With 5G Adoption, Come New Cybersecurity Risks to Mitigate
Newer, faster bandwidth enables innovation and expands cyberattack surface
Most professionals say their organizations are concerned about cybersecurity risks related to 5G adoption (76.4% of professionals at organizations currently use 5G and 80.7% of professionals at organizations plan to adopt 5G in the year ahead), according to a new Deloitte poll.
“U.S. 5G bandwidth availability has expanded and accelerated considerably in recent months, offering competitive advantages technologically, financially and otherwise to early adopters,” said Wendy Frank, Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory Cyber 5G leader and principal, Deloitte & Touche LLP. “Of course, with all the technological advancement 5G enables, the cyber threat landscape and attack surface areas expand considerably. Working proactively to mitigate cybersecurity risks posed by 5G adoption is the hallmark of a well-designed program.”
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The biggest cybersecurity concerns for 5G adoption differed by group. For professionals at organizations currently using 5G, talent posed the biggest cyber challenge to 5G adoption (30.1%), as appropriately skilled security professionals will be needed for implementation, maintenance and operations. For respondents from organizations planning to adopt 5G in the year ahead, top cyber challenges were data (26.8%) – due to an increase in the volume and diversity of data created from 5G-enabled segments (e.g., IoT, ERP and sensitive data) as well as data mismanagement risks – and third parties (24.3%).
“For organizations leveraging 5G, cyber risk will mount quickly if challenges — like a lack sophisticated encryption, decentralized operations or security monitoring functioning to the detriment of performance speeds – are not resolved,” Frank said. “Securing the vastly expanded threat landscape resulting from 5G adoption will demand two equally important efforts: getting the right talent in place or upskilled; and, leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate areas like security policy configuration, compliance monitoring and threat and vulnerability detection.”
Pandemic impacts 5G adoption speeds
COVID-19 disruption had mixed impacts on respondents’ organizational plans to adopt 5G. For those at organizations currently using 5G, 32.2% increased adoption speed. Inversely, adoption speed decreased as a result of pandemic-driven disruption for 21.8% of those at organizations planning to adopt 5G in the year ahead.
Frank concluded, “The faster movement of data, the creation of new types of data and the ability to develop countless new IoT devices through 5G networks will disrupt most industries. But, just as with pandemic disruption, leading programs are working to keep security at the fore of 5G adoption.”
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[This article was first published on 7 December 2020]