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AT&T report shines spotlight on edge security, including 5G networks

AT&T report shines spotlight on edge security, including 5G networks

AT&T recently issued a new report called “2022 Securing the Edge” in which the US carrier surveyed over a thousand security practitioners about their approaches to edge security. The report was heavily slanted towards 5G — not surprising given AT&T’s investments in that area — but it contained some interesting data points. While the report was centered around security it also contained some useful data on edge computing use cases and general adoption.

On the security side, the report touched on the kind of attacks seen at the edge. These vary sharply from industry to industry. Overall, ransomware is the largest concern, but energy companies rate sniffing attacks against the radio access network alongside ransomware as their greatest issue; for health companies ransomware is ranked lowest; top of their list is the problem of attacks against edge servers and data.

Also on the security side, the report noted that Zero Trust hasn’t caught on in 5G and cellular environments. It suggests the inability to secure a complete connection from the user to service is one factor, and another is latency; fully encrypted VPNs carry a heavy overload. The report also remarks that while Zero Trust network access is one of the most effective tools in the eyes of the respondents, it also has the worst TCO (total cost of ownership). DDoS mitigation is also viewed negatively from a cost-benefit perspective, and it seems most organizations prefer traditional tools like IDS at the network edge, at least from a firewall perspective.

The most popular use cases for edge computing were also highlighted by the survey. For retail, loss prevention came out top. In finance, concierge services are the most mature in adoption, but it carries a high risk of a cyber attack; meanwhile, in manufacturing industries, video-based quality inspection came as the lowest perceived risk and also the highest in terms of adoption.

Lastly, the survey took a look at the adoption rate for private 5G, which seems remarkably high — 43% say they are going to roll out a private 5G network within three years. The survey, conducted by research firm IDC, focused on security professionals at companies with more than 1,000 employees, so it stands to reason that large enterprises are also the companies most interested in and able to afford private 5G networks.

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