With 5G on the horizon businesses must focus on cybersecurity

Posted on 20 Feb 2019 by Maddy White

A faster connectivity in the form of 5G is now imminent and for businesses it is an exciting prospect, but with this comes the crucial need for improved cybersecurity.

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Cyber threats could pose the biggest risk to UK businesses adopting 5G.

40% of businesses see the risk of cyber attacks as the most concerning aspect of the new high-speed mobile network, according to a new survey from EY.

This concern is reflected by the World Economic Forum (WEF), which lists cybersecurity as a top concern for businesses across the globe in the year ahead.

Manufacturing has also become the most targeted industry sector in the UK, representing 46% of all cyberattacks in 2017, according to research by NTT Security.

Despite security concerns businesses are investing in 5G

However, 59% of businesses are either currently investing in 5G, or plan to do so over the next two years, according to the research. 

Digital technologies and upgraded connectivity offers unprecedented opportunities for businesses and consumers across the globe.

According to CBI research, 94% of businesses believe that digital technologies are a crucial driver of increased productivity. Over half of firms are investing in IoT and 42% of companies are planning to devote resources to adopting AI in the next five years.

The British government has set out an ambitious vision to future-proof digital infrastructure. This means rolling out 5G nationwide by 2027 and full fibre by 2033.

Faster telecommunications is to become industry standard, it could offer connectivity at yet unseen speeds to factories, autonomous cars and vehicles, smart towns, houses and even cities.

The key benefits of adopting 5G are increased data capacity and speeds, with the potential ability to connect billions of devices with reliable connections.

Huawei proves that cybersecurity needs to advance

Many nations fear that the Chinese government is using telecoms giant Huawei as a proxy so it can spy on other countries and gain useful information.

Currently, the world’s largest telecoms equipment vendor is banned from bidding for government contracts in the US, where intelligence services have raised questions about the company’s connections to the Chinese government.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) also lists cybersecurity as a top concern for businesses - image courtesy of Depositphotos.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) also lists cybersecurity as a top concern for businesses – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

Australia and New Zealand have also barred Huawei from supplying equipment for their future 5G networks.

Canada is conducting a security review of Huawei’s products, and UK service provider BT is removing it from the core of its 5G network.

The Chinese company is just one clear example (of many) as to why businesses and governments must improve their cybersecurity when 5G is rolled out.

Faster telecommunications is coming and this will allow manufacturers to advance their operations, but as a sector targeted by cyber attacks, cybersecurity must be a key element of this connectivity development.