April 23, 2019

Securing Sensitive Data in a 5G World of Faster Networks, More Data and More Complexity

Shared responsibility models and endpoint security can better ensure the integrity and protection of internal business and external customer data.

The pace of change within communications networks is accelerating, particularly now that operators around the world are beginning to offer 5G services. Vendors are getting ready to roll out the latest handsets and unique services that will be possible with these 5G networks. Once services become ubiquitous, service adoption rates will accelerate. The security solutions required to operate in this new environment must be prepared well in advance.

Operators must rely heavily on vendors and suppliers to provide the highest levels of assurance and risk mitigation across next-generation environments.

Operators will soon be able to deliver cutting-edge services that support futuristic endeavors such as virtual and augmented reality, smart cars, robotics, smart cities and drones and other things previously seen only in the science fiction realm. Once services and technologies like IoT, IPv6, and M2M permeate the communications landscape, operators will need to understand and overcome a whole new set of security challenges.

Secure the Endpoints, Secure the Data

As the number of 5G-enabled devices explodes, next-level security must be enabled across the entire service delivery stack.

Customer Data

The data flowing into and out of devices needs to be secure to protect subscriber privacy and the integrity of the information. The challenge with IoT, for example, may arise when information is constantly and rapidly moving from one endpoint to another. This data needs to be kept safe from prying eyes and those who would undermine its integrity.

Transaction Data

With the onset of 5G, activity in the network core will increase, bringing about new requirements for securing those resources, including commerce transactions.

Network Data

Preventing breaches to the network at the core, where most services reside, needs to be at the top of the list of concerns for operators.

Network slicing and the ability to turn up a 5G instance quickly for a specific period of time in a specific place will make security that much more of a challenge for operators—the ones tasked with securing various data types. Customers will inevitably blame their operators for service problems and operators will need real-time issue resolution capabilities that require significant levels of knowledge and proficiency around security.

Top Requirements for a Secure Network

Network and IT security within advanced communications networks is challenging, disruptive and burdensome. Operators must rely heavily on vendors and suppliers to provide the highest levels of assurance and risk mitigation across next-generation environments. A shared model of responsibility can unite customers and operators in pursuit of effective 5G cybersecurity.

A shared security model can include:

  • A dedicated security organization to support continuous monitoring of operator networks and data.
  • Support for established security protocols and standards.
  • A strong focus on personal data security and privacy, including identifying and protecting sensitive information.
  • Auditing and assurance mechanisms to provide customers the best possible security infrastructure for products, solutions and services.

Having these policies and framework in place is critical for vendors working with operators as they roll out next-generation networks. However, companies also need solid experience and knowledge to back it up.

Build an Enhanced Security Plan…Now

Operators must ensure subscriber and other data is secure within the confines of their network as well as when data traverses public or private clouds. This strategy should be focused on protecting sensitive data, as well as the software and services used to store and process that data and to apply it to their needs. It should incorporate the principles of the shared model of responsibility and align with industry security frameworks and standards in order to bring the highest levels of assurance to customers. This includes providing industry-leading services and solutions designed to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data and systems.

Security should never be an afterthought. Teaming up with a solution provider like Netcracker that is serious about security and has been delivering strong solutions to customers is critical in the world of 5G and beyond.

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