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5G security is a concern for most companies

A study has found that decision-makers fear that 5G technology will make organisations more vulnerable to cyber attacks and will raise security-related costs

Decision-makers worldwide are anxious that the arrival of 5G will present all manner of security challenges to their organisations, according to a recent study released by Accenture.

Some 2,623 business and technology decision-makers across 10 countries, including the UK, were interviewed for the study, which looked into the understanding, adoption and perceived impact of 5G.

While most of those polled (79%) think that 5G will have a significant effect on their organisations, including 57% who believe it will be a revolutionary technology, there are plenty of concerns around security.

More than a third of respondents (35%) expressed concerns about 5G security, compared with 32% in the survey published in 2019. Moreover, 62% of those polled are fearful that 5G would make them more vulnerable to cyber attacks. The study noted that companies believe most of the risk will start at user level, through devices or people.

Executives believe that 5G can help protect their business, but also think the 5G network architecture presents inherent challenges in terms of user privacy, number of connected devices and networks and access to services and supply chain integrity, according to George Nazi, Accenture’s senior director and industry leader in communications and media. “The link between 5G and perceived security risks is complex,” he added.

The survey suggests that companies are thinking about how to deal with these challenges, with 74% of those polled saying they hope to redefine security-related policies and procedures as 5G emerges.

While 5G investment is set to soar among UK businesses, local organisations are lacking confidence to implement it, a separate study by EY has found. Drivers for that include organisations’ lack of understanding of 5G’s benefits, including knowledge gaps around use cases and concepts, and a perception of 5G as only an incremental progression on 4G or Wi-Fi.

The cost related to accommodating 5G-related changes is also a concern for business managers, with 80% of the leaders polled by Accenture saying that the spending related to managing their IT infrastructure and applications will increase. Meanwhile, 31% believe the initial cost of implementing 5G will be too high.

“With the right business strategy and ecosystem collaboration, the signs point to a world of 5G use cases and attractive business results,” said Nazi.

Communication service providers must act now to ensure that they are at the heart of the 5G ecosystem to unlock potential growth.”

The Accenture study was carried out by Loudhouse Research in December 2019 across 12 industry sectors in the US, UK, Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Singapore, United Arab Emirates States, and Australia.

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