Closed loop automation combats IoT security threats in the 5G age

The 5G race is on as carriers prepare for the onset of the next wireless generation in their own ways. While some have pseudo-definitions of 5G, others like Verizon and AT&T, are leading the 5G wars in a marketing-defined battle. Regardless of current status, the reality is that 5G will reach millions with nationwide and global launches giving rise to explosive connectivity growth.

A recent report from Cisco reminds us of the tremendous proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT) connections and mobile-ready devices that we’ll see in response to 5G’s faster broadband (10 to 20 times faster than 4G). The report estimated 12 billion mobile-ready devices and IoT connections by 2022, compared to 9 billion in 2017. However, security is collateral damage in the wake of this growth because more IoT devices and better connectivity mean newer opportunities for security breaches.

With 5G potentially giving rise to additional threat vectors within carrier networks, Communication Service Providers (CSPs) are uniquely positioned to address IoT security issues, and according to Allot’s recent Telecom Trends Report, Closed Loop Automation (CLA) can help them solve this problem.

CLA to the rescue as IoT security needs beefing up with 5G

In 2016, the media reported on one of the largest DDoS attacks launched by an IoT botnet called Mirai on the service provider, Dyn, resulting in large portions of the Internet to become unreachable, including sites and services such as Twitter, Netflix, and CNN. Clearly, devastating IoT attacks such as these scream for vastly improved security approaches. 5G’s massive bandwidth and increasingly growing IoT deployments are expanding the crushing effects of such attacks.

Enter closed loop automation (CLA), which employs machine learning and artificial intelligence to offer a continuous assessment of real-time network conditions, resource availability, and traffic demands to identify network congestions, IoT-based malicious traffic as well as implement solutions to combat these devastating situations in real-time. CLA helps detect and isolate new anomalies and mitigate threats before they’re able to impact a network. This technology concurrently helps grow performance and assures capacity analysis, quality monitoring, and error detection.

As a result, CSPs applying CLA-driven protection are best positioned to cost-effectively ensure IoT security and network efficiency, both today and in the future.

Current barriers to CLA adoption

While CLA’s value is evident, and many CSPs see the advantages of adopting CLA as 5G becomes a reality, many aren’t using it to their full benefit just yet. Some common barriers to CLA adoption include skillset issues, concerns with cost, and low technology understanding. The aforementioned, Telco Trends Report from Allot, identified that 25% of CSPs don’t have the necessary skillsets in-house, 22% don’t understand the technology, 20% are concerned with costs and 17% struggle with senior management buy-in.

The good news is that for those CSPs that want to identify their brand with security, there is an unparalleled resource with CLA tools and guidance to combat IoT security threats.

CSPs look to independent service vendors (ISVs) for CLA tools

ISVs utilize AI and ML in the creation of learning software that automatically identifies new issues and solves them instantly based on learned patterns and applied models that adjust immediately to new data.

For example, ISVs can help CSPs tackle DDoS Detection/Mitigation and Congestion Management by identifying zero-day DDoS attacks by benchmarking normal traffic and by building a knowledge base of learned variants of normal behavior. Doing so helps uncover and mitigate new unknown attack patterns and traffic anomalies. Similarly, in cases of weaponized IoT, ML and AI can detect unknown device behavior and implement throttling or quarantines to limit the damage. Such innovative solutions from ISVs complement CLA’s ability to identify and resolve issues in real-time.

Although the transition to CLA comes with trepidations, CSPs and those looking to bolster IoT security in the 5G age must bring together in-house tools and third-party guidance and solutions to automate their processes. An inability to do so will leave them behind as laggards in today’s competitive market, not to mention waste their advantage of being best positioned to deliver security services to customers at a time when security is top of mind for everyone and everything.

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