Today 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) has announced Microsoft as our newest Platform Partner. Microsoft is not only well-established and respected as a global technology leader, but the company is also on the cutting edge of cybersecurity solutions.

This partnership couldn’t have come at a better time. In the past year, we saw many big-name companies in all industries fall victim to cyber-attacks. At the same time, we are seeing the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT)—the massive connectivity of devices to the Internet. City leaders are starting to use IoT to offer more efficient services, with thousands of sensors, mobile devices, and apps feeding data to the cloud. But often these devices aren’t created with security as the main priority, and data sent and received from many devices may not be safe. While IoT continues to grow, bringing with it opportunities to provide incredible advancements in city processes, the requirements for security and privacy will be more complex and challenging.

As cities think about these challenges, it is more critical than ever that they formally address cybersecurity. By not protecting themselves against hackers and other cyber-attackers, cities leave themselves vulnerable to system failures that can potentially lead to huge economic losses.

So what might improved cybersecurity measures look like for a city? Microsoft has come up with a seven-step approach to help cities design and implement cybersecurity strategies. It includes:

  • A risk-based approach that looks at the overall structure of a city’s systems to determine how to mitigate vulnerabilities to reduce the likelihood of system failure.
  • The establishment of clear priorities and security baselines, using standards like NIST’s “Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity,” and the Council on Cybersecurity’s “Critical Security Controls for Effective Cyber Defense.”
  • Working hand-in-hand with the private sector and other government entities to share and coordinate threat and vulnerability information.
  • Educating citizens by equipping them with tools and resources to be cybersmart.

Looking at this list of strategies, you can see why we are very excited to be working with Microsoft as a Platform Partner to help cities address emerging and newly identified resilience needs. Through its innovative CityNext initiative—aimed at helping cities increase productivity and efficiency by implementing social, mobile, cloud and data technology solutions—Microsoft is empowering cities to embrace the increasingly digital landscape. By working closely with Microsoft, 100 Resilient Cities will be able to help cities improve their digital resiliency capabilities, as an integrated priority working alongside their overall goals.

Microsoft joins our 30-plus Platform Partners, a group of organizations from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors that provide critical tools to cities worldwide. These tools can help cities become better able to withstand and recover from the shocks and stresses that are a growing part of life in the 21st century.

By adding Microsoft to the partnership, 100RC is taking another step forward to help cities have a new level of protection against potential cyber-attacks. Microsoft will provide best practices as well as cybersecurity experts who will conduct half-day workshops leading to the design of a cyber-resilience roadmap. In addition, Microsoft will facilitate cybersecurity best practice exchanges at 100RC’s city workshops. All of these tools will be available to members of our network, which can use them to help cities design and implement long-term resilience plans.

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Michael Berkowitz

CEO, 100 Resilient Cities