Think 5G security right now

programmers examine screen

This article was originally published to the Nokia blog by Gerald Reddig on February 19, 2019.

My last article covered the four elements of 5G security needed to build digital trust. Now, I want to explore why security strategies must be implemented at the outset of 5G planning and before deployment, not just as an afterthought.

The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) has moved front and center into the top management structure of communications service providers (CSPs). For good reason. Their work is vital for the business success of every CSP, not merely a background function to be ticked off as completed.

CISO teams keep their company’s data safe, useful and accessible. They also protect customer data from any threat, at any time. These are heavy responsibilities in an age when security breaches hit the headlines and the resulting financial and reputational repercussions can be huge. CISOs – you have my total respect!

In meeting their responsibilities, CISOs must take into account their organization’s 5G business strategy. They must manage the transformation of risk management and cybersecurity. And they must implement security cost-effectively to ensure a healthy network, high service performance and, ultimately, complete customer satisfaction.

Stay on top of costs with adaptive security

software team looking at screen

How can CISO teams meet such multi-faceted and complex demands?

First, security solutions need to be flexible, adaptive and integrated. This avoids piecemeal security with point solutions bolted together. Not only is such a fragmented environment difficult to manage, causing operational costs to rocket, but it cannot provide fully effective protection. An all-encompassing, integrated view of security is needed.

Second, technology innovations such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), analytics and automation are better able to defend against the advanced and growing threat landscape. AI can scan all incoming and outgoing network traffic – impossible for us mere humans to do.

Cognitive analytics aggregates and correlates security data from many sources, enriching it with a telco context. This helps the CISO and security operations teams to understand fully the business risks they face, improve their decision making and better control costs.

These technologies compare network traffic packets with historical patterns and spot anomalies in an instant. IT security experts are alerted immediately so they can decide the best course of action. The speed of defense is vital.

Adaptive cybersecurity proactively prevents data loss, reduces network outages and minimizes performance degradations to preserve revenue, improve the customer experience.

Security: a business enabler, not a business drag

While some CSPs will allocate cybersecurity responsibilities to their own CISOs, others will outsource security to Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP). Either way, flexible and adaptive cybersecurity is simply not optional. It proactively prevents data loss, reduces network outages and minimizes performance degradations to preserve revenue, improve the customer experience, cut costs and exceed compliance responsibilities.

5G security needs to be in place whenever service launches are being planned, or new partners and customers are connected. If it isn’t, the huge new revenue opportunities of 5G will be at risk. Business success relies on 5G services being secure by design.

Which is why 5G security must never be an afterthought.

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