5G and IoT-Connected devices and smart technology — often referred to collectively as the Internet of Things (IoT) — are present in every aspect of our lives today: at home, school, work and on the go. Constant connection provides opportunities for innovation and modernization. But, it also opens up potential cybersecurity threats that can compromise your most important personal information.
October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), and this year’s theme is “Own It. Secure It. Protect It.” Today we’ll take a look at “Own It.” This sub-theme focuses in on topics like IoT, social media and online privacy.
For this particular blog, we’ll examine cybersecurity in the telecommunications sector. We’ll highlight the challenges this industry faces in keeping your devices and information safe and secure.
CSPs and the Opportunity for Disruption
For communications services providers (CSPs) specializing in mobile services, media or web services, the only constant is relentless innovation. Staying competitive and relevant requires CSPs to deliver business value beyond basic connectivity. While these factors undermine established business models, they also open up lucrative new markets and opportunities for incumbent players. Consider a couple trends and market forces surrounding CSPs today:
- The Internet of Everything. Smart cities and infrastructure, connected vehicles, digital healthcare, smart homes and more are transforming markets.
- Transformational mobile bandwidth is coming online at the same time that the IoT is reaching critical mass. The impending disruption will be massive.
- Over the Top (OTT). OTT entities are content providers that distribute messaging and streaming media overthe internet. Years after Yahoo! Messenger and AOL’s AIM came and went, they keep finding new ways to undermine CSP business models. Just look at Tencent, parent company of WeChat, who currently has a market cap of $397B (compared to Verizon’s $250B). Or consider the meteoric rise of OTT streaming players like Netflix and Hulu.
- Cyber Attacks. Telecom companies are frequently targeted by cyber attacks because they build, control and operate critical infrastructure that is widely used to communicate and store large amounts of sensitive data for consumers, businesses and government. Data breaches or denial of service attacks on CSPs can reverberate far beyond the initial incident. Moreover, end user equipment—home routers, smartphones, IoT devices and more—are only nominally under CSP control. This makes them easy to compromise and ideal targets for hackers looking to steal data.
- Privacy is Paramount. In a stiffening regulatory environment, data privacy is a higher priority than ever before. Since prominent communications brands have been implicated in major data breaches, CSPs recognize the need to embrace trust as a competitive differentiator.
For consumers, the dramatic expansion in bandwidth and connectivity that will come with 5G technologies and emerging IoT models will likely mean more options for engaging with media. It will also present new opportunities for both media providers and network operators. There’s no doubt that it’s an exciting time in the telecommunications sector.