This article was originally published to the Nokia blog by Gerald Reddig on December 27, 2018.

The more trust a user has in a service, the more likely they are to buy it. In today’s world, digital trust is a compelling business consideration for all Communications Service Providers (CSPs). At the same time, CSPs seek to monetize their investment in security through the provision of cloud-based managed security services.

Not only is the security of a service an essential trust-building block, but it is also a growing business opportunity for CSPs. That’s because 5G network slicing will enable CSPs to offer highly-tailored services that can win the business of a wide range of new customers in so-called vertical markets. Offering different and flexible security levels matched to the needs of the service delivered by a network slice will be a ‘monetizing’ opportunity. Put simply, a gaming service network slice does not need the highest levels of security that are essential to protect life-or-death public safety communications.

Hackers often dynamically tweak their attacks in real-time or near real-time, so CSPs’ defenses must be at least as adaptive to respond at least as quickly.

Four capabilities of good 5G security

To protect 5G services and the accelerating growth in connections, CSPs need a new approach to security. There are four key requirements – adaptability, integration, automation and rapidity.

1The first requirement calls for 5G security to be adaptable to meet the increasingly sophisticated techniques of cyber-attackers. Hackers often dynamically tweak their attacks in real-time or near real-time, so CSPs’ defenses must be at least as adaptive to respond at least as quickly.

2Second, a cyber-security platform must integrate all the different security tools and systems in a CSP’s armory, all of which generate a huge number and variety of alarms. A centralized single view to orchestrate the entire security environment, supported by data analytics to pick out the real threats from false alerts, will reduce the time it takes to respond and begin the fight back against a hacker.

3Automation is vital to increase the speed of response and to tackle the growing workload facing security teams. Did you know that 33 percent of incident response time is spent on manual processes? It’s little surprise then that manual processes cannot be scaled up to meet the rise in threats that will inevitably accompany the growth in 5G business.

Which brings us to the fourth requirement.

4One of the most important success factors in security is reducing the dwell time – that is the length of time a hacker goes undetected should they breach first-line security to gain access to the network. The longer they have, the more chances they get to hunt around the network for valuable data they can steal. With adaptability, analytics, machine learning, orchestration and automation, a hacker’s dwell time can be cut by 80 percent.

While an effective first line of defense of firewalls and other measures will stop nearly all hackers before they can get into a network, a few attacks will inevitably get through. But with rapid, automated and smart detection and response, even these breaches can be tackled to protect customer data.

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