Inside Cybersecurity

October 23, 2021

Daily News

Software industry group releases policy agenda to strengthen 5G networks

By Sara Friedman / July 22, 2020

BSA-The Software Alliance has released its policy agenda outlining priorities to instill cybersecurity best practices into the rollout of 5G networks.

“Although public debate around 5G has often focused on the role of hardware, software is at the heart of what makes these new technologies unique and innovative,” said Victoria Espinel, president and CEO of the BSA-Software Alliance, on the release of the document Tuesday.

Espinel said, “The software tools that underpin 5G will bring inherent security advantages if we embrace this opportunity to manage and secure networks. BSA calls on policymakers around the world to unlock the potential of 5G by facilitating the development of new security technologies and methodologies and building international consensus around security approaches.”

The agenda urges governments to:

  1. Harness Software Innovation: 5G networks embrace software solutions to security challenges, and governments should lead the adoption of such solutions by investing in promising technologies to virtualize key network functions, harnessing software innovation to enhance cybersecurity, and prioritizing security in 5G research and development.
  2. Secure the 5G Ecosystem: Securing 5G networks also means securing the vast ecosystem of devices that connect to them. Governments can accomplish this by promoting secure software, supporting strong encryption, leveraging machine learning and AI, securing IoT devices, and creating a zero-trust environment to build defense in-depth.
  3. Harden the Cloud: Cloud infrastructure will drive many of the security benefits of 5G. To create secure and trustworthy cloud environments, governments should adopt risk-based cloud security policies, align cloud security policies with internationally recognized standards, and work to understand roles and responsibilities within complex cloud environments.
  4. Manage Supply Chain Risk: Effective supply chain risk management practices limit vulnerabilities and make it easier to protect networks. Governments should adopt risk management approaches to supply chain security, advance policy interoperability, ensure transparent and fair supply chain policies, promote government-industry collaboration to strengthen security, and drive innovation and competition across the supply chain.
  5. Build Smart, Effective 5G Governance: Strong security controls and technical measures rely on effective 5G governance. To establish mechanisms for responsible governance of 5G networks and supporting technologies, governments should adopt open standards with built-in security, cultivate trustworthy open-source cloud architectures, and establish flexible and coordinated governance mechanisms.

The report says, “These priorities will help governments and their citizens reap the security benefits that 5G can bring. Yet, 5G networks will not develop in a vacuum. Underpinning government and industry efforts to deploy and secure 5G technologies will be a qualified workforce, one that is trained to meet tomorrow’s cybersecurity challenges. BSA’s Policy Agenda to Build Tomorrow’s Workforce outlines priorities for building a 21st century workforce that are essential to economic and social innovation broadly, including supporting robust 5G security.” -- Sara Friedman (sfriedman@iwpnews.com)