Why Secure Network Access is the Key to 5G

While technology continues to evolve, wireless networks are vital due to trends like IoT, smartphones, tablets and laptops. Now, just as 4G is becoming irrelevant for users and businesses, 5G is introduced. 
Since its emergence, 5G has taken the world by storm.

The global phenomenon of quicker networks has everyone buzzing, especially tech companies. 5G offers companies faster and more reliable internet, with lower latency issues for their employees — no matter where they are or what device they use. 

As 5G is rolling out in the United States and companies are already reaping its benefits, enterprise networking is still in the early stages of the 5G revolution. The transformation of mobile networks comes with risks that cannot be ignored.

Instead of solely focusing on the numerous benefits 5G offers, such as a redesign of mobile networks which enables efficiency, cost-effectiveness and greater agility, we need to also be aware of the new security challenges that come with developing and implementing this new infrastructure.

5G Security: An Ongoing Issue

With new network technologies such as 5G, security needs to be more involved during the early stages of development. This wireless network evolution will see many different shifts occur as 5G moves from early-stage to the norm for mobile networks. 

Mobile networks with security risks is not a new concept, yet the number of attacks from different endpoints is increasing as networks are transforming. Companies that are early adopters of 5G networks could possibly experience security threats due to their implementation of an early-stage version of 5G. 

Among the security challenges that 5G presents are visibility issues, increased exposure to attacks due to new entry points for bad actors, and increased risks from major dependencies on suppliers.

Network experts might recommend organizations not to implement technology that was designed for 5G networks as it comes with different security challenges.

While this is taking a more cautious route, organizations need to rethink their entire security strategy when it comes to 5G networks. IT and security teams need to implement the right amount of security policies in place to secure their network for 5G.

Without doubt risks and issues will happen with new technology but having a security strategy implemented will veer away from simpler security challenges that can occur with 5G. 

5G Security Challenges Aren’t a Quick Fix

When organizations are designing their network security strategy, IT and security teams are continuously taking the same approach, how quickly can we patch vulnerabilities while updating the network at the same time? Instead, organizations need to look at the entire security strategy, not just a quick fix. 

One security risk often overlooked is testing new networks during the implementation period. IT teams will regularly run a group of network tests that check for common vulnerabilities and risks in the network. Once the tests are completed, the networks can be implemented.

Adopting the ‘set it and forget it’ approach when it comes to testing creates another challenge of its own. Without continuously testing your network for vulnerabilities and security risks you are putting your network at risk. 

IT experts might suggest that when first implementing new networks, your infrastructure needs to properly communicate and pass data from network to network. Additionally, you need to properly integrate the network security from your 4G networks to your new 5G networks.

If this is not done correctly, your organization could experience major network security risks that could harm the security of your infrastructure and networks.  

Some organizations will try to fix 5G security challenges with the latest security solutions, even if they are not designed for 5G infrastructures and networks. These solutions could be a quick band-aid for your 5G networks but once your networks are implemented, the security challenges will become more obvious.

With the wrong solution in place, it can create more endpoints and entry points for hackers to infiltrate. Instead of adopting different solutions for your network, organizations should implement a 5G friendly secure network access solutions to dissolve the potential security challenges. 

5G allows Smoother Secure Network Access 

As more and more organizations start to adopt 5G networks, they will experience the different benefits they offer such as quicker communication and low-cost deployment. These network benefits will enable their employees to connect and send more data to their network.

However by more devices quickly connecting and transferring large amounts of data it can put a massive strain on IT and security teams when ensuring that their organization is connecting securely to the networks. 

To ensure that the entire organization is connecting securely to the new networks, IT and security teams should look to adopt models that are designed to make sure that the proper employees gain access to the network. One such model is Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). 

The Zero Trust Network Access model has gained popularity with organizations of all sizes since the rise of cloud adoption. While Zero Trust Network Access is not a new approach, it has become one of the more popular models to implement when fighting security risks that 5G present.

By addressing your security concerns head-on with a Zero Trust model, your IT team will be able to fully monitor the network and user access activity. 

Adopting Zero Trust Network Access allows IT teams to specifically assign restricted access to users and their devices to their network, lowering the chances for hackers to infiltrate your network. Additionally, the Zero Trust model for network access will allow organizations to easily authenticate and establish the authorized access per user and devices throughout the network.

Moving Forward 

With the advancement of 5G, organizations will experience different security challenges in their network which will result in the importance of prioritizing full visibility and monitoring of its networks.

With the proper authentication and identification policies in place and adopting a Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) solution, your network security will be more equipped for any 5G network challenge that is presented.