5G networks offer a home for IT cybersecurity offerings

Ian Scales
By Ian Scales

Mar 31, 2021

Source: Canalys

Source: Canalys

  • Researchers claim that 5G networks will have both a “disruptive and positive impact” on the cybersecurity industry
  • So security could be a £9 billion enterprise market opportunity for 5G network operators 
  • Enterprises are looking at mMTC (massive machine-type-communications' ) and URLLC (Ultra reliable low latency communications) applications

Thanks to the recent cybersecurity epidemic (another one, and not entirely unrelated to Covid-19 when working from home opened up scope for the hackers) it looks like security is going to be a big deal through 2021 and beyond. Canalys claims that such was the escalation of security breaches last year that  more records were compromised in just 12 months than in the previous 15 years combined. The message to enterprises is “prioritize cybersecurity and invest in broadening protection, detection and response measures or face disaster,” according to Canalys Chief Analyst Matthew Ball who claims that for many enterprise security victims it’s already too late.

But it’s an ill wind which blows off everyone and cybersecurity on 5G is being regarded as a bright spot for 5G network operators.

ABI Research claims that the cloud-native nature of 5G networks means they will have both a “disruptive and positive impact” on the cybersecurity industry. It calculates that network security represents a £9 billion enterprise market opportunity for 5G network operators since the networks will offer a safer home for security offerings because of 5G’s cloud native virtualization, API-driven platforms and its ‘isolation’ capabilities, thanks to the use of containers and network slicing. It all adds up to "significant opportunities for IT cybersecurity offerings to find applications in 5G,” the advisory firm maintains. “Both security software and services will be in demand from enterprises looking to leverage trusted mMTC (massive machine-type-communications' ) and URLLC (Ultra reliable low latency communications) applications.”

It says that initially, security spending will be dominated by CSPs themselves looking to secure their networks and new next gen services. But having done so the researchers expect 5G network operators to turn their  attention to the enterprise market where they can package up their learnings and extend security services as an offering, perhaps with the help of network equipment providers and ‘pure play’ security vendors. 

“There is serious potential to explore opex delivered security models through the cloud once requirements around performance and latency can be met. CSPs, notably Tier Ones, are keen to attract security-sensitive industries to 5G and this is driving them to integrate security software and services into their 5G networks,” says Michela Menting, Digital Security Research Director at ABI Research.

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