5G is opening a world of opportunities for digital business, but many benefits will not be possible if security is not an integral part of the solution
Organizations, particularly those operating in today’s rapidly expanding and highly competitive digital marketplace, would benefit greatly from the arrival of 5G. However, businesses, on the other hand, are introducing new risks as they deploy 5G networks and services to enable digital innovation across new network edges. Part of the 5G dilemma is that there are few security solutions built to keep up with 5G-enhanced networks on the market.
Some environments, like new edge compute environments, ultra-high-performance data centers, and even remote employees using 5G-enabled devices, have already been shown to be inadequately secured. These enterprises will be unprepared to protect themselves against the next generation of malware, which will take advantage of the speed and scale of 5G while exploiting the current security solutions, which are fragmented and poorly deployed.
5G Security Challenges
Enterprises need to make sure that security concerns don’t overshadow the reasons for embracing 5G in the first place. Security solutions that aren’t suited for 5G environments might slow down applications, cause latency issues and negatively impact the user experience of customers and employees. Fortunately, 5G has a variety of built-in security features that can help. However, businesses must be wary of becoming overly dependent on them.
No enterprise moving sensitive data, workflows or apps through its network, or relying on business apps to connect to key resources, should ever regard 5G as their only line of protection against cyber threats or the deliberate misuse of infrastructure and services. It’s vital to provide an extra layer of security visibility and control built for the demands of a 5G networks.
However, this is about far more than simply purchasing a fast firewall. In addition to IoT devices and endpoints, 5G will be implemented everywhere across the distributed network, including LANs, WANs, cloud platforms, data centers, and cloud-based services. It will not only pervade IT, but will also play a crucial part in OT. Each of these environments has its own security concerns, and far too often, their standalone security solutions have already fragmented visibility and scattered control.
Also, the addition of hyper-performance to the security mix in 5G complicates the situation further. Unfortunately, many businesses have already begun to put performance, user and system interconnectivity, and rapid digital transformation ahead of centralized visibility and unified control.
Security-driven networking is the first step in addressing this challenge. The goal is to establish a security approach that is not only extremely flexible and adaptive, but also widely deployable. Security systems will be able to expand and adjust to digital innovation activities at 5G speeds, with the integration of security into the network’s core. This allows for an end-to-end solution that can provide critical security while ensuring low latency and high performance. However, to accomplish this, a platform strategy is needed that can give consistent protection to every user on any device in any location.
Virtual platform instances need to be able to scale up and out to meet performance expectations for 5G, and physical devices should also have increased processing power to ensure that security is never a bottleneck. Furthermore, a platform must be open, which means it depends on things like open APIs, a common operating system and industry standards to allow built-in and third-party solutions to function together rather than individually.
A unified platform strategy has several advantages, including single-pane-of-glass visibility, centralized threat intelligence collection and correlation, consistent policy dissemination and enforcement, and orchestrated response to detected threats. It also allows security to follow workflows, data, and transactions from start to end rather than handing off security when data shifts from one domain to the next, which is crucial in an environment where organizations rely on applications.
The most important benefit of a platform, however, is that it enables true automation. 5G-enabled threats will outrun the ability of systems engineers and data analysts to detect and respond. Inherently, automated systems are faster than humans. They can detect, assess, and respond to threats in the blink of an eye, shutting them down in the middle of an attack, even at 5G speeds, when enhanced with things like AI and machine learning.
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