Supporting 5G mobility will require a holistic approach to security from service providers

Mobile networks are taking over the world. Our lives are increasingly based around connected devices. We already use phones and tablets almost constantly to keep in touch with friends and work more efficiently. Not to mention planning journeys, shopping, and watching films.

And this is just the start. We’re going to see an increasing number of online devices as the Internet of Things (IoT) grows. Our cars and our watches are already becoming connected. Not to mention our fridges and our toasters.

Evolving network structures

New mobile services will need new kinds of network to support them. As we make the transition from 3G to 4G, mobile networks are becoming more IP-based. With 5G, they’ll become entirely reliant on IP.

One of the service provider that we’re working with to prepare for the challenges of the future is Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA). Together with Ericsson, we’re using virtualisation technology to simplify the company’s network infrastructure.

This will enable VHA to become more agile, innovative and pro-active in the way it brings services to market. It will be able to provide a better customer experience, and ultimately save money through efficiency.

That’s why Kevin Millroy, VHA’s chief technology officer, said: “This transformation allows us to introduce new applications to drive innovation and improve customer services and user experience. The new infrastructure opens the door to new business models and markets, such as the IoT, for Vodafone – we’re excited about the future prospects this partnership offers.”

It looks increasingly likely that 5G mobile will depend heavily on virtualisation like this. Patrick Donegan, an analyst for the information company Light Reading, says:

“The telecom industry is arriving at a consensus that 5G requires a fully featured network function virtualisation (NFV) Infrastructure. The piecemeal virtualisation model therefore runs out of road at the 5G inflection point.”

New security challenges

Open, cloud-based network structures will open up many new business opportunities for service providers. But they also create more opportunities for hackers, by increasing the number of possible ways they can attack – whether that’s via a device, the network, or the cloud.

In future, the idea of enforcing a security perimeter around your network is going to make increasingly less sense. In order to make a success of 5G mobile services, service providers will need to take a different, more holistic approach.

Supporting the services of the future

Cisco technology enables service providers to create an integrated security architecture that can support the networks of the future. Last year, we partnered with Ericsson to support 3 Italia in its transition to a mobile IP network.

We used a range of technologies and services, including Cisco’s Firepower 9300 appliance, to help the provider improve its performance and stability.

Nunzio Mirtillo, the head of the Mediterranean region for Ericsson, said: “By leveraging complementary capabilities from Ericsson and Cisco, we are paving the way for 5G, meeting increasing consumer and data traffic demands.”

A comprehensive approach to security

Cisco is able to provide security like this through our comprehensive range of best of breed products . These are constantly being enhanced with the latest insights from Talos, our team of security experts that monitors global threats.

But what really makes us stand out is the ability to combine first class solutions into an integrated security architecture that can provide the visibility and analytics to combat threats across your network.

It’s the only approach that can support the mobile services of the future. You may read Gee Rittenhous’ blog to find out how Cisco security can help you prepare for 5G and the Internet of Things.


Get more resources about Cyber Security for Telecom and IT service provider here.



Yves Padrines

Vice President, EMEAR Sales

Global Service Provider