Security among key drivers for 5G private networks adoption – RCR Wireless News

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F5 highlighted that adopting a zero-trust architecture is important in a private 5G environment

Security is one of the main motivators for enterprises to adopt 5G private networks, according to Richard Lopez, senior strategic architect at F5.

“The main motivators for enterprises to adopt 5G private networks may be different across the different verticals, but broadly speaking it could be they are needing better wireless coverage than what Wi-Fi can provide—for example, in a large manufacturing facility or at a mining location. Another motivator could be security and data sovereignty where the enterprise wants to keep all their data and communication within their environment and not having that out on the public mobile network,” said Lopez.

Commenting about the key security risks associated with private 5G networks in industrial settings, Lopez stated that many of the same security concerns exist whether enterprises use Wi-Fi or private 5G. “So being able to secure those industrial environments is critical and whether you’re using private 5G or whether you’re using Wi-Fi the same security risks apply. We have seen many enterprises adopt zero trust security architectures for their environments, regardless of if they are deploying private 5G. This is very important in industrial settings where you could have many IoT devices, and you need to ensure that each device connecting to the network is valid.”

The F5 executive also highlighted that adopting a zero-trust architecture is important in a private 5G environment, but also ensuring that any of the applications that are being used in that industrial environment or that manufacturing facility are secure as well. “So, ensuring that there’s API security protection, web application firewall protection for any applications running that environment—those are still very critical, even in that private 5G environment,” Lopez said.

If the enterprise has been using Wi-Fi in the past, it’s a very similar threat landscape. I don’t think 5G is expanding the threat landscape. I think you have more control over the threat landscape, because you have better controls for managing what devices are allowed on the network. Also, if an enterprise was relying on the public mobile network in the past, private 5G provides them much greater security control where the can ensure that all their data is staying within their environment. So I think there might be better security controls that are available moving to a private 5G network, than if they were just using Wi-Fi or the public mobile network,” Lopez said.

Lopez also stated that it is very important for enterprises to ensure ongoing monitoring and maintenance of security measures within the private 5G network in order to address evolving threats and vulnerabilities. “I think it’s very important to have proper monitoring. That’s part of a good security practice and so, the same kind of monitoring, security access logs and things like that that enterprise have been using in the past still are applicable even when moving to private 5G. So anybody deploying a private 5G solution, that private 5G solution, and the security services that are part of that private 5G solution, needs to be able to provide the proper monitoring and visibility to the end customer to ensure proper security controls.”

RCR Wireless News published an editorial report dubbed “Securing the edge: Where 5G meets the enterprise”, in which key industry leaders and analysts explore the critical considerations surrounding the security of 5G private networks deployed at the edge for enterprises. Click here to access the report.

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