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Private 5G has great implications for enterprises: Complete control over a network, independence from commercial carriers, heightened performance and increased data privacy.
Still, securing a network can be a challenge, particularly in regulated industries.
As industry security requirements — PCI, HIPAA — remain static, deploying security protocols within an enterprise 5G network can be “complex and daunting for IT decision makers,” said Glenn Longley, VP of IoT and product management at Inseego — a 5G enterprise cloud Wan provider.
Inseego today announced a partnership with CyberReef, the creator of the industry’s first mobile firewall MobileWall. The new offering will enable the deployment of highly secure 5G mobile access applications that exceed network security compliance requirements, Longley explained.
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“Secure 5G enterprise networks have traditionally been a ‘Lego Set’ mentality, with various pieces being put together,” he said.
He called the new offering an industry first because it provides a turn-key secure 5G network together on a single SKU, and it is available to the state, local education (SLED) vertical.
Ultimately, “the industry is seeking vetted and mature connectivity and security solutions that are cost-effective and easy to deploy,” he said.
A revolutionary technology
Enterprise 5G is a dedicated wireless LAN solution built to meet an organization’s unique needs. It allows them to increase transmission speeds, network capacity and bandwidth, achieve low latency and improve support for devices and sensors.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) — which is working to ensure the security and resiliency of 5G technology and infrastructure — describes it as nothing less than revolutionary.
5G represents “a complete transformation of telecommunication networks,” the agency said.
Once realized, it will completely reshape the digital landscape and “serve as a catalyst for innovation, new markets, and economic growth,” according to the agency. “As tens of billions of devices are connected to the internet through 5G, these connections will empower a vast array of new and enhanced critical infrastructure services.”
At the same time, the risk of cyberattacks on all organizations will grow exponentially, experts say. The scale enabled by 5G will increase network capacity and attack surface as more devices come onto enterprise and government networks.
Other challenges? Strategy and timing, operational costs, workforce planning and trust, according to PwC.
“Predicting a future with 5G is practically impossible,” according to the firm. “4G ushered in a host of unexpected capabilities, from streaming video to ride-sharing and beyond.”
PwC predicts that 5G won’t hit mass adoption until 2025, as enterprise executives need time to get on board and address adoption and security challenges.
As we get there, the current trend is to use a mix of 4G/LTE and 5G, said Ajeet Das of IDC.
“Private 4G/LTE and 5G networks are gaining momentum as they continue to enable various enterprise use cases as they journey through their digital transformation,” the research director for telecom infrastructure at IDC wrote in an August 2022 whitepaper.
He predicted this will continue, pointing out that a lack of 5G devices is creating a “choke point” in the broader 5G ecosystem.
This “remains an impediment to enterprise adoption worldwide,” he said.
The new Inseego/CyberReef offering allows regulated organizations to quickly deploy 5G CPEs as a primary solution or as an upgrade to existing 4G failover or wireless networks while maintaining operational and security requirements, said Longley.
Longley provided a use case of a high school: It allowed students to check out mobile tablets and blocked certain content categories like adult content and streaming video services like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc.
However, they quickly discovered that students could circumvent the content controls by downloading a virtual private network (VPN) to the device, obscuring the DNS.
Instead of abandoning the mobile device checkout program, the school worked with CyberReef to use MobileWall, which unlike VPNs and DNS redirect solutions, is tied to each device’s SIM card.
“MobileWall also can detect if VPNs are downloaded and block them,” Longley said.
Uniquely, policies for access can be assigned to individual schools, grade levels or individual staff members and can be adjusted to match the curriculum requirements throughout the school year, he said.
An industry first
The tool is powered by Inseego’s trademarked Wavemaker 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) portfolio and is fully integrated with the CyberReef MobileWall. The combined offering is available exclusively through Discountcell, a leading supplier of wireless hardware and accessories and contract holder with the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) ValuePoint.
It is PCI-compliant, HIPAA-compliant and CIPA-compliant and enables the service continuity that healthcare, education, retail and government organizations need to meet operational and security requirements, said Longley.
All told, the Inseego 5G wireless network helps provide security, visibility and control of all mobile data while complying with consumer protection and privacy rules in regulated industries, he said.
Inseego’s Wavemaker 5G FWA enterprise-grade portfolio of customer premises equipment (CPE) is certified with all leading U.S. mobile operators and supports 5G Sub-6 GHz and mmWave, C-band, CBRS, LTE, and Wi-Fi 6. It also supports advanced security features, IP pass-through and critical networking routing functions. Its deployment is managed with Inseego Connect remote device management or with existing out-of-band management (OOBM) software, said Longley.
Meanwhile, MobileWall enables customers to leverage secure mobile wireless connections through on-demand mobile private networking. They can manage their data usage through filtering and App Throttling, a feature that enables organizations to slow down specific high-bandwidth applications, optimize mobile network utilization, improve mobile service quality and eliminate mobile data overages, explained Longley.
“CyberReef and Inseego solve the complexity of secure 5G enterprise connectivity by bringing two industry leaders together for a unified network solution,” said Longley.