Cybersecurity teams should advise IT executives on how they can best meet the increasingly complex digitization landscape requirements. With the increasing number of IoT devices, increased mobility, cloud implementations and an ever-widening network edge, security and networking must be combined to remain armed against the threat landscape. For a long time, companies have been warned about the dangers of a small-scale security approach because it can result in security gaps. They were also warned of the challenges of not having a comprehensive, coherent strategy for digital transformation with an integrated security solution. And it all happened before the pandemic broke out.
With the advent of Covid-19, workplaces worldwide were converted to a remote structure after only a short lead time. As a result, networks in dire straits were expanded in size and scope to maintain business continuity. The need for very rapid expansion made many companies neglect security. However, this rapid network expansion was not so much a journey into uncharted territory as an acceleration of trends that were already emerging. With the arrival of 5G, additional security challenges arise. Many are not aware of how unprepared they are for the further developments that await them.
The 5G known to many companies has a low bandwidth and is usually less than six gigahertz. This is in stark contrast to what is emerging in practice. New smartphones can already use 5G bandwidth with performance levels of more than 24 gigahertz. This will fundamentally change the network performance requirements at the edge for both devices and applications. In addition, appropriate security infrastructures are required to control and manage the new level of performance. It is already assumed that the new 5G will power everything from manufacturing to energy networks to autonomous vehicles and consumer goods. Organizations that do not prepare for this transition will face latency issues and severely degraded user experiences and will ultimately lose touch. Approach 5G security now.
The demands on networks, especially at the network edge, will increase significantly. The increased complexity leads to growing security requirements at the same time. But only adding security to the network at a later date can lead to bottlenecks. The key is to find a way to increase network capacity securely without compromising user-friendliness.
To master the challenges arising from 5G, two approaches are under discussion. The first approach is to implement security at the 5G network operator layer. The second focuses on edge security, as 5G is used at the edge of the network either as a backup connection or, increasingly, as the primary connection.
Regardless of the approach, the edge area will require artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted and ASIC-accelerated performance. In principle, the cloud edge will require a new level of highly optimized security, even if 5G is not classified as a priority. Complex hybrid networks now span various clouds and data centres and require more virtual devices and firewalls to handle this load. While 5G will speed up transactions and applications, it also opens up faster cyber attacks. Proper management requires an exceptionally high degree of uniformity in the security guidelines and the deployment strategy.
The Time To Prepare For 5G Is Ripe
For network operators, 5G currently equates to a sales potential of around five billion US dollars. That number will grow to a whopping $ 357 billion by 2025, showing a significant change in 5G usage. For this reason, ensuring the performance and security requirements of 5G is crucial for any sustainable company. Many companies are currently unable to meet these requirements. In addition, due to previous strategies focusing on best-of-breed devices, many companies have an outdated security setup that consists of a highly complex patchwork of infrastructures that are increasingly difficult to manage.
Implementations carried out at short notice in the wake of the pandemic did not help to improve the situation. Adding 5G to such architectures is likely to exacerbate the existing problem and create several challenges and vulnerabilities. Workarounds are, therefore, no longer the answer. Now is the time for businesses to implement coherent and comprehensive security strategies for 5G networks. They have to act quickly because the requirements of a world with 5G will steadily grow – and 6G is less than a decade away.