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Implementing gold standard cellular network security

In the May issue of Telecom Ramblings, Mobile Tornado’s managing director, Luke Wilkinson, shares his thoughts on push-to-talk over cellular security.  Cyber-attacks are becoming more frequent and sophisticated and Luke explores how cellular connectivity and solutions offer several security advantages to the distributed workforce, supporting IT teams in dealing with network capacity and uptime challenges.

Read the article below or visit https://www.telecomramblings.com/2024/05/implementing-gold-standard-cellular-network-security/

 

Telecommunications as an industry serves as the backbone of global communication, connecting people and organisations across the world – with global data consumption over telecoms networks expected to nearly triple from 2022 to 2027, according to PwC. From personal conversations to business interactions, communication plays an intrinsic role in our daily lives, often taken for granted. Whether through traditional phone lines, internet connections, or cellular networks, organisations across the globe rely on this business connectivity to provide secure, effective and clear communications between on-site and off-site workers.

However, as this technology continues to advance and our world becomes more interconnected, the threat landscape has also evolved. Cyber-attacks targeting the telecommunications industry have seen a significant increase, doubling since the end  of the pandemic.  Given that this industry controls critical national infrastructure, a successful attack can have far-reaching and devastating consequences; whether that be financial, operational or even fatal. Cybercriminals have become increasingly sophisticated in their methods, posing a significant threat to this vital sector – and the threat landscape is only growing.

 

The growing threat landscape.

Cyber-attacks are becoming more frequent and sophisticated, with a 20% increase in organisations falling victim to bad actors compared to the previous year. The frequency and complexity of these attacks only continues to evolve, making it vital for organisations to protect their communications for on-site and remote workers due to the sensitive information being transmitted over wireless and cellular networks. Hackers constantly search for vulnerabilities to infiltrate security systems, posing significant dangers for organisations that handle vast amounts of sensitive data.

What is even more frightening, an attack on an organisation’s network can have severe consequences, particularly for sectors such as emergency services and first responders, security professionals and the military, who rely on these networks for critical communication and coordination. The ability to respond rapidly and contain the damage becomes essential, even when primary defences are compromised. Maintaining the confidentiality and integrity of exchanges becomes increasingly challenging. To ensure resilience, organisations must prioritise remote device and network security, ensuring that their wireless operations remain unexposed.

 

Network security for the distributed workforce.

As threats continue to increase in volume and sophistication, the security of remote access becomes a growing concern. Workers often rely on connections that lack the advanced security measures found in corporate and office settings. Lone worker and remote worker devices, in particular, have access to vast amounts of personal data, both on the device itself as well the data is that is being transmitted from user to user – and are frequently used for work communications and remote access to corporate systems. This is particularly relevant for military and security operations. . Without robust security measures, sensitive data is at risk of being stolen or compromised.

Mobile networks, especially with the expansion of technologies like 5G, offer a larger attack surface. However, IT professionals, including PTToC developers, can take steps to secure remote workers and protect corporate and worker information. Encryption, authentication, remote access, and offline use are essential features that address evolving data threats on devices and during transit. Implementing this multi-layered approach with regular updates significantly reduces the risks of exploiting mobile networks and devices.

Ultimately, strong cybersecurity is crucial for remote workers to benefit from mobile connectivity without compromising privacy or security. Cellular connectivity and solutions offer several security advantages to the distributed workforce, supporting IT teams in dealing with network capacity and uptime challenges.

 

 The industry shift to PTToC.

The adoption of push-to-talk over cellular (PTToC) is growing in the security market due to its wide area coverage, low cost, bandwidth for voice and video communications, enhanced feature set and integration with dispatching applications. When integrated with cellular networks, PTToC enhances security and ensures the confidentiality of communications. Encryption protocols prevent unauthorised access, protecting against potential cyber threats. Additional measures, such as protocol integrity checks and authentication of IP addresses and user IDs, aid in detecting potential intrusions, further strengthening device communication security.

PTToC can be deployed through a software-as-a-service model, ensuring seamless delivery of security updates and constant protection against emerging threats. Alternatively, organisations can opt for private dedicated installations within their infrastructure, known as an on-premise or on-prem solution, providing additional control over access. PTToC also offers real-time employee location tracking and ambient listening, enhancing response coordination and data security. Furthermore, it provides remote device management portals for centralised tuning of security configurations, systems settings and user permissions, simplifying the management of security settings across device and providing full control over device usage – also known as mobile device management solutions.

In the face of a growing threat landscape, organisations must prioritise network security to safeguard their communications and sensitive information. Strengthening security measures, such as encryption, authentication, and malware detection, is essential to protect corporate and worker information, as well as national infrastructure systems. The adoption of PTToC further enhances security by encrypting voice streams and messages, providing real-time employee location tracking, and simplifying security settings management. For remote workers who rely on their devices daily, PTToC delivers peace of mind through best-in-class security. Industries that require instant and secure communication can transition confidently, knowing they are protected by a system designed with security as the foremost concern. As the threat landscape continues to grow more perilous, PTToC emerges as the gold standard for securing our connected future.