How mobile operators view security in the 5G era

There’s a major gap in security capability among mobile operators, which in many cases is not yet being filled by industry partnerships, Trend Micro reveals.

5G era security

In the 5G era, and a rapidly changing digital landscape, operators could broaden their security credentials with partners as they look to deliver on their desire to secure private networks.

Mobile operators planning to invest in security

According to the study, 68% of operators sell private wireless networks to enterprise customers with the rest planning to do so by 2025. 45% of operators consider it extremely important to invest in security to achieve long-term enterprise revenue goals. To this end, 77% of operators are planning to offer security as part of their private network solutions.

“This study revealed a potential disconnect in how operators view security,” said Ed Cabrera, chief cybersecurity officer for Trend Micro. “It is obvious that operators understand the risks and have a very real desire to address cybersecurity concerns.

“However, some teams are trying to solve the problem without the expertise of security experts or specialist vendors. This is akin to hiring a plumber to fix your electricity; they might be able to identify problems or make recommendations but aren’t necessarily equipped to solve the problems. To their credit, operators also understand the need to bridge this gap as they look to address the security opportunity.”

Additional findings

  • 51% of operators see edge computing (Multi-Access Edge Computing, or MEC) is a key part of their near future enterprise strategy. Only 18% of operators currently secure their endpoints or edge.
  • 48% of operators cite a lack of adequate knowledge or tools to discover vulnerabilities as a top 5G security challenge.
  • 39% have a limited pool of security experts.
  • 41% struggle with network virtualization vulnerabilities.

The role operators can play in the security of a private network ecosystem is particularly important in the 5G era. New threat vectors will materialize as enterprises look to embrace new communications technologies (5G, edge computing, cloud computing, private wireless, IoT) to digitally transform their business.

Operators are in a prime position to address these and profit in supporting their enterprise customers. To take on this role, operators will want to broaden their credentials or partner with security, cloud or IT vendors capable of filling any gaps in their security portfolios and expertise.

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