5G and Cloud Edge Networks: Distributed Intelligence and New Security Challenges - Stefanini

5G And Cloud Edge Networks: Distributed Intelligence And New Security Challenges

An article by R. Scott Raynovich from March of 2021 comically noted, “We are now in the third year of the “Year of 5G.” But really — this should be the actual Year of 5G!” (Forbes). It seems that the trend has continued and it comes as no surprise that the 5G market has continued to expand, bring with it substantial transformations for the telecom industry.

As edge ecosystems continue to expand, service providers are poised to see significant revue streams from 5G cloud streams as the design new systems based on emergent capabilities.  However, service providers will also need to embed security into these networks as new capabilities bring with them new vulnerabilities.

What is Cloud Edge?

Edge computing involves deploying smaller, decentralized data centers at the edge of a network, closer to where data is being generated and consumed. This enables faster processing and response times, as data does not have to travel all the way to a central cloud data center and back, which can result in latency and bandwidth issues. The cloud edge serves as an extension of the cloud, where data is processed and stored closer to the end-users, enabling faster and more efficient access to data and services.

The edge shines for applications that require real-time processing, such as IoT (Internet of Things) devices, autonomous vehicles, and industrial automation. You can expect this to play a key role in the future of computing, especially as the number of IoT devices grow and the volume of data they generate continues to increase. By leveraging the cloud edge, these applications can process data locally and make real-time decisions without relying on centralized cloud servers.

The Role of 5G In Edge Computing

The arrival of 5G networks is expected to have a significant impact on cloud storage networks, and will dramatically transform the telecom sector. Here are a few examples of how 5G improves Cloud Networks:

  • Increased Speed and Bandwidth: 5G networks will provide much faster speeds and increased bandwidth compared to previous generations of mobile networks, which will allow for faster data transfer rates between cloud storage systems and connected devices.
  • Greater Network Capacity: With 5G networks, cloud storage providers will be able to handle a higher volume of data traffic without causing network congestion, which will lead to better performance and more reliable access to cloud storage services.
  • Edge Computing: 5G networks are expected to accelerate the adoption of edge computing, which involves processing and storing data closer to the end-user, rather than on centralized servers. This could enable more efficient use of cloud storage resources, as well as faster access to data.
  • Increased Adoption of Cloud Services: With faster and more reliable connectivity, 5G networks could drive increased adoption of cloud storage services, as users will be able to access and share data more quickly and efficiently. This could lead to more demand for cloud storage and related services.

It was forecasted that by 2023, 25 % of 5G use cases are expected to be reliant on edge computing; and by 2030, we expect a significant part of 5G revenue to be found in enterprise and IoT services. (ericsson.com). To this end, the cumulative revenue opportunities for digital consumer services alone are expected to reach USD 131 billion over the next ten years (ericsson.com).

As organizations transition to 5G, service providers have the option to decide which role they want to play in this emerging sector. By making progress in the network-cloud environment while market roles are still being determined, they can also gain ground.

Over the next 5 years, the most promising emergent applications and use cases for 5G edge cloud  include wireless broadband, streaming media, cloud gaming, connected vehicles, smart anything (Smart X), immersive experiences (VR/AR), Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC) as-a-service, and private wireless networks.

Overall, 5G networks are expected to have a significant impact on cloud storage networks, making them faster, more reliable, and more efficient. This could lead to new opportunities for cloud storage providers to offer more innovative services and solutions to their customers.

Building A 5G Cloud Network & Service Orchestration

The introduction of 5G will act as a catalyst to hasten the adoption of cloud architectures based on virtualization and microservices technologies. As well as technology vendors specializing in service automation, security, and cloud-native designs, this will be advantageous to providers of cloud-based software virtualization technologies and know-how.

Building an edge cloud network can be a complex process that will likely demand assistance from 3rd party vendors that can provide unified service orchestration. Regardless of how a company manages this decision, here are some general steps that businesses can follow to build an edge cloud network:

  1. Identify use cases: The first step in building an edge cloud network is to identify use cases that require real-time processing or low latency. This could include applications such as IoT devices, autonomous vehicles, and industrial automation.
  2. Define the edge infrastructure: Once use cases have been identified, the next step is to define the edge infrastructure required to support them. This could include a combination of servers, storage devices, networking equipment, and edge computing platforms.
  3. Select edge computing platforms: There are several edge computing platforms available, and it is important to select the one that best fits the requirements of your use cases. Consider factors such as ease of deployment, scalability, and security when evaluating edge computing platforms.
  4. Design the network architecture: The next step is to design the network architecture for the edge cloud network. This involves determining the number and location of edge nodes, as well as the network topology and routing protocols.
  5. Deploy and test the network: After the network architecture has been designed, the next step is to deploy and test the network. This involves installing the required hardware and software components, configuring the network, and testing for performance and reliability.
  6. Manage and monitor the network: Once the edge cloud network is deployed, it is important to manage and monitor it to ensure optimal performance and security. This involves monitoring network traffic, managing network policies, and ensuring that security protocols are in place to protect against cyber threats.

Doubtlessly, service providers of today are best placed to seize the majority of these revenue potential in developing edge ecosystems.

The shift to distributed cloud computing and cloud infrastructure enables service providers to go beyond conventional connectivity-service models and opens up new avenues for expanding enterprise opportunities and adjacent industries that are eager to investigate the novel use cases for edge computing.

In addition to having personnel on the ground and in-depth knowledge of network topology, network efficiency, device management, and other topics, they have a distinct advantage in this situation to deliver intelligent traffic routing from the mobile network to the ideal location of the industrial application.

Building an edge cloud network requires a significant investment in terms of time, resources, and expertise. It is important to work with experienced network architects and engineers who can help guide you through the process and ensure that your edge cloud network meets the needs of your business.

How 5G Edge Affects Cloud Cybersecurity

As 5G networks continue to expand, cybersecurity remains a priority for communication service providers (CSPs). The telecom industry was the most targeted vertical, attracting 37% of security attacks compared to 14% for the next-highest industry vertical according to CrowdStrike’s 2022 threat report.

Here are some of the ways that 5G is expected to affect cybersecurity for cloud networks:

  1. Increased attack surface: 5G networks will provide faster and more reliable connectivity, which will expand the attack surface for cybercriminals. This means that cloud networks will need to be even more vigilant and proactive in their cybersecurity efforts to protect against potential threats.
  2. Greater use of IoT devices: 5G networks are expected to accelerate the adoption of IoT devices, which could pose new security risks for cloud networks. IoT devices are often designed with limited security features, which could make them vulnerable to cyber attacks. Cloud networks will need to take steps to ensure that these devices are secured and monitored for potential vulnerabilities.
  3. More complex networks: 5G networks are expected to increase the complexity of cloud networks, which could make it more difficult to detect and respond to cyber threats. Cloud networks will need to invest in advanced cybersecurity tools and technologies, such as AI and machine learning, to help identify and respond to potential threats in real-time.
  4. Edge computing challenges: 5G networks are expected to accelerate the adoption of edge computing, which could pose new challenges for cloud network security. With more computing taking place at the edge of the network, it could be more difficult to ensure that data and applications are secured and monitored effectively.

Overall, 5G networks are expected to bring both opportunities and challenges for cybersecurity in cloud networks. It will be important for cloud networks to invest in advanced cybersecurity tools and technologies, and to be proactive in their efforts to identify and respond to potential threats. By doing so, they can take advantage of the benefits of 5G networks while mitigating the associated security risks.

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