Webinar presenters Estee Woods, Michael Fletcher and Aaron Maben answered a number of your questions after their presentation, IOT Applications and Instant Networks for Law Enforcement. Here are just a few of their responses.
Audience Question: Are new routers compliant with the emerging data privacy regulations like the California Consumer Privacy Act?
Michael Fletcher: Before we answer that question; we’d like to introduce Aaron Maben to make sure everybody understands his background and what he brings to the table during this discussion.
Aaron Maben: My name’s Aaron Maben, I am a solutions engineer at Cradlepoint but I’m also the security lead for the solutions engineering team. So, I’m looking forward to answering these questions. So, to answer those privacy questions, that is a consideration that Cradlepoint is looking at when we’re looking at what’s being actually stored in NetCloud Manager from the cloud feature. There is some PII there, such as your email address. So, when it comes to meeting those requirements for privacy that would refer back to our security implementations of our platform. Those types of questions can certainly be further answered by our IT and support teams and we’re happy to take those questions and get you a more solidified answer.
Audience Question: What are some of the most critical security issues you see agencies having to deal with when it comes to wireless networks?
Aaron Maben: When we’re talking about wireless networks, a big thing is making sure that data is never sent in the cloud now, when we’re talking about the connection from a Cradlepoint device to a cellular tower, that information is always going to be encrypted because there is a certificate on that sim card that provides encryption for that wireless transmission. No matter what is being done on that network, it’s not able to be captured and read by say a local attacker that’s trying to intercept or listen in to that wireless traffic. The other aspect when we’re talking about wireless communications is Wi-Fi and ensuring that your implementing secure Wi-Fi configurations. My recommendation, and security best practice, is using WPA2 Enterprise integrated with a triple-A service such as a RADIUS or TACACS+ server that then authenticates users that are trying to connect to the wireless network rather than having those users leverage a shared/pre-shared key. And then finally, as you’re transporting that traffic through that cellular connection, once it hits the cellular provider and goes out to the open Internet, if you are not securing that with a VPN tunnel or if you are not using TLS as part of your encrypted HTTP traffic, then that information could be potentially exposed on the Internet. Make sure that you’re using secure protocols such as VPNs and TLS – Transport Layered Security.
Estee Woods: And Aaron, I’m just going to add that it’s like any other network, but make sure you are doing things that are best practices, like penetration testing, changing your default passwords on your routers and utilizing IPS and IDS – intrusion prevention and intrusion detection. So basic IT principles. You want to make sure that with any network, whether it be wired or wireless that you have those pieces in place and you have an audit plan for your network security.
Audience Question: Could you repeat the email to get information from the Cradlepoint Grant Assistance Program?
Estee Woods: email@example.com or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Either of those emails will get you the link to live event assistance and that information.
Audience Question: My agency is starting to look at body-worn devices. Which solutions would best address this solution? Which Cradlepoint Solutions would address IOT?
Aaron Maben: When we’re looking at camera solutions, they are connecting to the networks that the Cradlepoint is providing. So, when we’re looking at these types of solution it’s not necessarily about whether you’re providing connectivity because Cradlepoint’s going to do that.It’s going to be about how those camera solutions store that evidence, how we implement transport of that evidence, whether it’s going to be stored on a DVR – say in a vehicle that body camera is connected to —and how that traffic is going to be pushed to the actual service storage server. Also, whether that is something that’s hosted internally by the law enforcement agency or if it’s going to be stored in a cloud-based service that a camera provider is providing as part of that service. Depending on these things and how you will use the connectivity, my recommendation is to pair your body worn and dashboard camera solutions, along with other in-vehicle IoT devices with a Cradlepoint vehicle router, such as the IBR900 or IBR1700.
Audience Question: Can you talk a little bit more about the difference between LTE and other technologies like MiFi, 5G, 4G, things like that?
Aaron Maben: When we’re talking about the different wireless technologies that are being used for wide area networks, right now the current standard is LTE Advance Pro or Long-Term Evolution. Now, this is what is also commonly referred to as 4G or 4th Generation LTE. This is going to continue to be a backbone for the implementation of 5G networks —the 5th Generation of Connectivity. However, if the 5G network is not available, LTE will still continue to be used as a fallback. So if you’re in a say a metropolitan area that 5G has been deployed in, if you move outside of the range of that 5G network especially if it’s within what we call millimeter wave, then you’re going to be falling back to 4G and that’s what’s going to give you that mobile connectivity that you need. When we’re talking about MiFi, that is referring to basically a consumer-grade device that a carrier would provide to an end-user typically included with their cellular data plan. This is just a simplified WiFi hotspot that’s leveraging the cellular connection and usually can’t support advanced configurations and is only designed to really support maybe up to 5 users whereas Cradlepoint devices are designed with enterprise functionality in mind and supports routing, VPN Tunnels and can handle much heavier loads of connected users.
Michael Fletcher: And those MiFi devices work but they are not mission-critical. They do not provide mission-critical connectivity. They really should not be utilized at all, if possible.
Estee Woods: They also create a security threat, anything that you can plug into a laptop can create potential security breaches as well because there is no way to really secure or manage a MiFi Network. Aaron was talking about 4G LTE and right now Gigabit-Class LTE solutions sit between 4G LTE and 5G technology. What it does is it creates 5 times the speed of 4G LTE. So, when you get a 5G solution in the future, you will failover to Gigabit-Class LTE if that 5G drops, because it’s a very fragile solution right now, it’s a line of sight, point to point. . Gigabit-Class solution speeds are going to enable the stability of utilizing 5G and public safety networks.
Audience Question: How do you get buy-in to use LTE within your agencies given the cost to convert over from the MiFi?
Estee Woods: It actually might equate to be more with MiFis. One of the agencies that we work with here locally were using MiFi’s a few years ago and started logging all of the IT tickets and all of the time and man-hours spent to troubleshoot and do their firmware upgrades, including every vehicle that had to be brought off the street and every vehicle that had to be touched. It was all hands on deck for their I.T. department and it costs over time. . Other issues came up if someone would throw a bag into the vehicle and then break the MiFi off in the MDT, then they have to be very careful with trying to open that MDT and fix it — half of the time you would have to replace it. Those are extremely costly. So, when you log the cost of that, they found out that they were actually paying more. They implemented Cradlepoint and the solution paid for itself in the first year,In the 2nd and 3rd year they were actually making money back that they could use for other technologies. Part of that of that is evaluating how much are you really spending, how many man-hours do you have, and can you create any operational efficiencies by implementing this solution.
Michael Fletcher: When you think about officer safety, and there are some political risks as well, first and foremost you want to put your staff on the street and you want to keep them safe — you want to be as efficient as possible. You want to go home at the end of the day. LTE is a very easy path to get on and when you take into account the money you’ve invested in the attachments in the vehicle, the applications you’ve put in that patrol or that mobile command center is just a simple path and an easy step to the next level where you’re using LTE connectivity to allow those devices to function. Why have a license plate reader that you can’t utilize, and you can’t connect with? Having LTE connectivity and a GPS modem built into that device that’s giving your dispatch the exact location where that officer is out on a remote road and and can call for help if needed can make a large impact on efficiencies and safety. It’s pretty easy when you can set the cost aside and first start thinking about the risk liability and the functionality of keeping your staff safe.
Estee Woods: Part of it as well, if I could add one thing, is you don’t have to try to boil the ocean all at once. We have a lot of agencies that are slowly wheeling out technologies as they can afford and that works as well. For emergency command centers, get a pop-up solution or one of our ruggedized mobile solutions so you can have it on hand when an incident does happen. Then you have that critical communication that you can create on your own. It could be a mobile command network that the agencies could come together and use for interoperability. Or put LTE in a few mission-critical vehicles and utilize those. There’s a lot of things you can do on the roadmap where it seems daunting, but if you map it out and you try to utilize some of the grants, that might help get buy-in in your agency. And what we’re finding is ast people implement this technology into their agencies, they don’t know how they executed before. Kind of like before the smartphone, a few would think that they had a computer in their pocket and that’s where technology is today.
Audience Question: What is the timeline to support CBRS (Citizen’s Broadband Radio Services) in your development path?
Aaron Maben: CBRS has not been released yet for public use, however, it is part of our development path. If you go to our Pathway to 5G landing page on our Cradlepoint website, you’ll see that private LTE is part of that Pathway to 5G along with Gigabit-Class LTE and it is something that Cradlepoint is going to be a leader in. We’ve already conducted several trials with CBRS and P-LTE so that is something that will be coming when it is released.
Audience Question: How often are grants awarded for deploying this kind of technology and what is the average grant award amount?
Michael Fletcher: Grants don’t happen overnight. If you are not experienced with that, there’s a process which the money becomes released and a grant is able to be applied for against that bucket of money. Then, it’s reviewed and when the grant application that you’ve submitted gets awarded, I would say at times grant money could come to you in 3 to 6 months, it could take a year. I know some agencies across the nation have thought they would just wait until next year before they would apply and try to secure money for a project to deploy technology in their vehicles. I don’t encourage that. I would encourage you to go ahead and apply and submit your grant application in efforts to get it awarded. Then once you get it, you have basically 12 months to get that technology deployed and then they’ll do an audit after the fact to make sure that you actually spend the money on what you said that you would. You could get as little as $500 probably as little as 90 days if that helps answer the question. There are lots and lots, billions of dollars of grant money available and some of the experts there at Fire Rescue1 and Police1, they’re going to know the systems, they’re going to know exactly the keywords to use in your grant applications and based on your needs and where you are in the country, they’re going to be able to actually do that research and find the buckets of money that you qualify for.
Estee Woods: In April for instance, the Federal Government announced a whole new slew of grants specifically for law enforcement and public safety agencies for emergency preparedness. If you are not aware of that, that’s something you can look into and definitely reach out and to utilize their grants business program.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of IOT Applications and Instant Networks for Law Enforcement.