The 5G Revolution: Security Will Finally Count on Cellular
5G technology will enable security to become more mobile than ever
By Pierre Bourgeix
Pierre Bourgeix is Principal at ESI CONVERGENT, LLC
Our world is growing more and more interconnected. That trend will only increase as the Internet of Things (IoT) develops and communication speeds increase. Despite the apparently breakneck pace of communications at our disposal today, the advent of 5G – a new standard for cellular data transmission speeds – will blow those speeds out of the water and subsequently change the way we interact with data and gain intelligence. Importantly, the coming of 5G dovetails neatly with the increasing popularity of mobile-enabled security.
But, with that increased opportunity, comes the specter of increased risk. From a security perspective, the speed of communication also opens up new vectors of attack and requires us to carefully plan how to both physically and cyber secure our infrastructure and networks. In the next few years, systems integrators will need to reckon with how to best implement 5G technology while maintaining a high standard of security.
A Frictionless Security World
The sheer speed and low latency of 5G-based communications provide a variety of clear improvements to how we interact with and benefit from security technology – especially ones that interface with mobile devices. The stuttering, buffering and delays when streaming live security feeds to a phone will be things of the past. Alerts about objects or people detected in video streams will arrive nearly instantaneously. In essence, your security infrastructure will be communicating with you in real time.
The move to 5G could also save money when it comes to common security requirements like wiring doors for access control readers. A rapid and stable 5G connection will enable wireless access control readers to become ubiquitous. Without the need to wire doors, many more buildings can be secured at a lower cost despite physical, historical or other restrictions. With security, building and other IoT technologies communicating wirelessly at near instant speeds, the path to a frictionless security world is clear but also demands increased precaution and security hardening.
With Great Speed, Comes Great Security Responsibility
It’s important to acknowledge any 5G network and public infrastructure you use will be owned by another company – a carrier like Verizon or AT&T. To that end, part of the decision and selection process must take into account the security record of the carrier and infrastructure provider.
The speed of 5G unfortunately lends itself to, put bluntly, faster hacking. Should someone gain access to your network, their ability to quickly infiltrate systems is enhanced due to the connection speeds.
Preparing for 5G
The increased prevalence of cloud solutions when coupled with the coming 5G revolution means that end users will be able to have more – if not all – of their processes and applications running off-premise. While that greatly simplifies certain things, it also leads to a situation where end users are completely dependent on outside forces. If something goes wrong at the cloud or cellular level, security could be totally or partially compromised until the problem is fixed. For the foreseeable future, it will be prudent to retain a hybrid infrastructure that includes both on-premise and off-premise solutions.
5G is the next paradigm shift in global communication. As costs drop, 5G will lead to an IoT revolution enabling smart buildings and subsequently, smart cities. In these next few critical years, it will be up to us to make sure the implementation of 5G in the security world is done in a way that maintains our high standards of security while paving the way to game-changing advancements for the industry.