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FRESH IDEAS IN PUBLIC SAFETY


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      • CYBERSECURITY ARENA FACES GROWING SHORTAGE OF QUALIFIED PROFESSIONALS

        Published 22 days ago by Troy Mattern
        • Cybersecurity
        • Services

        Cyber crime continues to proliferate across the globe with the number of data breaches on an upward trend. The result is an immense demand for skilled security professionals to address growing concerns. Unfortunately, the availability of security experts is a challenge for organizations and agencies – and is only expected to get worse. Already, the cybersecurity workforce gap is on pace to hit three million globally.

        This growing gap will have a significant impact on the industry. Organizations who find themselves with a shortage of security personnel are at risk of slowed adoption and implementation of the critical tools needed for cybersecurity efforts – opening them up to potential breaches and attacks. When looking at effectively securing infrastructure, 87 percent of companies believe that hiring and retaining qualified security professionals is critical.

        Yet, despite efforts to increase hiring and fill needed positions, demand continues to outpace supply. Today’s organizations face a staffing problem that is more logistical than financial – with security budgets increasing but talent recruitment continuing to be a challenge.

        The growing workforce shortage is being driven by a lack of qualified personnel – with a large segment of the available workforce lacking the requisite skills that enterprises need. Sixty-four percent of organizations report that only half of their applicants are qualified for an open security position – with technical skills being the biggest existing skills gap. For public safety and government agencies, there is the additional challenge of competing with private, enterprise organizations that can be more attractive to potential talent.

        Unfortunately, traditional recruitment methods are falling short. It is not uncommon for cybersecurity workers to arrive at their roles through unconventional paths. In fact, 87 percent of current professionals did not start their careers in cybersecurity – but rather moved into the field from a wide variety of other professions including information technology. Further compounding the issue is a lack of training, with only three of the top 50 university computer science programs requiring cybersecurity coursework.

        In order to close the gap, hiring managers need to explore new recruitment and development channels and find innovative strategies and techniques to engage potential professionals. This can include professional development programs, training and apprenticeships to grow security talent.

        Filling the long-term, growing cybersecurity skills gap is critical. But organizations have a need for professionals now. For companies in need of security expertise, partnering with an organization that can provide cybersecurity support and services may be the solution. These organizations are prepared to work with companies to safeguard their critical communication networks and technologies and are trained to stay actively informed of the rapidly changing landscape of security threats and compliance requirements. Read the full Motorola Solutions White Paper here to learn more about the need for cybersecurity experts.

        Troy Mattern, Vice President – Products and Services, Cybersecurity

      • ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE WITHIN REACH? IT’S ALREADY HERE!

        Published 23 days ago by Jehan Wickramasuriya
        • Intelligence
        • Law Enforcement

        AI at Motorola SolutionsArtificial intelligence (AI) has long captured the public imagination – embodied in cutting-edge robots and the highly automated world portrayed in science fiction movies. Despite its futuristic connotation, AI is already here – and has been for years.

        Consumer tools – including virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa, and machine learning-driven algorithms – are widely being utilized to make our daily lives easier.  Yet, 63 percent of the public don’t realize they are actually using AI technologies in their day-to-day lives.

        Whether we realize it or not – the truth is, many of us are exposed to and utilizing AI every day.

        Within the corporate world, AI is ushering in a significant new era of doing business. Entire industries are poised to be transformed, or are already being impacted, by AI applications – from manufacturing and health care to public safety and transportation.

        AI is currently being used to combat epidemics, manage and warn of disasters, and fight crime. Its application is bringing about a number of benefits including increased efficiencies, new products and fewer repetitive tasks. Computer-aided medical image interpretation is being used to scan digital images and highlight conspicuous sections that may be a disease. Google’s “smart reply” function is helping users manage their inbox, deciphering incoming messages and automatically suggesting different responses. Banking apps are using machine learning to decipher and convert handwriting to text, enabling customers to deposit checks via their mobile phone.

        As soon as 2020, the market for AI is expected to reach $70 billion. By 2035, AI technologies are projected to boost corporate profitability by an average of 38 percent. It is clear that AI will have an immense effect on consumer, enterprise and government markets around the world.

        While there are some obstacles to overcome, AI has the potential to solve many of today’s problems and enable us to work smarter and more efficiently. However, this change is only possible if we embrace AI with the mindful focus on applications dedicated to improving lives, products and experiences for everyone. Looking forward, an open mind will be a critical asset as companies experiment with how to incorporate AI into our personal lives, professional lives, and society at large.

        Jehan Wickramasuriya is Head of Data Science & Analytics at Motorola Solutions.

      • Increasing Connectivity Exposes New Cyber Attack Vectors

        Published 38 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 38 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 39 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.