Using Private Networks to Secure First Responder Communications

Traffic accidents, natural disasters, public gatherings — these are all common events managed by first responders who count on secure communications to accomplish their job safely and effectively. And these are all situations in which a private network could help ensure that sensitive data is transmitted securely.

Cyberattacks on State, Local Government Up 50%1

Secure communications cannot be taken for granted. Since 2017, attacks on government communications, through targeted intrusion, fraud or damage by malicious cyber actors rose an average of almost 50%2, according to a report by cybersecurity firm BlueVoyant. That amount likely accounts for only a fraction of the real number, report authors warned.

In addition, local governments are more likely to be targeted by ransomware attacks than any other type of organization, according to a new study by Barracuda Networks, which looked at 71 global ransomware incidents over the last 12 months.3

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

To combat cyberattacks, many government agencies are investing in encrypted security measures. Available through cellular providers virtual private networks help ensure that sensitive data is safely transmitted to prevent unauthorized eavesdropping and cyberattacks.

Here’s how. Private networks route traffic from wireless devices through a secure, dedicated tunnel. This provides emergency teams, for example, with access to remote and mobile assets without making voice and data messaging visible on the public internet. Your wireless devices are a part of your organization’s network, and you control how they can be accessed.

For example, the equipment in your patrol cars and the smart devices your officers carry each rely on advanced 4G and 5G networks to send and receive sensitive information. As data is transferred, a VPN blocks connection to external networks that can leave your data vulnerable, thus keeping it safe from cyber hackers who prey on unprotected networks and data.

In addition, a first responder can count on data priority through their private network to access real-time route management and communication when rushing to an emergency. Once on the scene, EMTs can establish secure, hi-speed transmission to the hospital to provide patient vitals.

A private network can also help minimize data breaches that expose names, dates of birth, email addresses and passwords of thousands of employees and applicants. In the hands of cyberhackers, officer and civilian safety could be at risk. As more information is collected, and hackers find new ways to use stolen data, departments are at greater risk for similar cyber threats.

Choosing the Right Private Network Partner

To implement your private network, look for a cellular provider that offers your organization these hallmarks:

  • Stable Connection Private networks create a direct connection from your mobile devices, sensors or meters to your organization’s internal network.
  • Reliable Network Count on your cellular partner to provide fast, reliable coverage from the city to the countryside—no matter where you need to communicate in an emergency.
  • Flexible Setup  Choose a partner that provides dedicated resources and solution specialists offering unique flexibility and a personal approach, based on each organization’s different technical requirements.
  • Local Support Partner with technology experts local to your community, on hand and ready to help your first responders get up and running faster.
  • Easier Implementation Find a cellular partner that will configure network-based or hardware-based VPNs to your specifications.
  • Data Priority Combining data priority with private networks ensures your most mission-critical data will be delivered not only safely – but at the speed you require.

With so many facets of communication riding on your decision, choosing the right solutions isn’t just important, it’s critical. The keys to finding the right technology are straightforward:

  • identify your concerns, including fast, reliable, secure communications
  • understand the available solutions, such as rugged devices on virtual private networks

Your cellular partner will ease this process by working with you to understand your requirements.

UScellularTM creates public safety network solutions that first responder agencies rely on to securely serve their communities. From private networks, data priority and preemption, to rugged devices, we offer what your teams need to be safer and more efficient in the field. Contact your local public safety solution expert by phoning 1-866-616-5587 or complete this form to learn more.

References

  1. GCN, “Cyberattacks on state, local government up 50%,” https://gcn.com/articles/2020/09/04/cyberattacks-state-local-government-climbing.aspx, September 4, 2020
  2. Ibid
  3. Infosecurity Magazine, “Local Government Organizations Most Frequently Targeted by Ransomware,” https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/local-government-targeted/, August 27, 2020