Will 5G Migration Increase Cybersecurity Risks With Rewards?
Industry decision-makers feel compelled to embrace 5G or be left behind. But it’s crucial to take a cybersecurity inventory and consider your rollout options.
Accelerating communications and connectivity through the fast-trending 5G network offers businesses considerable promise. Industries such as manufacturing, logistics, energy, finance, and the service sector, among many others, are ready to embrace the potential operational efficiencies 5G can deliver. While industry leaders may be champing at the bit to implement 5G strategies to gain competitive and profit-driving advantages, it might be wise to tap the breaks. Before getting into the 5G race, it may be prudent to make certain your business has the cybersecurity necessary to go the distance.
5G Rollouts May Increase Risks
In November 2019, the AT&T Cybersecurity Insights Report: Security at the Speed of 5G report highlighted the widespread concerns that business leaders held with regard to the 5G network. Noting that the shift was superior to just the “faster 4G” many believe, migrating delivers new benefits such as improved quality bandwidth, among others. But speed and change may also open the door to the top 5 risks outlined by cybersecurity specialists across four continents outlined.
- Larger attack surface due to the massive increase in connectivity
- More significant number of devices accessing the network
- IoT extension of security policy to new types of devices
- Authentication of a more substantial amount and a wider variety of devices
- Insufficiency of perimeter defenses
Upwards of 72.5 percent of cybersecurity specialists rated the risks as medium to high, while only 22 percent believed existing policies and protocols were sufficient to transition to 5G. These worries are well-founded when industry professionals factor in the fact that cybercriminals are expected to leverage 5G gaps to penetrate networks struggling to shore up defenses.
Ask the Right Questions About 5G Cybersecurity
The report notes that “enterprises will need to take advantage of virtualization to make the network nimbler and more responsive.” But that same benefit could prove to be a double-edged sword because it creates unique cybersecurity challenges.
“Security virtualization could be the most crucial advancement related to 5G security, for both the provider and their enterprise customers,” the 5G report states. “Enterprise IT is becoming more distributed, and through virtualization networking is following suit. Security needs to follow that trend.” This begs the question: What steps do decision-makers need to take to mitigate risk?
- Automated Controls: Companies will be tasked with overseeing a more vast surface that automated cybersecurity can help defend in real time.
- Improved Threat Detection: Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) can be driving forces in early threat assessment and breach responses.
- Limited Access: Cybersecurity specialists advocate for “zero-trust” access identity management (AIM) policies that place systematic restraints on Cloud account permissions and privileges.
Although 5G enjoys some built-in features, its shared nature has some organizations creating joint cybersecurity efforts. While that may seem like a cost-effective pathway, others are looking to utilizing private mobile networks.
Are You Better Served with a Private Mobile Network?
In terms of cybersecurity preparedness, private mobile networks may rank among the most determined next-generation defenses. Investment into private mobile networks crafted on LTE and 5G technologies is expected to exceed $4.7 billion by year’s end and advance toward the $8-billion mark by 2023.
Multi-national corporations such as Komatsu and Agnico Eagle have already rolled out private mobile networks to remain at the head of their respective industries. These outfits reportedly accounted for the cybersecurity implications of such as bold move and are reaping top-tier benefits. Private mobile networks may deliver the cybersecurity enhancements once the following policies are in place
- Augmented visibility across network traffic and access
- Determined infrastructure breach protections
- Secure endpoint authentication and connectivity protocols
- Education and training of employees and key stakeholders
The 5G network appears to be the next step in the rapidly advancing technology revolution. But with each step that industry leaders take, cybersecurity measures must be rethought to ensure your sensitive and valuable data remains secure. Make no mistake about it, hackers have already mapped out the 5G gaps and are waiting for businesses to speed ahead of cybersecurity defenses.