How 5G Impacts Data Security In Your Business

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How 5G Impacts Data Security In Your Business

The reality is that as much as we can look forward to cheaper data costs, reduced latency, and more reliable and faster connectivity, not to forget the untold opportunities and next-generation technologies that will be enabled by 5G Connectivity, there is something that needs to be discussed. 

That is the issue of data security. 

In this post, we’re going to specifically review the issue of data security and how in spite of the haste with which most companies are rushing to implement 5G Connectivity services, companies must take into cognisance potential data security issues that these bring along.    

How Will 5G Tech Impact Your Business?

We’ve unpacked what 5G Connectivity is in this previous post, but to briefly recap, 5G stands for ‘fifth generation’ and it represents the latest advancement made in mobile cellular technology – far surpassing our current 4G network connection.

From a commercial perspective, this new wireless network technology has the power to completely change multiple business operations, including CRM, internal communications, payment solutions, and data analysis for a start. 

Simply, businesses will be able to operate more efficiently, deliver their solutions and services at a more competitive rate, and enable more streamlined and accurate big data analysis with which to make more informed, data-driven decision, among other business benefits.

Why The Need For Concern? 

There’s no doubt that 5G technology holds exciting prospects for multiple industries, giving businesses of all sizes and types access to benefits that can be reaped in the real world. After all, with faster speeds, reliability, and less lag, 5G will certainly lead to the adoption of a variety of new and innovative services and products – like extended reality, cloud gaming anywhere, remote medical check-ups, self-driving cars… and so much more. 

But there’s a catch (of course there is). With more data being generated as a result of these greater speeds and universal access, there’s also the growing threat against data security.

From what we can see, there are four major security issues that must be addressed in order to harness the full value of 5G.

1. 5G leads to more points of attack

5G networks require many more access points in order to carry data much faster, over a shorter range than 4G. This new architecture widens the attack surface, providing multiple unregulated entry points to the network that cybercriminals can access and exploit. It also makes current cybersecurity practices obsolete. You simply can’t get away with adding a firewall to these access points.

The solution? To rehaul your network security and invest early into a sustainable cybersecurity strategy – perhaps one that gives you the flexibility to pay per gigabyte of data processed rather than per access node.

2. IoT security standards (or lack thereof)

We would estimate that by 2023 or 2024 there could very well be around 3.5 billion cellular IoT connections in the world. If your business is now or soon will be using IoT devices or technology, this is amazing news. It’s also good news for cybercriminals with the skills to intercept and change sensitive communication sent and received over 5G. Not that they need to possess much by way of skills, given that many IoT devices are being manufactured with minimal or non-existent cybersecurity measures. 

Even now, hackers are using IoT devices as entry points to enterprise networks, and if we’re soon going to be surrounded by billions of IoT devices, all automatically connecting to the Internet, they need to be secured. 

In reality, what’s needed is a regulatory body to oversee IoT devices. Sadly, this isn’t in place just yet, however even if it was, it would be difficult to police. Perhaps the best place for businesses to start is by investing in customer education on how to choose and use IoT devices safely. 

3. Network partitioning doesn’t work

Over the past few years, 4G systems have limited cyber attacks by using network partition methods, whereby networks are subdivided by hardware. In this way, if one node of the network is attacked, it can be cordoned off so that the rest of the network can operate while still limiting the attack. But that’s 4G.

5G is a different story altogether, using, instead, short-range, low-cost and small-cell physical antennas within the geographic area of coverage. Problematically, each antenna can become a single point of control and is therefore vulnerable to attacks from the likes of botnet and denial of service (DDoS), which have the power to bring down whole portions of the network – all by attacking a single node.

4. Spectrum sharing increases your risk

Not to get too technical, but in order to offer all the benefits that it’s capable of, 5G uses dynamic spectrum sharing. This is a telecommunication system that breaks data packets into ‘slices”and each slice is sent over the same bandwidth from different, parallel communications. This means that each slice is vulnerable.

The solution in this case comes down to the architecture of your 5G network. It requires a dynamic and fast-learning management system, with software-based and intelligent computing solutions for effective countermeasures. The cherry on top would be AI-powered cyber solutions that continue learning and updating themselves, therefore serving as the secret weapon in your 5G cybersecurity strategy.

We Can Help

There are a number of cybersecurity best practices that will help for adopting 5G networks that we can help you with if you are planning to switch to 5G and take advantage of all the benefits that this new connectivity technology can unlock for your business. 

Connect with us today and let us help you navigate this new, inspiring connectivity space.


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