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5G Security By Design

5G is a critical solution for unlocking productivity gains within industry. Businesses are rightly concerned about the security of 5G networks and applications, but at QinetiQ we also see the game-changing benefit that the solution can offer.

We are, therefore, working closely with businesses, leveraging our world-class expertise to help them to mitigate the risks in a balanced way so they can realise the huge productivity benefits which 5G promises to bring to them and the wider economy.

We are a key player in the Worcestershire 5G Consortium and, working closely with our advanced manufacturing partners, Bosch and Mazak, we have been using the Worcestershire 5G Testbed as a platform on which to demonstrate the potential productivity gains for industry.

To realise these productivity benefits organisations will need to migrate their business critical data and operations from the corporate network to the mobile network. This introduces risk: if there is a problem with the mobile network it is inconvenient if you cannot make a phone call, it is extremely costly if your factory cannot operate, and extremely dangerous if your autonomous car gets hacked. Therefore the security focus has shifted to the mobile network, where previously this was not a primary consideration.

Security is all about balancing the risk against the benefits provided, and doing this from an end-to-end perspective. Moreover it is about considering this upfront and in the context of the risk appetite of the enterprise or industry user. With this in mind, we have brought a Security By Design approach to the Worcestershire 5G Testbed. This has been about considering security during design decisions in a balanced way, which allows the benefits to be realised. This is in contrast to the traditional approach, when security is usually considered as a bolt-on at the end, or even worse only when something goes wrong.

The higher security requirement from enterprise and industry, compared to consumers means there is a need for them to be assured of the level of security provided, both by the 5G network itself, but more importantly by the applications and services running over the top of it. These are exactly the services which we have been developing as part of the Worcestershire 5G project.

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