Mobile Devices

5G adoption is accelerating but cybersecurity concerns remain

08 December 2020

The early days of the COVID-19 pandemic impacted 5G deployment and organizations' plans to adopt 5G, but as the outbreak endured, companies went back to deployment and now 5G deployments are on track to reach 204 5G commercial networks globally by the end of 2020.

However, as adoption increases, professionals are concerned about cybersecurity risks related to 5G adoption, according to a new poll from Deloitte.

"U.S. 5G bandwidth availability has expanded and accelerated considerably in recent months, offering competitive advantages technologically, financially and otherwise to early adopters," said Wendy Frank, risk and financial advisory cyber 5G leader and principal at Deloitte & Touche LLP. "Of course, with all the technological advancement 5G enables, the cyber threat landscape and attack surface areas expand considerably. Working proactively to mitigate cybersecurity risks posed by 5G adoption is the hallmark of a well-designed program."

Cybersecurity differed by group, according to the poll, with 30.1% of organizations currently using 5G saying having the right security talent posed the biggest cyber challenge to 5G adoption. About 26% of respondents from organizations planning to adopt 5G in the next year cited that their top cyber challenges were data due to an increase in the volume and diversity of data created by 5G segments.

"For organizations leveraging 5G, cyber risk will mount quickly if challenges — like a lack sophisticated encryption, decentralized operations or security monitoring functioning to the detriment of performance speeds — are not resolved," Frank said. "Securing the vastly expanded threat landscape resulting from 5G adoption will demand two equally important efforts: Getting the right talent in place or upskilled; and, leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate areas like security policy configuration, compliance monitoring and threat and vulnerability detection."

The full research can be found in Deloitte’s “With 5G adoption, come new cybersecurity risks to mitigate” report.

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