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Making wireless infrastructure safer and more secure

As IoT and the roll out of 5G continue to present new opportunities for businesses and individuals around the world, society and the economy’s reliance on wireless connectivity is set to grow. According to Statista, around 50 billion IoT devices are set to be in use worldwide by 2030.

Governments are using new policies and regulation to build resilience as the adoption of these technologies increases at pace. For example, around the world, the use of openRAN technology is diversifying and transforming network equipment. In the UK, the recently introduced Telecommunications (Security) Act 2021 is set to address pressing security issues in the UK’s public telecommunications infrastructure, while the rapidly evolving technological development and use of wireless networks in new and innovative ways presents additional security challenges that need to be addressed as a political priority.

The Wireless Infrastructure Strategy, set to be developed by the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and launched in 2022, aims to put security and resilience at the heart of future networks. NCC Group is committed to supporting DCMS as it develops its Strategy and the policy and regulatory frameworks that will underpin it.

As part of this, the team at NCC Group have responded to the UK Government’s call for evidence, helping to shape the Wireless Infrastructure Strategy as it develops.

In its response to this call for evidence, NCC Group argues that:

  • Society and the economy’s reliance on wireless connectivity will continue to increase in the coming years, becoming ever more complex, facilitating increasing interconnection and presenting new and evolving security challenges;
  • The UK’s policy and regulatory framework needs to evolve and adapt to these realities, plugging regulatory gaps in areas such as private networks, edge compute/processing and AI, and promoting a holistic, cross-sectoral and forward-looking approach to security and resilience;
  • The UK should work closely with global partners to develop technologies, capabilities and standards, whilst continuing to pursue a risk mitigation approach that prioritises security.

James Williams, Head of Sector – Technology, Media and Telecoms at NCC Group, said: “From IoT and connected vehicles to industrial control systems and 5G technology, the increasing adoption of new technologies by almost every sector of the economy presents both opportunities and security challenges.

“To enable the UK – and societies around the world – to take advantage of innovation, it’s important that government policies and regulatory frameworks accurately reflect and address security challenges. As well as encouraging a holistic approach to wireless operators – which includes regular, independent and accurate assessments of an organisation’s level of resilience – the UK Government should work with international partners to develop global policies, improve its own standards, and increase resilience on a global scale.”

To hear more from our experts on the future for network operators and equipment vendors, sign up to our free webinar with Former UK Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman MP here.

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