Protecting and Securing Data in a 5G Network

5G is more than just another generation of mobile network technology. It is a potential game-changer for communications service providers that have long struggled to connect the revenue opportunities between mobile networks and the applications that run on them. Enterprises, in particular, are excited about the new business applications that 5G can support. Yet behind that opportunity is also a challenge for communications service providers (CSPSs) to deliver higher levels of protection and security for 5G applications.

To meet heightened requirements for agility, efficiency, and performance, 5G networks are being built on a new kind of network architecture: a cloud-native architecture. Central to this new network architecture is the concept of containers, clusters and Kubernetes. These technologies require a different and, in many ways, more resilient approach to data protection and security than telecom providers have used in the past.

As 5G and edge computing enable new business models for enterprises, they will increasingly run those applications on telecom provider networks and will expect the data from those applications to be secure and always available. In addition, telecom providers must also protect data from operations that help optimize network performance, recover from a disaster or gain insights that enhance customer experience.

Networks based on cloud native architectures face risks of data loss through human and machine error as well as natural disasters and cyberattack. Mobile networks present a wide attack vector that spans from network core, to the far edge and even to the public cloud. This wide attack vector makes 5G networks an attractive target for ransomware and other malicious actions. Fortunately, many of the tools and applications developed to protect cloud native applications in the enterprise can be applied to meet the needs of 5G networks.

Protecting Red Hat® OpenShift® environments with Dell EMC PowerProtect Data Manager

Today, Red Hat OpenShift is recognized as a leading platform for building cloud-native networks using containers and Kubernetes. For over 20 years, Dell Technologies and Red Hat have partnered to deliver integrated solutions. One area of collaboration between the companies has focused on creating a cloud-native 5G platform for telecom providers that integrates OpenShift with Dell’s comprehensive data protection solution, Dell EMC PowerProtect Data Manager.

The Dell Technologies – Red Hat OpenShift Reference Architecture for Telecom provides a validated guide for designing and deploying a cloud-native, mobile network featuring Dell Technologies infrastructure and Dell EMC PowerProtect Data Manager. This reference architecture gives telecom providers a proven path to a 5G network based on Red Hat OpenShift that includes powerful, built-in data protection.

Protecting a containerized, cloud-native environment means more than just securing the data and the network. It also includes protecting all of the data and metadata associated with the container platform. PowerProtect Data Manager addresses this through custom integrations with OpenShift using the platform’s native plug-ins to protect the complete OpenShift environment and offers a highly scalable data protection solution for telecom networks.

Countering cyberattacks with a sound cyber recovery process

In just the past year, telecom providers have seen a surge in cyberattacks, such as the ransomware attack that targeted Telecom Argentina and sought to extort $7.5 million (US) to restore encrypted data volumes. To protect against these threats, a comprehensive cyber recovery process has become an essential component of any network security strategy.  Security experts recommend an isolated, air-gapped data vault as the most effective means of preserving data to ensure recovery from a cyberattack.

One such solution is Dell EMC PowerProtect Cyber Recovery, which is built upon PowerProtect Data Manager and provides a comprehensive cyber recovery solution to protect and recover from cyberattacks. PowerProtect Cyber Recovery creates an air-gapped data vault that stores point-in-time copies of critical data. It also includes intelligent, machine-learning algorithms that detect when an attack has occurred and powerful forensic tools that can identify which files have been corrupted and which user account is associated with the attack.

Following a proven path

Deploying and operating a 5G network based on cloud native architectures introduces new challenges for communications service providers. Fortunately, they can leverage many of the best practices and solutions that are already in use with cloud native applications deployed in the enterprise. Companies like Dell Technologies and Red Hat are partnering to simplify the application of these solutions to meet the needs of 5G networks so mobile operators can follow a proven path that reduces risk and accelerates deployment of 5G networks.

To learn more about Dell Technologies’ data protection solutions for 5G networks, see the white paper “Protecting and Securing Telecom Networks with Red Hat® OpenShift® and Dell EMC PowerProtect Data Manager

Click here to download the Dell Technologies – Red Hat OpenShift Reference Architecture for Telecom

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