As Government Agencies Prepare for 5G, Don’t Forget Security

MAR 23 2021

A modern network security approach is needed as agencies prepare to roll out 5G wireless networks to support their missions.


by John Davis

Retired U.S. Army Major General John Davis is vice president and federal chief security officer for Palo Alto Networks, where he is responsible for expanding cybersecurity initiatives and global policy for the international public sector and assisting governments around the world to successfully prevent cybersecurity attacks.

5G promises transformative mobility, and connection speeds we’ve never seen before. While the benefits are notable, as federal agencies prepare for 5G connectivity, it’s vital that they evaluate their infrastructures for 5G preparedness because existing practices and legacy security solutions will not meet what’s needed to secure 5G.

The advantages of 5G are undeniable — higher data speeds, latency improvements, greater agility, efficiency and openness — meaning that 5G will be a major driver of digital transformation. And for federal agencies, this means stronger and faster connectivity that significantly enhances mission readiness and enables new capabilities across many environments, from campuses, logistics and military bases to aircraft carriers.

5G’s next-generation wireless technology will ensure these environments can leverage industrial-scale Internet of Things networks with ultralow latency, mission-critical reliability and a high degree of mobility.

Yet before agencies begin to revolutionize their ecosystems to take advantage of 5G, they must understand that accompanying the impressive 5G capabilities are elevated cyber-risk, expanding threats and vulnerabilities. This makes it more critical than ever for federal agencies to prioritize setting the foundation for a strong security posture early in their 5G planning or deployments.

If government agencies have not yet modernized their networks and cybersecurity solutions, 5G will make it a crucial requirement.

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