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Next-gen 9-1-1 implementation needs strategic cyber-security oversight, white paper finds

According to a survey conducted by Ebensburg, PA-based L.R. Kimball, the movement to adopt next generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) systems is accelerating, as is the need for strategic cyber-security oversight of the new systems. “NG9-1-1” refers to the initiative to update the nation's 9-1-1 emergency telecommunications infrastructure.


In addition to calling 9-1-1 from a VoIP phone, the update will enable the public to transmit text, images, video, telematics information and other data via an IP-enabled network to a 9-1-1 center, according to Kimball.

 

“As NG9-1-1 adds significant capabilities to emergency networks, it also adds potential vulnerabilities from exposure to viruses, malware, hackers and unintentional misuse, which can impact the entire network. Emergency calls are matters of life, death and community safety; so NG9-1-1 systems must be solidly secured and protected to remain accessible,” L.R. Kimball President and CEO R. Jeffrey Kimball said in a statement. “Our firm has played an important role in developing security standards and techniques for NG9-1-1 networks, and this white paper is designed to share some of our insights in this arena.”


Kimball’s survey of 100 public safety officials found that:

 


The majority of respondents were already implementing next generation 9-1-1 systems (22 percent) or planning to do so in the near future (66 percent).


Sixty-two percent of respondents reported having experienced cyber-security problems in the previous 24 months; 54 percent of those responding agencies had experienced system downtime as a result.


Infiltration of viruses and system failures requiring backup were among the most common specific technology issues reported. 

 

Seventy percent of respondents stated that cyber-security is an extremely important matter, with system downtime the leading concern.