Aug 14 2015

Boston Invests in Next-Gen Firewall to Future-Proof Its IT Against Security Breaches

The city has a five-year plan to make sure its IT systems receive top-notch protection.

When it comes to IT security, the city of Boston would rather be proactive than reactive. That’s why the city plans to spend $3.5 million to create a next-generation firewall system.

Boston devoted the money to the firewall despite never suffering a substantial security hack, and that’s the way the city wants to keep it. In an article from the Boston Herald, Boston CIO Jascha Franklin-Hodge emphasized the importance of eliminating points of weakness before they can be exploited.

“There’s a lot of ongoing work that we have around identifying any place within our technology infrastructure where we think we have got a vulnerability or a system that we don’t think has the right kind of redundancy,” he said.

The city has a five-year plan to fortify its technology, and the firewall should be functional by the year’s end. Come 2020, Boston wants to unveil a complex security system that would shield it from a variety of threats. According to GCN, the protection will extend to infrastructure and utility system failures:

In addition to the firewall, the city is also preparing for contingencies that could threaten systems and utilities – like the loss of power that led to parts of the Boston Fire Department network going offline. Backup generators prevented the power loss from becoming serious.

Greg McCarthy, Boston’s CISO, said the current “high-threat environment” necessitated the new security precautions.

“The center of the onion is the crown jewel of the city, and we continually build layer on layer to protect,” he explained, StateScoopreports. “We have external parties that are scanning our networks looking for vulnerability where they might attack — this is a fact of life.”

This extensive front-end planning will hopefully make Boston less susceptible to cyberattack and provide an example for other cities and localities to follow.