Spotlight on Tech

Foundational principles to address 5G security concerns

January 19, 2023
minute read

Security is a race against the hacking community. The advantage for either side comes down to preparation.

Telecom is the last mission-critical industry to adopt cloud. It introduces vulnerabilities that are not new to the world, but certainly new to telecom. This is raising security concerns as operators aim to speed 5G deployments to market.

Rakuten Mobile is successfully securing the world’s largest Open RAN network. The company’s Chief Information Security Officer, John Carse, recently spoke with AvidThink’s Roy Chua about strategies operators can adapt to safely roll out 5G, open RAN, and telco cloud.

The key takeaways?

These are not new challenges

The good news for operators is that other mission critical industries like finance, military and Big Tech have successfully solved the same cloud-based challenges that now face telecom. It will be critical to adapt proven strategies that have worked for those industries.

It doesn’t pay to wait

Security is never done. Even after next-gen security standards are established, they will still only account for around 20% of the risks MNO CISOs will need to consider, according to John. So start today and move along the learning curve because hackers certainly have.

Zero-trust principles are the bedrock of a solid security foundation

Rakuten Mobile takes a zero-trust approach to who has access to the network and how the control plane and management plane are secured. This extends to how applications run inside containerized workloads. When combined with zero-touch provisioning, this approach can deliver a strong foundational defense.


Telecom should learn from other industries as it seeks to safely accelerate pursuit of 5G, open RAN, and telco cloud use cases.

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