De Haagse Cyber Security Agenda

What is a 'digitally secure' city? And what kind of measures fit it? Daan Rijnders takes you through these and many other issues surrounding digital security in our city. He has been with the Hague municipality for almost nine years and started in early 2021 as quartermaster for Digitally Secure The Hague. He developed a new strategy called the 'Strategy for a Cyber Secure The Hague'. This strategy should take digital security in The Hague to the next level.

The Hague's digital security

Daan deals with the digital security of our city. His days often consist of all kinds of conversations with different organizations and colleagues within the municipality. There are many different departments in the municipality, all dealing with the city's digital security in one way or another. "I have one leg in the city and the other in City Hall," says Daan.

Through the talks, he brings positive change and innovations within digital security in The Hague. When opportunities arise, he prepares and presents proposals to colleagues, directors, aldermen, the mayor, and the city council.

Digital Secure The Hague agenda

Over the past year, Daan was involved in developing the Digitally Safe The Hague Agenda. "For a digitally safe city, the basics have to be in order," he explains. That starts with the digital security of the municipal organization itself, for which the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is responsible. However, the municipality lacked a comprehensive strategy to also address the city's digital security, outside the city hall. He, therefore, developed a new strategy. It was adopted by the municipal executive and presented to the city council earlier this year. This a very important moment for the city's digital security.

The Agenda elaborates on several issues. What is a digitally safe city? What measures could you take to make that city more digitally secure? It is a large document of about 70 pages. Recently, the coalition agreed to implement the agenda in their new coalition agreement. So municipality of The Hague is now fully engaged in elaborating on it.

Cyber security to keep vital processes running

The Hague municipality has a lot of data and systems that are very important for the services they provide to the residents of The Hague. Local vital processes need to keep running smoothly in the city.

Think of traditional infrastructures, such as electricity, water, and bridges. When trams within The Hague cannot run, it has a big impact at the city level. If the locks are hacked, for example, that is an even bigger problem. In some cases, such a physical security incident can lead to a large-scale crisis.

But think also of healthcare, education, and local food distribution. These also need to be digitally secure. With the pandemic, the municipality of The Hague has seen that these are extra essential for life in the city. Especially since the pandemic has greatly accelerated the transformation to overall digitalization. This in turn also brings with it major risks. It is important for resilience that a city understands its unique risk profile.

Hague municipality is committed to digital security

The Hague is the international city of peace and justice. As a result, security is in the city's DNA. So many activities are already taking place to increase the digital security of certain groups or organizations such as SMEs.

The municipality of The Hague also does its bit. For instance, the municipality organizes 'Hack The Hague' every year. This is an event where the municipality invites hackers to test systems and find new vulnerabilities live from the atrium of the city hall. From this, new improvements result. This is how the municipality of The Hague tries to maintain a forerunner's role in the digital security domain. In the last edition, more than two hundred hackers from all kinds of countries found more than 125 vulnerabilities, some of them critical.

So how do you best secure your electronics?

Take steps yourself to ensure your digital security as much as possible. To read nine of our tips, click through to this article in which we interviewed Lilian van Knippenberg, a colleague of Daan's.

Published on Monday 19 December, 2022 / Security