As we move out of the crisis phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, enterprises are rapidly shifting focus from business continuity to stabilising their operations and planning for a more digital future.  Both business and consumer customers now want to use more data than ever, using an expanded range of applications, via an ever-growing number of devices, in more diverse locations, and at speeds that satisfy both their work and leisure needs. According to Omnisperience research, 75% of communications service providers (CSPs) say that COVID-19 has actually speeded up their digitalisation and network innovation programmes.

While CSPs have worked to keep their customers connected, cyber criminals haven’t been sitting on their hands but have quickly adapted their attacks to the new conditions. This means that providing better connections through 5G and Wi-Fi 6 isn’t enough. Customers also expect CSPs to protect them from harm.

Doing so requires both CSPs and their customers to urgently address security loopholes that have opened up during the crisis phase of the pandemic, auditing what has been bought and adjusting their strategies to accommodate new modes of working.

But protecting customers in the 5G and Wi-Fi 6 connected New Normal requires a fresh approach to security which is why experts at Omnisperience, F-Secure, IBM Security, Numerous Networks and Palo Alto Networks emphasise the importance of six key features of cybersecurity in the New Normal.

Six key features of cybersecurity in the New Normal

  • Focus on the user – Omnisperience advocates the importance of User Isolation Protection (UIP) to focus resources on the most vulnerable point of attack. “Immaterial of the technology introduced to meet the needs of both consumers and businesses, organisations need to prioritise protecting the most vulnerable point of attack – the user,” says Kevin Bailey, Principal Security Analyst at Omnisperience.
  • Greater visibility – Greg Day, VP and Regional CSO at Palo Alto Networks notes: “Visibility is critical to managing risk in the complex connected environments of the future. Without visibility you will never be in a position to protect the individual or business against the current and future threats that need to be mitigated.”
  • Automation – in order to accommodate the flexibility of 5G, automation is key according to F-Secure’s Senior Security Researcher and Head of Security Research Dr Mark Barnes: “As 5G is highly virtualised this allows for flexibility of network functions to be dynamically moved around network slices to ease Core demand, it is therefore essential that both monitoring and response are highly automated.”
  • Preparedness – the three major components of 5G present their own risks. According to Dr Sridhar Muppidi, IBM Fellow, VP & CTO at IBM Security, “The Edge poses a risk for consumers in relation to their data protection and application security. 5G’s core is at risk of malicious users and DDoS, while computing infrastructure presents infrastructure and application security risks.” While we can’t possibly prevent every potential attack, we can be proactive and properly prepare.
  • Co-operation – rather than competing, security vendors need to co-operate more according to F-Secure’s EVP MDR Tim Orchard: “Individual vendors should not seek to create competitive advantage through hoarding knowledge of attacker behaviour or ongoing campaigns,” he comments.
  • Support for distributed working – as businesses decrease their reliance on the office as the primary place of work, Ben Toner, CEO Numerous Networks says they need to recognise the new risks introduced by working from home: “Homes are built to house TVs and set-top boxes not enterprise-grade security appliances, so business need to look at the cloud to deliver the required levels of connectivity, security and service.”

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Posted by Kevin Bailey

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