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Spirent The Brighter Side of Security: 5G Innovation for Revenue Generation

Posted on10/11/2020

This inevitably leads to discussions about the latest strategies for managing risks. But what about the bright side of security? Where doom and gloom give way to innovation and revenue opportunities. At Spirent, this is a conversation we’re having more and more with our 5G customers.

Yes, 5G means broader attack surfaces, software at every turn and the potential for murkier supply chains. But the vulnerabilities have been identified early and 5G has been built, and continues to be enhanced, with these in mind. When the dust clears, 5G may ultimately be the most secure telecoms infrastructure we’ve ever had. That means there’s substantial business to be built on top of it.

5G Security Enhancements Mean More Opportunity

Compared to previous generation networks, 5G is leaps ahead in solving security challenges at this point in global deployments. As 4G matured, vulnerabilities were plugged as they were discovered. In 5G, they’ve been anticipated and addressed from the start. From a unified authentication framework and stronger air interface security, to enhanced user privacy protection, cryptographic algorithms, home control and roaming security, there is no shortage of measures in place to protect from threats.

As a result, operators benefit from much increased functionality and flexibility that can serve as the basis for new business offerings:

  1. Authentication is the same for 5G and Wi-Fi, enabling more seamless handoffs between networks.
  2. User privacy is better safeguarded, laying the foundation for greater trust.
  3. Data transfers are more secure, expanding what types of information can be sent safely over networks.
  4. Threats can be proactively assessed in operational networks to dynamically triage, transfer and quarantine risks.
  5. Isolated network slices can be used to enhance the security of private networks and Industrial IoT (IIoT) smart factories where traffic is localized.

In the near future, the dynamic nature of the 5G network will also be used to provide novel security solutions:

  1. Emulated honeypots inside the operational network to catch attacks with the help of AI-enabled immune systems to trigger network treatments.
  2. Specialized, private security slices with additional security and forensic services as add-ons to existing services.
  3. Network-based security as a service allowing operators to offer security functions as a managed and guaranteed service to enterprises.

Yes, better security in 5G is not just about mitigating risks, it’s about delivering real business value. Each of the security-driven capabilities above present an opportunity to offer a new service. To do something other networks potentially cannot. To enhance an existing service with breakthrough capabilities that change how the world communicates.

The View from the Intersection of Telecom and IT

Spirent has a unique vantage point from which to have this discussion given our decades of experience testing and assuring security at the intersection between IT and telco networks.

In our conversations with customers, we recognize a growing appetite among mission-critical enterprises and industries willing to increase spend for new, security-powered services. In a global economy with endless competition, 5G services with enhanced security offer a clear differentiator across Wi-Fi, unlicensed and cloud alternatives.

As 5G evolves to become one of the key enablers for work-from-home, enterprises will be willing to invest in enhanced security to allow a broader set of office or factory-based applications to be accessed remotely. In fact, as COVID-19 forced lockdowns this past spring, we worked with a large North American operator toward exactly that goal. Expect much more of this as 5G proliferates and continues to help evolve the security discussion from one of necessity to immense opportunity.

Spirent is the leading global provider of automated test and assurance solutions for networks, cybersecurity, and positioning.

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