Research from Accenture suggests while 5G is being viewed as a potential catalyst for revolutionary ideas, security still looks like a notable barrier to entry.

Now that 5G is live across the world, the industry just needs to figure out what to do with it. It has become increasingly obvious the consumer is not prepared to pay a premium on speed upgrade, while low-latency applications for consumers are niche at best, meaning telcos are searching for profit in the enterprise world. This comes with its own challenges, however.

“The link between 5G and its perceived security risks is complex,” said George Nazi, communications and media industry lead at Accenture. “According to our study, executives believe that 5G can help secure their businesses, but that 5G network architecture also presents inherent challenges in terms of user privacy, number of connected devices and networks, and service access and supply chain integrity.”

Although 79% of the survey’s respondents believe that 5G will have a significant impact on their organization, 35% stated revolutionary in fact, the same optimism is not carried over to the security aspects.

35% have expressed serious security concerns, up from 32% during the last survey in 2019, while 62% of the respondents believed 5G would make them more vulnerable to a cybersecurity incident. 74% expect to redefine policies and procedures related to security as 5G emerges as the biggest risk is perceived to be at the user level, either through individuals or devices.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges in realising the potential of the enterprise segment is the adaptability, appetite and risk-profile of these customers. In the past, working with enterprise organisations on connectivity challenges has been very rudimentary. According to this survey, only 24% of respondents believed that 4G’s impact was revolutionary, perhaps because nothing was really done with the technology.

For 5G, new business models, products and services will have to be created. This is a challenge for the telcos as it requires innovation, but it is also a significant challenge for the enterprise customers as it might require a restructure of the business and its processes to realise the benefits. Some traditional or sluggish companies might be resistant to the changes which are needed to benefit.

Implementing 5G in a manner which can bring about big enough gains to justify the upheaval require certain individuals to challenge themselves in a manner which might not be comfortable. In every business there will be people resistant to change.

“With the right business strategy and ecosystem collaboration, the signs point towards a world of compelling 5G use cases and business outputs,” said Nazi. “Communications service providers should act now to ensure they are at the heart of the 5G ecosystem to unlock the potential growth.”

One telco which is taking this mantra to heart is Verizon. This week, the telco announced a tie up with Emory Healthcare to create a 5G innovation lab focused on the healthcare industry, though this is the not the first. Earlier this month, a 5G lab was opened in London focusing on the media industry, while it also has a 5G First Responder Lab in Washington DC, and a site in Palo Alto focuses on emerging technology, education and big data.

Many telcos around the world are investing to create specific products for the individual industries, though few come close to the comprehensive approach being taken by Verizon. While it might be an expensive means to realising the potential of the enterprise segment, it might be the only realistic way.


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