Secure Connected Places: Cyber Security Playbook launched

Secure Connected Places: Cyber Security Playbook launched

New guide will help UK communities innovate and build ‘smart cities’ while keeping data safe from cyber threats

The Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology (DSIT) has today (16 May 2023) launched the alpha Secure Connected Places Playbook for local authorities, a new resource offering practical and accessible support to improve the cyber security of their connected places, or ‘smart cities’, across the UK.

Connected places are communities that integrate information and communication technologies, as well as Internet of Things (IoT) devices, to collect and analyse data to deliver new services to the community and enhance the quality of living for citizens. These improvements feature across a wide array of areas, including key public services such as transportation, utilities and wider infrastructure.

Given the large amount data they collect, the interconnected nature of their systems, and the potential impact on local infrastructure, connected places can be attractive targets to hostile actors. This Playbook will help local authorities set a foundation to protect themselves against would-be cyber threats.

Created in collaboration with a group of local authorities, the alpha Playbook provides practical cyber security support as communities increase their use of innovative solutions, such as automated traffic and waste management systems, and smart environmental monitoring.

Minister for Cyber, AI, and Intellectual Property, Viscount Camrose, said:

Connected places offer enormous benefits for the entire country, not just through improved public services for our communities, but through new innovations which will unlock better-paid jobs and grow our economy.

We are already world leaders in cyber security, as demonstrated by through pioneering measures such as the Product Security Regime. It’s vital that this expertise carries over to the development of our connected places.

This Playbook will help do exactly that – offering practical and accessible support to local authorities as we work collaboratively to grow secure and sustainable connected places across the UK.

Designed to be accessible for those without a technical background, the alpha Playbook will help local authority teams who are working on connected places projects to get their cyber security foundations right and set a strong security culture in the process.

The alpha Playbook addresses several key cyber security challenges which local authorities face in the deployment of connected places technologies, including a resources on cyber security governance, risk management, procurement and supply chain security, as well as guidance on how to conduct threat analysis.

A diverse group of local authorities has contributed to its creation, ensuring it can address the diverse practical needs of communities across the country.

The contributing authorities were:

  • Bradford Metropolitan City Council
  • Westminster City Council
  • Dorset Council
  • Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council
  • The South London Partnership
  • Perth and Kinross Council

DSIT is committed to continuing its work with local authorities to ensure that the alpha Playbook continues to work for their practical needs. Today, DSIT is inviting applications from local authorities to participate in the next phase of the project, beta testing the alpha Playbook. This will involve an expanded cohort of 12 local authorities who will receive dedicated cyber security support to apply and refine the advice in the alpha Playbook. This will inform a beta version of the Playbook targeted for publication next year.

Feeding into the government’s National Cyber Strategy and complementing existing guidance published by the National Cyber Security Centre, the playbook helps cement the UK’s place as a global leader in secure and sustainable connected places.

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