Network Security

Edge Cloud and 5G protection: how to do it and why it matters

Edge Cloud and 5G protection: how to do it and why it matters
Written by ga_dahmani
Edge Cloud and 5G protection: how to do it and why it matters

The fourth industrial revolution, known as 4IR or Industry 4.0, is in full swing. It focuses heavily on automation, device interconnectivity, machine learning, and real-time data. The intersection of 5G and edge computing technologies are core components of Industry 4.0 and are expected to reinvent industries, change the way security is implemented, and revolutionize business operations. Understand how 5G and edge computing impact use cases and change the focus for security will prepare organizations for this new era that is fast approaching.

What is edge cloud computing?

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services such as servers, databases, software, and more over the Internet to provide faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. A newer concept that has gained popularity in recent years is Edge Cloud Computing, which places resources closer to the user’s device (or at the “edge” of the network) rather than in a cloud data center that it may be miles away. The Edge Cloud is transforming the way data is handled, processed, and delivered. Most cloud service providers, such as Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud Platform, have launched their cloud capabilities to the edge to expand the cloud network.

Faster network technologies such as 5G enable Edge Cloud systems to accelerate the creation or support of real-time applications such as video processing and analytics, self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, and robotics. While the early goals of edge computing were to address bandwidth costs for data traveling long distances, the rise of real-time applications that require processing at the edge is driving the technology forward.

What is 5G?

5G, or fifth-generation technology for cellular broadband networks, succeeds 4G. 5G provides network capabilities, increases bandwidth and reduces latency to provide faster internet speeds for mobile devices and improves connectivity and reliability. 5G networks can be used in three main ways:

  1. Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB): Increases the speed at which data is transmitted and is beneficial for high-traffic services such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).
  2. Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communication (URLLC): Reduces data transmission latency (delays) and is beneficial for remote technologies such as self-driving cars.
  3. Massive Machine Type Communication (mMTC): Supports multiple base station connections at the same time and is beneficial for Internet of Things (IoT) development.

5G was created to mainly benefit the corporate and public sectors, as it aims to solve many of the problems related to massive data consumption and the increased use of mobile devices within companies.

Drawing the Parallel: The 5G Edge

Using the Edge Cloud is the only way 5G will meet the latency goals that have been set. Latency, which is defined as the time it takes for a device’s data to load and reach its target, is projected to decrease from 50ms to 1ms with the transition from 4G to 5G. For many applications, 5G and the Edge Cloud will be required for optimal performance. For data-intensive applications, constantly sending data to the cloud will be expensive even with 5G. However, with the use of the Edge Cloud, data can be cached, analyzed and filtered, sending only what is necessary to the cloud (see image below).

For businesses, lower latency will make cloud services and applications more responsive and capable, meaning less employee downtime and near-instant access to files and information than ever before. workers depend on on a daily basis. Businesses that rely on collaboration solutions to communicate internally and with clients will experience seamless video conferencing and client presentations won’t lag behind in communications. Using 5G with the Edge Cloud, also known as “5G Edge”, will improve resiliency, provide real-time interaction, and provide a better user experience.

secure edge cloud and 5g how to do it and why it matters Protiviti

security implications

Security Use: Retail

The retail industry will be transformed with the rise of 5G and the Edge Cloud. Retailers will be able to interact with customers in new ways through the use of AR and VR. For example, using AR and VR, retailers can guide a consumer through a physical store to the exact location of a product of interest. Additionally, by using IoT-embedded sensors, retailers can have a real-time view of their stock, leading to faster response and replenishment times.

As with any new technology, there are new security issues that need to be addressed. For example, as the number and types of devices on the network continue to increase, a larger attack surface will be created. Additionally, retailers may not have the resources to manage the lifecycle, security, and data policies of these new devices on their network. Therefore, organizations will need to develop methods to test and assess the embedded systems and firmware in these IoT devices to understand the relevant cyber risks.

Safety Use: Health

Massive amounts of data are constantly being generated in healthcare that often goes unused due to outdated or legacy network architectures. 5G Edge can accelerate development growth through real-time information sharing enabled by low latency. For example, data collected through cameras and sensors will be easier to analyze. As such, by monitoring a patient’s vital signs in the hospital or tracking daily health statistics (via wearable technology), healthcare providers can be alerted to significant changes in health.

Some security challenges to consider in the healthcare industry are vulnerabilities in edge devices (eg cameras and sensors) resulting from the increased number of connections and bandwidth being used. Additionally, data security protocols and policy enforcement (eg, VPN and IP access) will require regular monitoring and maintenance to ensure the confidentiality of patient data. Before implementing any new software or technology, it is important to assess all the risks involved and confirm that organizations are prepared to address those risks.

Get ready for 5G and Edge Cloud

To get started with 5G and Edge Cloud, we suggest:

  • Step 1: Understand how it impacts the business. Start analyzing the current environment and understand how it is set up by conducting stakeholder interviews and conducting a security risk assessment. Gain an understanding of how 5G Edge can benefit the business and document existing use cases. Once the 5G Edge use cases are documented, continue to the next step.
  • Step 2: Create and design the 5G Edge architecture. Building on the previous step, start developing the future state architecture with data security in mind, management as systems scale, and further innovation in mind. Be sure to note what a successful implementation looks like.
  • Step 3 – Explore the different 5G Edge providers. There are a variety of providers offering 5G Edge solutions. Explore which one is right for your business and make sure it meets your business and security needs as well as the use cases from Step 1.

While 5G and the Edge Cloud can stand on their own, together they create a force that will change business operations and the security of currently isolated and underutilized edge devices. The intersection between the Edge Cloud and 5G will enable rapid decision-making, impacting how organizations stay ahead of the curve. It will also affect how edge devices are managed and secured based on use cases. Organizations must prepare for these inevitable and upcoming changeswhich will be fast and impactful.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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