Mobile

5G creates a new inflection point for security

October 4, 2021
Today’s columnist, Sally Bament of Juniper Networks, lays out a strategy for securing 5G networks. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
  • Set up a unified security policy management process. This will help ease the transition from previous network generations and allow for security policies to follow users, devices or applications as they move to new locations and are applied automatically. Further, it minimizes operational overhead otherwise required to recreate policies from one platform to another and decreases attack vectors inadvertently created by human error.
  • Embrace an end-to-end network security approach. It’s critical to have complete view of the security infrastructure from network connectivity to the end-user, especially as 5G networks create more opportunity for connected devices, causing even more sites and distributed services. Service providers will need to implement an end-to-end security approach that combines network, application and end-user security to deliver a secure and assured service experience.
  • Protect cloud-native workloads. As 5G Core Network (5GCN) and Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) embrace cloud-native, containerized architectures for distributed application deployment, it’s critical to extend security beyond protocol-specific awareness. Exfiltration of data, infiltration of malware, and the zero-day attacks during runtime of dynamic applications are all potential threats that can comprise O-RAN and 5GCN. Any service provider offering 5G services must ensure security countermeasures are in place to protect these new cloud workloads.
  • Implement a zero-trust security model. A zero-trust model can effectively mitigate risks at scale within 5G networks. Given the number of distributed services that 5G will bring, adopting a zero-trust model, with AI/machine learning, will continuously work to verify, validate and authenticate every time a device makes a new connection request. This strategy ensures that no matter the location of networks or devices, there is clear visibility into network access, reducing the volume and impact of cyberattacks.
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