Posted on November 03, 2019

As the world enters into the 4th Industrial Revolution through disruptive technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud Computing, Blockchain and Biotechnology, the way we live, work and relate to one another is rapidly changing. This rapidly growing technology coupled with the rise of urbanization gave life to the concept of ‘Smart Cities’.

The notion of smart cities or countries, which seems like a sci-fi dream, aims to improve efficiency, increase sustainability, and enhance the overall quality of life all through the use of technology and data. With almost 70% of world’s population is expected to live in cities by 2050, making these cities ‘smart’ is essential.

Smart Cities rely heavily on the Internet of Things to collect real-time data and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to integrate communication and act on the information. In other words, a smart city collects data through sensors and other devices, analyzes the data, then manages resources efficiently and communicates the relevant information to citizens. Thus, providing improved public services while allowing efficient government-to-citizens communication.

Implementing the smart initiative to parking (smart parking) can have significant positive impacts. For example, cities can implement sensors in parking lots, which will reduce the drivers’ parking search time by detecting and guiding drivers to available parking spots via a smart parking app. According to a study, San Francisco parking search time was reduced by 43% which did not only save time but also reduced fuel usage and CO2 emissions by 30%. Additionally, in-app payment makes it easier and more convenient to pay, resulting in a 23% decrease in the number of parking violations and citations.

However, smart cities are complex systems that depend on large data points generated by our daily activities and require high-speed network as well as immense storage capacities of cloud computing infrastructure. Consequently, this leaves cities vulnerable to multiple threats such as human errors, natural disasters, or cyber-attacks. Such disasters can have major effects on business continuity, or city continuity, and in many cases can be life threating. In 2016, a computer virus infected a network of hospitals in the UK, known as the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust. The virus crippled the network systems and stopped operations at three separate hospitals for five days. The impact was significant and patients, even in cases of major trauma or childbirth, were turned away and sent to other hospitals. In total, more than 2,800 patient procedures and appointments were canceled due to the attack. According to a report by Computing.co.uk, the network of hospitals did not have a resilient business continuity plan in place, which is a sign of poor management since disaster scenarios can be life-or-death at healthcare facilities.

To avoid the excruciating results of disasters, smart cities need to accurately model and fit a comprehensive disaster recovery and business continuity plan. Seeing that smart cities run on data, it is the most valuable commodity that needs to be carefully managed and vigilantly protected. Governing bodies need to take measures in storing and protecting mission-critical infrastructure to ensure continuity of their operations and services. Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) is an innovative method to replicate the IT infrastructure, applications and data in real-time which runs in parallel to the main system. To put it in simpler terms, DRaaS requires organizations within smart cities to create mirror images of their systems on the cloud without discarding their on-premise system. Thus, securing data through the implementation of failover and backup services allowing operations to resume in a different location in the event of unexpected disasters.

In 2013, a bolt of lightning struck Cantey Technology’s office building causing a fire to break out.4 The fire torched and destroyed the company’s network infrastructure, melted cables, and burned computer hardware. The effects of the fire seemed like a nightmare, especially for an IT company whose core service is to host servers for more than 200 clients. However, Cantey had already implemented a disaster recovery and business continuity plan, which consisted of moving clients’ servers to a remote location and continuously backing up data. Thus, their clients never experienced any interruption in service and their businesses were not affected.

At MEEZA, we offer world-class recovery solutions, pre-emptively tackling disruptions to ensure resilience and business continuity. Our Recovery as a Service solution offers the option to replicate the client’s complete IT infrastructure, applications and data to the cloud, enabling full system recovery within mere seconds and allowing for a truly comprehensive disaster recovery solution. Disasters come in multiple forms and may be highly unpredictable in nature, but the effect they have on a business can be calculated and mitigated with MEEZA’s Recovery-as-a-Service solution.

Smart cities play a vital role in the growth of economies and improvement in the quality of life for citizens. These cities are built on big data analytics most of which is cloud based. This data that ultimately runs behind the mechanism that keep the water clean enough to drink, facilitate the traffic during rush hour and cool our apartments in summer. Therefore, it has become critical to make data security a priority. Afterall, a smart city is only as smart as the data governance it has in place which should cover the entire lifecycle of the data from collection, through storage, analysis and dissemination. Smart city planners must secure the city’s data by an accessible backup and implementing failover on all systems and networks extending to the data centers. This will help ensure smart cities are run as safely and efficiently as possible in any condition.

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