our dedicated security experts help our customers mitigate cybersecurity threats with validated security patches through our Security Update Service (SUS). We analyzed, vetted and released the patch which addressed the WannaCry vulnerability to our customer base shortly after its initial release by Microsoft. We installed it and others for customers who opt for remote security patching and encourage those with our self-install patching option to do so immediately and reboot servers if you already haven’t.

        The good news is that a security researcher inadvertently discovered a 'kill switch' which has halted the spread of the initial worm that took the world by surprise. In our modern world of cyber-threats, none of us can afford to be complacent any longer. Security patching is one of the core, fundamental steps needed to safeguard your system from cyber threats. For more information, visit our cybersecurity services page.

        Kelly Miller is Software and Security Product Manager at Motorola Solutions.

      • Walk in Your Shoes – The Foundation of Customer-Focused Software Applications

        Published May 15 2017, 10:02 PM by Julie Folden
        • Fire
        • Law Enforcement

        May 15-20th is Police Week in the US, a time to honor law enforcement personnel. Take the time to say thanks this week. “Walk in Your Shoes” is the first in a series where we will highlight our commitment to building experience focused software applications to support the important job of protecting citizens of this great nation.

        Sirens blare as we speed to an incident; a 9-1-1 potential domestic abuse call requires us to proceed with caution; a downed tree on a conservation trail means we trek through a muddy field. I’ve experienced it all, as I have walked in the shoes of many different public safety personnel. This is an important part of my job at Motorola Solutions – experiencing and documenting the working environment of public safety personnel.

        Showing up for roll call and getting assigned to shadow an officer for the day always gets my adrenaline pumping because each ride-along is unique. But what they all have in common is the ability for me to interact with public safety personnel in their environment, not a lab. I get to join police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel as they go about their daily tasks while I observe, question, and learn about their interactions and technology needs.   

        From ride-alongs, walk-alongs, and station visits, the knowledge gained goes into the development of new mobile and handheld software applications and also helps our customers realize the full potential of a software platform. Spending 4-6 hours with an officer really gives me a sense of what their day is like. I watch them interact with their current equipment; understand what they like, what they do not like, what they wish they had. I document how new applications or changes to a current product can enhance their job function and then I work with design engineers to implement.

        An example of something we learned from walking in our customers' shoes is the difference between law enforcement and fire incident management. As a result we do not have a one size fits all product. We have adapted the dashboard to make them different. The police dashboard offers field initiation and queries while the Fire Dashboard is more status monitor focused.  

        As a software product manager, having the ability to spend time with end users has resulted in the PremierOne Mobile and Handheld software portfolio being intuitive and easy to use. In the words of the Ventura Police Department, California:

        “PremierOne is so much more user-friendly than anything we’ve seen or used before. Everything is right at your fingertips both for dispatchers and for officers in the field. Once you enter a call and are looking at an incident, you can click on tabs to get everything you need about the incident, such as prior incident information, potential hazards, maps, and multimedia attachments. It’s much easier to operate the system to get the job done.”

        – Commander David Wilson, Ventura PD, California.  

        For more information, check out the Ventura PD Case study.

        _________________________________________________________

        Julie Folden is Mobility Product Manager at Motorola Solutions.  

        Her job is to understand and document the daily activities of police, fire, and EMS personnel to help software development teams to create the best mobile and handheld applications for both today and tomorrow. She takes her job seriously having completed over 500 public safety experiential visits over the past 15 years.  

      • Insights from a Live Hacking Demonstration - Why Security Patching is Critical

        Published May 02 2017, 4:44 PM by Wendell Robinson
        • EMS
        • Cybersecurity
        • System Management
        • Fire
        • Law Enforcement

        I recently attended IWCE, a conference focused on educating end-users and operators on the trends and evolving technologies taking place with Land Mobile Radio (LMR) systems. My mission at the show was to increase cybersecurity awareness. LMR systems are no longer entirely closed networks or immune from cyber threats. If anything, serving as a mission-critical, communication component for government and public safety agencies, they have a propensity of gaining the attention of hackers. Government entities are being attacked at twice the rate of other industries across the board.

        My goal was to raise awareness about the importance of proactive cybersecurity measures for LMR systems with a live hacking demonstration. From my demos, here were the common insights I gleaned from the LMR end-users and system operators I met:  

        Cybersecurity education is still needed. Only a small subset of those I spoke to had a sound understanding of their LMR system’s level of risk. Others were aware that their systems are now vulnerable to cyber threats. However, they were not knowledgeable of how their system can be compromised; their risk posture; or how to protect their systems from and respond to cyber intrusions.

        Hackers aren’t that sophisticated. Most of the individuals I spoke to weren’t aware that you don’t have to be a brilliant hacker to create something that can comprise a system. Without a great deal of knowledge, hackers can create an exploit that can work on a LMR system. Everything needed is available through a few clicks of the button. A conference attendee that person I spoke to said, “I had no idea it was that simple!”

        Chaos and disruption is the end goal. During my demo, I reviewed various examples of the actions hackers can take once in their systems. I explained how a hacker can upload code to overwrite operating software files to disrupt the network, launch web browser that redirect system users to a malicious website, and execute commands that can remotely shutdown and reboot a system server. Most system assaults are directed at disrupting communication at some level.

        Most successful attacks are based on known vulnerabilities. The “A Ha!!” moment came when I pointed out that most attacks are based on known system vulnerabilities – 75% according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. However, the good news is that these vulnerabilities have patches that can be applied to systems. Security patching is one of the first and important steps anyone can take to mitigate cybersecurity threats.

        From my conversations at the show, the LMR end-users and operators I spoke to are more aware that their systems are vulnerable to cyber intrusions. However, it’s important that everyone understands their system’s risk posture and how to proactively address cyber threats. There isn’t room for complacency when safeguarding a mission-critical, LMR system. While there are many strategies and options available, there is one action everyone should take to mitigate cyber threats—regular security patching. For our customers, we offer this service with rigor by pre-testing and validating all required patches to ensure they don’t cause any disruption when installed. If you don’t patch, you’re at greater risk to get hacked. Why let that happen? Learn more at motorolasolutions.com/cybersecurity.

        Wendell Robinson is Lead Cybersecurity Services Manager at Motorola Solutions.