Cities across the US and across the world have seen nearly 200 ransomware attacks in the past year; a 60% increase over the prior year’s numbers. To unfreeze systems held hostage, cyber criminals have demanded as much as $500,000.

Public servants are working to provide cities and municipalities with improved digital infrastructure, investing heavily in public-private partnerships to do so. One such large-scale initiative, known as The Global City Teams Challenge, brings together academics, industry professionals, government stakeholders and others to assess and improve cyber security and privacy within government-owned digital environments.

Within this umbrella initiative, more than 200 different projects exist. One such project, called the SC3 cloud privacy, Security and Rights-Inclusive Architecture (cpSRIA) Action Cluster, involves engineering a secure cloud architecture. The goal is to ensure that municipally owned cloud security architectures provide data privacy and security, while adhering to legal policies that protect citizens’ rights.

Those involved in the SC3 group include government officials, civil liberties associations, legal organizations, electric utility professionals, those with academic backgrounds, those with military backgrounds, those with computing backgrounds, and those from the cyber security sector.

“We’re recognizing it’s going to be more complicated,” explained a professor, referring to how the growing use of cloud data storage will affect cloud security.

Enabling non-technical municipal employees to easily understand cloud security related metrics is high up on the group’s priority list. Right now, they’re creating a color-coded schema that allows for uncomplicated insights into data risk.

For more information on SC3’s initiatives, visit Signal.