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      • 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


      • 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

      • Who Will Be Your Mrs. Jones?

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

        A watchful eye is key to keeping your network safe.

        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.

        I grew up on a typical street in Cardiff, Wales where everyone knew each other. In the middle of the road was Mrs. Jones, a little old lady who had lived there seemingly forever. She knew everyone’s name, their children’s names, daily routines and neighborhood schedules. If a stranger or unrecognizable car came down our street, they were under her watchful gaze and anything out of the ordinary warranted her further investigation. Delivery men joked about her, teens feared her, and the police loved her. Needless to say, my neighborhood was crime free. Did we have an outstanding security fortress, sophisticated alarm systems, and attack dogs to warn off potential intruders? No, we had the same basic street as everyone else with the exception of one key asset - Mrs. Jones. She kept a watchful eye on everything, always looking out for the unusual and investigating suspicious activities.

        There are many similarities between the street I grew up on and network security. Our networks and the people who use them are predictable - they have a routine just like the neighborhood. We know the applications that should be there, the people who are authorized to use it, and the traffic that should flow across the network. We put in all of the right security features to control access, manage traffic flow and update software, but it is not enough. All of the logs and audit files that are generated by our systems need to be monitored for anomalies, and traffic should be reviewed for anything that should not be there. We need the watchful eye of a Mrs. Jones monitoring the network 24x7x365.

        As you progress on your security journey, continuous diagnostics and monitoring will be fundamental to reducing risk. Fortifying your networks with the latest barrier style technology and adding more restrictive personnel constraints are not enough. You absolutely must keep a watchful eye on everything traversing the system and looking for the unusual such as:

        Intruders ‘scoping’ the system

        Traffic anomalies

        Too many failed attempts

        Unusual perimeter port scanning

        Powerful automation is key, good intelligence is vital, and skilled analysts to understand when something isn't right is a must have.

        Who will be your Mrs. Jones?
        Motorola Solutions offers sophisticated remote monitoring and diagnostics, 24x7x365 by trained cybersecurity analysts. We can offer you an extra layer of protection above and beyond the security measures you already have in place, so your network can run as efficiently and safely as the neighborhood I grew up in. For more information about our security monitoring services visit our website, contact your local salesperson, or drop me a note below and I will personally give you a call.

        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 begin security monitoring of your critical infrastructure.

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

        Mick Palmer is the Global Cybersecurity Services Manager at Motorola Solutions.


      • How We Use Virtualization to Drive Real Value

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

        Here in Douglas County, Nebraska, we face the same challenges that most communities face nationwide: how to do more with less, and how to squeeze value from the public’s hard-earned tax dollars. That’s why, when we started our migration from our old CAD system to PremierOne™ CAD in 2013, we did a lot of work upfront. We first looked at the hardware, then the cost, and finally the projected performance. From this analysis, we determined that we could gain cost savings and better performance by going to a virtualized platform.

        Bringing virtualization to life
        In the simplest sense, “virtualization” is taking one very large server and segmenting it in a way so that it functions like multiple smaller servers. In our case, we have approximately 12 applications and 38 CAD consoles that all “sit” on two servers. The benefits are lower equipment cost, better performance, lower space requirements and easier, faster maintenance.

        For example, we have multiple high-end video cards that sit on the server. These cards are much better than anything you would put in a PC, and because they sit on the server, all of our CAD operators have access to their better-quality performance. Likewise, instead of needing to install a $2,000 computer at every CAD operator’s station, we are able to spend $400 and still get the better performance.

        Speed that meets our needs
        Virtualization also speeds up our networking. We were able to eliminate the need for each CAD station to “talk” over a wide area network (WAN) and through a firewall. Instead, everyone is plugged into a network that talks directly to the server using 10-gigabit Ethernet connectivity with no firewall between the server and the CAD client.

        Turning off-the-shelf into off-the-charts
        Although we are eager to push our technology to deliver higher performance and value, we try to stay as close to “off-the-shelf” as we can. We have found that the more we stray from standard installations and applications, the harder it is to get updates, which can cause problems. Using PremierOne™ CAD has saved us a lot of money and really improved our performance. Along the way, we learned that once we invest in technology, we need to stay up-to-date. Through careful planning, strategies like virtualization, and sharing costs, we can be proud of how we invest our taxpayers’ dollars.

        We will be sharing our insights on how we were able to virtualize our CAD application at the Smart Public Safety Solutions User Conference in Henderson, Nevada from October 5th -7th. If you happen to be attending the conferences stop by the technology showcase to learn more.

        Learn more about Motorola Solutions’ industry-leading Integrated Command & Control Solutions.

        Mark Conrey is the Communications Director for Douglas County, Nebraska.


      • Live Streaming Video for Law Enforcement: What, Why, & How

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

        When Twitter purchased Periscope in March 2015, live streaming video suddenly became relevant to everyone. With backing from one of the major social media players, the public flocked to the app and its primary competitor, Meerkat. As we know, where the public goes, law enforcement inevitably must follow.

        What is live streaming video?
        Live streaming video apps let users video stream from their smartphones and devices to anyone else in the world using the same app. Because these feeds are public, anyone around the globe can follow users and watch their videos. Live streaming apps turn the everyday person into a reporter. Average citizens can now stream everything: their commute to work, child’s first steps, concerts, demonstrations, and the newsworthy events of daily life.application-connected-police-officer-orlando-CZ4U7254.jpg

        Why is live streaming video important for law enforcement?
        The world of instant news and sharing is certainly not new for us, as we’re used to sharing text, pictures and videos online via social media. Live streaming video takes this world a step further. Now anyone can be a reporter and stream their perspective to anyone in the world…anyone…in real-time. That sounds exciting and interesting from a user perspective perhaps, but from the eyes of law enforcement, it can be both an asset and a liability.

        There are benefits to live streaming video.
        Technology and social media providers tapping into firehose data from Twitter can pull videos from live video streaming apps as part of their efforts in social media threat detection and investigative work. Live streaming video can be used in proactive policing efforts to spot potential risks and assess scenarios that enable law enforcement to make decisions faster and more appropriately. Officers can see a situation unfold and be alerted that it is a risk in real-time. Think public unrest, riots, school shootings, publicized cases, and special events--there is tremendous value an analyst could gleam from video data. There are cues and clues in videos not detectable in text that could provide valuable intel for law enforcement. This all requires good police work, and officers still need to be able to decipher that data and make decisions that impact public and officer safety. The ability to use live streaming video social media data is exciting and opens new doors for law enforcement.

        There are also major drawbacks to live streaming video.
        A dangerous situation for law enforcement is when a suspect or person of interest in the middle of committing a crime watches the live stream of officials in actions. Because anyone with a smartphone can be streaming live, law enforcement officers on the scene may not be aware if they are being live streamed. That puts officer lives and tactical strategies at risk. Said person of interest and committer of the crime can change their behavior and harm officers and the public based on what they’re seeing live. In the worse case scenario, the bad guys can get the upper hand.

        How should I live stream?

        • Be mindful of the situation before live streaming: Ask yourself: is what I am seeing the beginning of a crime scene? Reporters and bystanders may, but an officer doing it can dangerous and impede an investigation. That’s not something you want.
        • Don’t reveal tactical information: This has already happened. A department was Periscoping live drills revealing how officers respond in scenarios. Guess what? Because that’s live and available for anyone in the world to see, you’re giving away information for free to criminals who can see that video and figure out ways to bypass law enforcement. Do not reveal tactical information. It puts officers and the public at risk.
        • Stick to the news: Periscope and Meerkat can be powerful tools to capture the facts. It is to everyone’s benefit to video only what is happening on the ground, without adding personal commentary.
        • It’s okay to be human: In marketing, there is this notion of humanizing your brand. That really applies to public relation efforts in general and definitely applies to law enforcement. Live videos, because they seem so unscripted, can be used to show the human side of your department. Be sincere. Be factual. Relate to your public. It will help promote good will in a time when relationships with public and law enforcement are tense.
        • Be mindful of location: Periscope can track location. Although it does not give exact coordinate data, it still reveals the center of the area, which can lead to you. Considering the circumstances, you may or may not want that information available. That could impede investigations and put officers at risk…again depending on the situation.

        Live streaming is a powerful tool that can used to keep officers and citizens more informed, and ultimately, safer.

        To learn more about live streaming and how it relates to your community, click here. Visit DigitalStakeout to acquire the insights you need to manage cyber risk and mitigate threats.

        Andreea Cojocariu (@andreeac_t) is a Digital Marketing Manager at DigitalStakeout

        Listen to members of the Digital Stakeout team on the Motorola Solutions' podcast 'MSI #5: Law Enforcement Gets Social' here:

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