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Site Reliability Engineering helps secure the city that never sleeps

Recognizing that critical security systems must be available and protecting the city around the clock, New York City Cyber Command adapted Google’s Site Reliability Engineering model to support its cloud operations.

New York City is home to more than 8.5 million people. To support them, the city employs more than 330,000 civil servants. They are responsible for more than one million systems that deliver critical services, from education and health to social services and public safety.

Cyberattacks are a major concern. That’s why the New York City Cyber Command (NYC3) was created in 2017—to defend city infrastructure from cybercriminals and other threats from a centralized place.

To succeed at that mission, NYC3 has built a security log aggregation platform on Google Cloud. This platform includes a data pipeline that provides Cyber Command personnel with risk alerts, visualization, and analytics—along with the flexibility to scale up and down as needed to address sophisticated threats.

“Our users—security professionals in city agencies—depend utterly on our data and systems,” says Michael Makovoz, Chief Technology Officer for NYC3. According to Makovoz, the city requires 24/7 uninterruptible service, immediate recovery, a high degree of scalability, an enormous level of resiliency, full tolerance, and the ability to handle huge jumps in traffic to fulfill its mission. “It’s a tall order,” he says.

So tall an order, in fact, that NYC3 knew it needed more than a traditional support model to keep its cloud-based security systems operational. The protectors of the city needed protection against downtime themselves. So they turned to Google’s Site Reliability Engineering (SRE).

Today, NYC3 is being celebrated as the first known Google Cloud public sector customer to create their own formal SRE team.

“We’ve found the Google SRE framework is ideal for keeping NYC3 security operations functional,” says Makovoz.

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Google is a trusted technology partner who understands how to help agencies transition from legacy architectures and utilize their data to fuel true mission success. Google Cloud Platform provides cloud-native infrastructure with layered security, machine learning and analytics at web-scale to rapidly innovate and advance agency goals.