The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is charged with ensuring that the Nation’s public safety and national security and emergency preparedness communities can seamlessly and securely communicate to keep America safe, secure, and resilient. Any interruption in communications can have a cascading effect, impacting the public safety agency’s ability to deliver critical lifesaving services to the community. Therefore, public safety agencies should carefully plan, implement, and review communications capabilities for resiliency to maintain daily communications abilities and prepare in advance for emergency events.
Resiliency is the result of three key elements: route diversity, which promotes communications routing between two points over more than one physical path with no common points; redundancy, which ensures additional or duplicate communications assets share the load or provide back-up to the primary asset; and protective/restorative measures, which decrease the likelihood that a threat will affect the network and enable rapid restoration if services are lost or congested. Public safety agencies should include each of these key elements in their communications resiliency plans.
In addition, assessments of public safety communications enable agencies to determine current capabilities, identify potential threats and vulnerabilities, and potential areas of improvement. These assessments ensure:
- Continuity of service in the event of an emergency
- Increased organizational control
- Prioritization of areas for network improvement
- Justification for network improvement funding requests
- Fulfillment of organizational diversity assessment requirements
To assist public safety agencies in navigating the wealth of information available regarding communications resiliency, CISA created the Public Safety Communications and Cyber Resiliency Toolkit to provide guidance and resources supporting the ability of communications networks to withstand damage and minimize the likelihood of a service outage. Through the use of an interactive graphic displaying components of the emergency communications ecosystem, Toolkit users can easily navigate through a number of topics and access applicable resources. The Toolkit is intended to identify and address emergent trends and issues, consolidate resources, educate stakeholders at all levels of government, and propose mitigations to enable resilient public safety communications.
For more information and additional guidance regarding communications resiliency, visit https://www.cisa.gov/safecom/technology.