The good: 5G opportunities

It is not an exaggeration to say that 5G will change everything. The first era of wireless changed our ability to connect to people with one app, bringing voice connectivity to everyone, everywhere. The second era introduced data connectivity ranging from SMS to video streaming, bringing forth a variety of apps that have changed the way we work, travel and play. However, bandwidth availability and usage was, and still is, somewhat muted by technical limitations and pricing models. History repeats itself, and now, we stand looking ahead to 5G, which ushers forth the third era of wireless connectivity with quantum leaps in peak data rate, mobile data volume, mobility, connected devices, energy efficiency, service deployment, reliability and latency.

Mobile carriers claim that 5G will deliver speeds 20 to 100 times faster than 4G LTE, with a 5-millisecond latency. If that promise holds, our current home broadband will feel like screeching dial-up modems. New generations of consumer applications will emerge in communications, healthcare, transportation, entertainment and gaming. Business and government agencies will also need to transform the way they’ve operated historically. New consumer expectations, as well as their own operations in areas of logistics and supply chain, IoT, telepresence, edge-computing and customer engagement will force organizations to revisit fundamentals of operations.

While it’s impossible to predict the killer application(s) that will emerge over time, it is safe to assume that a cloud-based infrastructure will play a central role. Cloud already offers a new way for organizations to run fast to stay ahead of traditional competition and new, disruptive market entrants. Cloud plus 5G plus IoT will allow organizations to innovate like never before.

 The bad: 5G’s perfect storm

Organizations are rushing to take advantage of what cloud infrastructure offers. The risk is that development and operations teams often rush past proper security practices in order to meet the business needs. It would be dangerous to assume our current security and monitoring infrastructure will handle cloud needs, much less 5G’s data variety, velocity and volume. The volume alone will make it much more difficult to spot anomalies in user behavior resulting from malicious cybercriminals. 

The 5G security concern that is most top of mind for me is how quickly both data — and the malicious cyber schemes attempting to gain access to this data — are growing. A perfect storm is brewing. We’re witnessing a vast increase in speed of communications, which makes real-time identification of malware more challenging, while organizations are also grappling with a growing number of threats & nation-state actors, leading to more attack vectors. Organizations are simply not ready for it.

The visibility: Steer through the mire

Network data provides the ground truth and is foundational to any security posture. You’ve likely heard the phrase, “If we can’t see it, we can’t protect it”. It is more appropriate than ever as clear visibility through our messy, murky IT infrastructure is the best way to ensure our organizations are staying secure, without hindering our ability to run fast.

Let’s take IoT devices as an example. While the 5G currencies will drive exponential adoption of IoTs in almost every industry, they are notoriously unfriendly towards firmware upgrades that keep up with security patches. In fact, most medical institutions require a full certification with each update. Wouldn’t it be effective to isolate and extract the traffic from a portable blood-oxygen monitor, and provide extra scrutiny to whom and how it’s communicating, whether over Wi-Fi or 5G?

With 5G growing pains, organizations need to understand the potential risks that will be ushered in with the innovation. In order to stay competitive, we will need to run fast and stay secure amidst the 5G revolution. 

Here’s how:

  1. Acknowledge the benefits and the risks involved with this new generation of cellular.
  2. Implement a security monitoring strategy which has visibility into everything — without breaking the bank.
  3. Extract intelligence out of the traffic. It’s important to know IoT A talked to IoT B, but it’s significant to identify that IoT B’s communications quadrupled in real time.
  4. Get the most of today’s tools before investing in a new defense stack. While most security tools are capacity dependent, and faster data rates can easily topple them over, there are tools that can throttle and load balance the traffic, adding extra life to an effective tool set that was built for a different environment. 
  5. The last advice is obvious, but worth repeating. Build forward looking teams. You are leading your industry with technology – why wouldn’t the A-players want to join in your journey? 

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg says 5G will bring about “the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” We agree, and as industry leaders we must ask ourselves, “what are we doing about 5G now to land the plane?”

The post Implications of ultra-fast mobile networks to your organization (Reader Forum) appeared first on RCR Wireless News.


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