With cyber security paramount in 2020, here is #4 of our top seven trends to watch out for. 

4. The impact of 5G

We reviewed the 5G opportunity for distribution in my 2019 trends article and predicted a security opportunity opening. Since then, I have reinforced my view that our global customers will be investing heavily in security – especially for last mile IoT implementations.

It’s still early, but with 5G there is real-time, low-latency communication with elevated use of SDN and network function virtualisation – which means a broader and more dynamic attack landscape. It is no longer just basic perimeter security.

Beyond the perimeter

5G goes beyond cellular-based technologies, which are secure by design. While there are already enhanced security features within 5G, the widespread need to access the network via smart devices, cloud services and edge computing renders the perimeter security model insufficient.

As device functionality moves to the edge, IoT networks are increasingly powerful. Attacks like refrigerator and microwave-driven cyber (DDoS) attack are no longer the stuff of science fiction. There is a need for continuous response, instead of one response when something happens.

Essentially the risk profile is broken down into the following:

  • Device: compromised devices with poor password controls, outdated firmware, malware exploitations, hijacking devices for further attacks, etc.
  • RAN (radio access networks) and MEC (multi-access edge computing): susceptible to man in the middle, server, rogue infrastructures, data exploitation, and DDoS attacks.
  • Core: similar to MEC’s various network vulnerabilities to be exploited, data exploitation, network slicing issues.
  • Applications: vulnerable to unauthorised access, API attacks, and compromised data.

Vendors recognise this shift and are moving to adopt their presence accordingly. We’ve already seen significant vendor investment in the following, with more to come:

  • Security orchestration and monitoring tools across a vast landscape
  • Vertical specific best-of-breed OT solutions
  • Zero-trust framework including identity and access management
  • Micro-segmentation solutions
  • SASE (secure access service edge – or the security evolution from SD-WAN)

Net-new opportunity

This intersection of 5G and IoT brings a whole net-new potential opportunity and, while we are in the early days, the investment already seen shows the industry is preparing for this potential seismic shift.

I expect this innovation to continue and this new frontier to be the next battleground for cyberwarfare.

Next: 5 – Zero trust becomes mainstream

Missed the previous articles?

1. Network, where security is more important than ever

2. Innovation will continue to solve new problems

3. IoT point solutions gain momentum, paving the way for a broader market