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Networking / Security

Bullet-Proofing Your 5G Security Plan

As your organization embarks on a journey toward 5G, security cannot be an afterthought. Strong 5G security must start from the ground up.
Feb 24th, 2023 7:24am by
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With latency improvements and higher data speeds, 5G represents exponential growth opportunities with the potential to transform entire industries — from fueling connected autonomous vehicles, smart cities, mixed reality technologies, robotics and more.

As enterprises rethink connectivity, 5G will be a major investment area. However, according to Palo Alto Networks’ What’s Next in Cyber survey, while 88% of global executives say they understand the security challenges associated with 5G, only 21% of them have a plan to address such challenges.

As is true for any emerging technology, there will always be a level of uncertainty. However, with a few key considerations, executives across industries can foster confidence in their organization’s ability to handle 5G security challenges.

Outlining the Framework 

A comprehensive 5G security plan is built by first outlining the framework and identifying the key security principles that should inform every component of the plan. The goal, of course, is to navigate risks and secure your organization’s 5G network while also advancing digital transformation. Your framework should ultimately center around visibility, control, enforcement, dynamic threat correlation and life cycle.

Implementing visibility is key to having a complete understanding of the enterprise 5G network. Data logs, for instance, can capture data from multiple systems to better secure an entire environment. In terms of control, it’s beneficial to use cloud-delivered advanced threat protection to command and control traffic, as well as detect malware.

Adopting a zero trust model can ensure strong enforcement and consistent security visibility across the entire network, while dynamic threat correlation can help isolate infected devices. Last, by shedding light on usage patterns and potential security gaps, you can stay one step ahead of an evolving threat landscape.

Embracing AI and Automation 

With the expanded surface area of a 5G network spanning multiaccess edge computing (MEC), network slices and instantaneous service orchestration, there is much more room for potential threats. Coupled with the proliferation of user-owned devices and IoT, this highly distributed environment creates grounds for threats to evolve faster and do more damage.

Given this, automation plays an important role in building a secure 5G network. With advanced automation, organizations can alleviate the stress put on their cybersecurity teams to scan a multitude of areas for potential threats. As new services are configured and added to the 5G network, automation also helps to quickly scan and serves as a repeatable approach to deploying security.

Additionally, as threat actors leverage AI to automate attacks, similar technology is needed at the organizational level to best defend. With the complexity of 5G deployments, an AI-powered approach can intelligently stop attacks and threats while also providing granular application identification policies to protect against advanced threats regardless of their origin.

Adopting Zero Trust 

Zero trust for 5G means removing implicit trust and continuously monitoring and approving each stage of digital interaction. This means that regardless of what the situation is, who the user is or what application they are trying to gain access to, each interaction has to be validated. On a network security level, zero trust specifically protects sensitive data and critical applications.

More specifically, zero trust leverages network segmentation, provides Layer 7 threat prevention, prevents lateral movement and simplifies granular user-access control. Whereas a traditional security model operates under the assumption that everything within the organization’s purview can be trusted, this model understands that trust is a vulnerability. Ultimately, zero trust provides an opportunity for your organization to rethink security and keep up with digital transformation.

5G represents a paradigm shift and has the potential to expand connectivity. As your organization embarks on its own journey toward a 5G future, security cannot be an afterthought. Building a strong 5G security plan must start from the ground up as new, sophisticated cyberattacks are always looming. However, by building an informed framework, leveraging AI and automation, and implementing a zero trust framework, your organization will enjoy the innovation, reliability and performance that 5G has to offer.

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TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in: Pragma.
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