In late February, Accenture released the results of a survey it conducted with business leaders about the upcoming 5G launch. Technology decision makers are optimistic about the opportunities this technology offers, but they have some important concerns.
The Accenture survey included “more than 2,600 business and technology decision makers in 12 industry sectors in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.”
The results are not surprising, but they are helpful in characterizing one of the biggest challenges facing the broader adoption of 5G technology in a variety of industries. To that end, 68% believe 5G will help make their businesses more secure, but at the same time, 69% believe that the biggest concern is user privacy.
In part, this is likely due to the fact that three-quarters of business leaders say they believe that deploying more 5G devices increases the risk of data breaches. It’s simple math: the more devices you connect to a network, the more potential points of vulnerability you’ll create.
Amol Phadke, Global Managing Director of Accenture Network Services, breaks it down like this:
The 5G ecosystem will be larger and more complex than previous generations of networks. It will include multiple product providers, multiple service providers, and multiple means of accessing networks and devices. In this new and more complex ecosystem, protecting user profiles, for both human and machine users, will require a more granular access control policy.
Analysts anticipate nearly 200 million 5G smartphones will be sold in 2020. Still, these numbers don’t even include the millions of smart home components, manufacturing systems, supply chain tools, and medical devices that will benefit of the widespread availability of 5G networks.
Phadke notes that the new ways that companies will use 5G technology to connect and streamline their communications and processes means they will also have to think differently to keep those systems secure. “Preventing user identity theft, privacy violations, and new types of fraud scenarios will require designing a secure approach to managing user identity and defining a new trust model that considers all parties involved,” Phadke says.
The bottom line, and the lesson for all businesses, is that the 5G network requires a balanced approach that considers benefits, costs, and risks. Smart companies are the ones that will create strategies that will allow them to take advantage of those benefits and minimize the risks.