5G security risks - a growing concern for many businesses

5G security risks

Businesses seem sure that 5G will be the most radical network advancement to date, however, according to a global study from Accenture, they still have worries with regards to the security of the technology.

A survey of more than 2,600 businesses and tech decision makers across 12 industry sectors in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific, found that four in five respondents (79%) think that 5G will have a substantial effect on their organization —this includes 57% who believe that it will be ‘revolutionary’. In comparison, only one-quarter (24%) of respondents said they believed that 4G’s impact was ‘revolutionary’.

Despite such optimism into the new technology the same faith cannot be said for its security. More than one third  (35%) of respondents in the most recent version of the survey mentioned concerns and uncertainties around the security of 5G, in contrast with 32% in last year’s survey. Furthermore more than six in 10 respondents (62%) in the latest survey told of worries that 5G will increase their exposure to cyberattacks. Businesses think that the majority of the risk will begin at the user level, whether that’s devices of people.

The link between 5G and its perceived security risks is complex,” said George Nazi, senior managing director and Communications and Media industry lead at Accenture. “According to our study, executives believe that 5G can help secure their businesses, but that 5G network architecture also presents inherent challenges in terms of user privacy, number of connected devices and networks, and service access and supply chain integrity.”

The survey suggests businesses are thinking ahead to how to deal with these challenges, with three-quarters (74%) of respondents saying they expect to redefine policies and procedures related to security as 5G emerges.

5G costs and outlook

The price of implementing the changes that 5G will bring is also of concern for business leaders. Specifically, the price of making 5G operational is a hot topic. Four out of five respondents (80%) think that the cost of their IT infrastructure and applications maintenance will increase. While, almost one-third (31%) still believe that the initial cost of implementing 5G will be too heavy.

Furthermore, the study found that businesses are starting to realize that need for external support to reveal the potential of 5G. As an example, almost three-quarters (72%) of respondents mentioned they need support to imagine the future possibilities for connected solutions with 5G, and the percentage of businesses intending to build 5G applications in-house has fallen in comparison to the previous year, from 23% to 14% respectively.

The findings of the survey indicate that, despite such challenges and concerns for 5G, the future looks bright for businesses that are embracing the technology, with businesses on a global level recognizing its massive potential. The benefits are immense and awareness of them is increasing.  For instance, 85% of respondents said that they would expect to use 5G to support remote employees in the field within the coming years. This is up from 68% who said the same in last year’s survey.

With the right business strategy and ecosystem collaboration, the signs point towards a world of compelling 5G use cases and business outputs,” said Nazi. “Communications service providers should act now to ensure they are at the heart of the 5G ecosystem to unlock the potential growth.”