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Software Alliance wants governments to capitalise on 5G potential

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5G networks. Photo; FOLIO

Governments across the globe have been advised to capitalise on the potential that comes with the fifth generation (5G) technology.
   
Business Software Alliance (BSA), which gave this advice, said 5G technologies will improve quality of life for billions of people, transform the digital ecosystem, and forever change how people interact with the physical world.
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In view of the immense benefits, BSA, in a document, titled: “Securing 5G: A Call to Harness Software Innovation,” made available to The Guardian, urged policymakers to strengthen trust in 5G networks by leveraging innovative software solutions to build on its inherent security advantages.
  
The report said 5G implementation presents an important opportunity for governments to build security into 5G networks from the ground up.
  
BSA said 5G’s cloud-based architecture, virtualization of network functions, and broad deployment of security tools like encryption create a strong foundation for securing networks.  
  
It stressed that by building on these strengths, governments can build trust in the security and integrity of the next generation of telecommunications technology.
    
President and CEO of BSA, Victoria Espinel, said although public debate around 5G has often focused on the role of hardware, software is also at the heart of what makes these new technologies unique and innovative.
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Espinel said the software tools that underpin 5G will bring inherent security advantages if people 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,” Espinel stated.

According to BSA, to capitalize on the economic and cybersecurity benefits of 5G, governments, should among others, harness software innovation; secure the 5G ecosystem; harden the cloud; manage supply chain risk, and build smart, effective 5G governance.

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In terms of innovation, BSA noted that 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.
 
Securing 5G networks also means securing the vast ecosystem of devices that connect to them, which governments can accomplish by promoting secure software, supporting strong encryption, leveraging machine learning and AI, securing IoT devices, and creating a zero-trust environment to build defence in-depth.
   
Software Alliance said 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.

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The body noted that effective supply chain risk management practices limit vulnerabilities and make it easier to protect networks.
    
It added that 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.
  
The software body explained that strong security controls and technical measures rely on effective 5G governance. But to establish mechanisms for responsible governance of 5G networks and supporting technologies, it noted that governments should adopt open standards with built-in security, cultivate trustworthy open-source cloud architectures, and establish flexible and coordinated governance mechanisms.
  
BSA is optimistic that by implementing these recommendations, policymakers can harness the security advantages of 5G technologies while addressing emerging security challenges.

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