Public Safety Network Security Considerations


  • Andrew R. McGee,

    1. Distinguished Member of Technical Staff in the Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs CTO Security Technology Office, Murray Hill, New Jersey
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  • Matthieu Coutière,

    1. Vice President in charge of Public Sector worldwide, one of Alcatel-Lucent's three Strategic Industries
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  • Maria E. Palamara

    1. Strategic Contributor in Wireless Technologies at Alcatel-Lucent, Leading Technology Changes from First Generation Analog Cellular through Today's LTE and IMS/VoLTE
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Public safety networks are wireless communication networks used for public protection and disaster relief. Mobile broadband access to cloud-based computing power improves the flexibility of these networks. Modern public safety networks must support endpoints such as wireless laptops, handheld computers, and mobile video cameras, as well as facilitate communication, collaboration, and operation with central command posts, coworkers, and other agencies in order to provide situational awareness and optimized operations. Unattended video surveillance and sensor systems also use public service networks to transport control information and data. This combination of interconnectivity and interoperability of endpoints, communications, coworkers, agencies, video surveillance, and sensor systems results in a complex automated information system and introduces new security risks into public safety networks. First responders and public safety personnel are familiar with controls such as encryption, redundancy, and physical security used to protect traditional public safety networks; however, they may be unfamiliar with the controls needed to secure next-generation networks. This letter identifies some of the security factors that make public safety network design challenging. © 2012 Alcatel-Lucent.