Why different security solution is necessary for private cellular networks? | OneLayer

Public cellular networks have been around for years, and many security tools keep them running. Likewise, enterprise IoT networks are not new, and a wide variety of great security solutions have been developed to protect these networks. So why is a different security solution necessary for private cellular networks?

Private cellular networks are a huge step toward better connectivity

Until recently, organizations had IT networks, OT networks, and cloud networks. We now have a new type of enterprise LAN based on a cellular protocol. This LAN is no different from any other LAN owned by the enterprise when it comes to security. Here too, the enterprise is responsible for security. 

Why do we need private cellular network security?

Public cellular networks have been around for years, and many security tools keep them running. Likewise, enterprise IoT networks are not new, and a wide variety of great security solutions have been developed to protect these networks. So why is a different security solution necessary for private cellular networks?

In the private cellular domain, three threat perspectives are combined:

  • Enterprise networks
  • IoT devices
  • Cellular networks

The presence of IoT devices within enterprise networks has long been known to expose them to IoT vulnerabilities. Yet, in public cellular networks, the value gained from a compromised IoT device is restricted to the device itself.

In contrast, in the private cellular domain, malicious access to a device has the potential to shut down the entire production process of an organization. This is a direct result of devices being connected to critical entities in the network, unlike the way it was in public networks.

What makes the security products from public cellular networks ineffective in private networks?

While public and private cellular networks both use the same protocols, they differ greatly in many other ways. From a security standpoint, there are only a few similarities. Carriers’ main priority is to keep their networks running and serve customers, and their security approach reflects this.

They focus on protecting their centric core, they are not sensitive to a single antenna malfunction, and they lack responsibility when it comes to protecting endpoint devices. This is not the case for private cellular networks. In these networks, the critical component is the endpoint user. An antenna malfunction (out of a handful in a network) can harm a business to a much greater degree, and the granularity of network protection is vital.

Everyone told me cellular networks are more secure…

Enterprises have security standards and security requirements that they need to meet to balance the risks, the effort, and the costs involved with protecting their networks. To reach this desired level of security, each organization has invested in security tools, such as visibility and policy control, XDR, etc.

The cellular protocols themselves provide better features than most IP networks since they use SIM authentication and traffic encryption by default. But one does not secure IoT devices merely with traffic protocols, one secures them with designated security tools.

Unfortunately, most of the existing IP network security tools do not apply to private cellular networks, exposing IoT devices to lurking threats.

Why are the current security solutions not applicable?

IP networks were built for enterprises and cellular networks were built for carriers. Connectivity is key for enterprises while charging and monitoring devices are crucial for carriers. 

Consequently, the architecture of their networks differs. IP networks, for example, were initially designed in a way that allows them to connect as efficiently as possible, which resulted in their MESH-like architecture. In contrast to them, a cellular network has a star topology (like a network that has just one router).

Therefore, there are three main changes between enterprise IP networks and enterprise cellular networks that prevent the current security products from adapting.

The Network Access Control (NAC) absence

Routing of network traffic is not done by IP switches but by the cellular core (and in the future with the O-RAN too). This prevents the implementation of an existing NAC (Network Access Control) that authenticates, authorizes, and segments the private cellular network.

The Firewall challenges

All data from IP networks flows in a single stream – headers then data, headers then data, in the same route. In cellular networks, however, the headers (signaling) and the data flow are separate. Implementing a “Man-in-the-Middle” firewall mitigation requires the firewall to correlate signals and data from two routes in real-time, and that is a difficult task.

Due to the increasing sensitivity of these networks to latency, this challenge has become more relevant. Also, it is important to note that cellular signaling and data routes are becoming increasingly encrypted. Moreover, as cellular technologies become more enterprise-oriented, they are being built as “Black Boxes”, eliminating the possibility of legacy tapping options.

The unique identifier challenges

IoT security can be broken down into two steps:

  • Filtering data to uncover unique insights, such as patterns, fingerprints, and anomalies.
  • Assign these insights to the source device identity that created them.

However, while enterprise LANs use MAC addresses and IP addresses, cellular networks rely on identifiers such as IMSI and IMEI. An even greater challenge arises when a cellular device tries to communicate with a server installed on the IP side of the network. So, even with the best existing IoT security products, an organization’s visibility and asset management abilities are severely impaired. Without visibility, other preventions and detection capabilities are not effective.

How can we maintain our network’s security standards?

We must bridge the gap between the existing IP networks and the new enterprise cellular environment.

OneLayer was built by world-class cybersecurity experts with a deep understanding of both cellular protocols and IoT security needs. In OneLayer, we developed a software solution dedicated to securing private cellular networks. We ensure that the best IoT security toolkit is implemented in your cellular environment, so you can achieve the desired standard of security for your private network. Our solution was designed to enable visibility, smart policy enforcement, and zero-trust capabilities within a cellular ecosystem. 

Read the complete article in the 5G Magazine

Spotlight Your Innovation in 5G Magazine

The Private Network Revolution

Related Magazine Content

Magazine
Explore Nokia’s leadership in private 5G/LTE networks, showcasing a global reach with over 500 enterprise customers and 1500+ mission-critical networks across industries like healthcare, manufacturing, and more.
Magazine
Explore Nokia’s leadership in private 5G/LTE networks, showcasing a global reach with over 500 enterprise customers and 1500+ mission-critical networks across industries like healthcare, manufacturing, and more.
Magazine
Explore how Cox’s MOCN Neutral Host revolutionizes indoor cellular connectivity in education and healthcare, offering robust, cost-effective solutions.
Magazine
Explore how Cox’s MOCN Neutral Host revolutionizes indoor cellular connectivity in education and healthcare, offering robust, cost-effective solutions.
Magazine
Discover how 5G analytics, through NWDAF, enhances telecom operations, enabling cost reduction and new revenue channels.
Magazine
Discover how 5G analytics, through NWDAF, enhances telecom operations, enabling cost reduction and new revenue channels.
Magazine
Explore how John Deere is systematically adopting private 5G networks, addressing challenges arising from rapid growth of industrial IoT and network limitations.
Magazine
Explore how John Deere is systematically adopting private 5G networks, addressing challenges arising from rapid growth of industrial IoT and network limitations.
Magazine
Organizations globally are tapping into the vast potential of the Operational IoT market, from transforming weather monitoring in remote mines to ensuring safe drinking water in African communities. The real game-changer is the integration of reliable, cost-effective satellite connections, predicted to rise to tens of millions by 2030. These connections make it possible to transmit data periodically rather than in real-time, reducing costs and meeting the specific needs of industries like agriculture, shipping, and environmental monitoring. The challenge for Systems Integrators (SIs) is to ensure their Satellite IoT deployments are not only technologically viable but also commercially successful. Ensuring robust satellite coverage, cost-effective deployment, and prolonged battery life are essential to this business case. Forward-thinking SIs have already started their journeys, optimizing Satellite IoT solutions, proving its business worth, and preparing for large-scale deployments.
Magazine
Organizations globally are tapping into the vast potential of the Operational IoT market, from transforming weather monitoring in remote mines to ensuring safe drinking water in African communities. The real game-changer is the integration of reliable, cost-effective satellite connections, predicted to rise to tens of millions by 2030. These connections make it possible to transmit data periodically rather than in real-time, reducing costs and meeting the specific needs of industries like agriculture, shipping, and environmental monitoring. The challenge for Systems Integrators (SIs) is to ensure their Satellite IoT deployments are not only technologically viable but also commercially successful. Ensuring robust satellite coverage, cost-effective deployment, and prolonged battery life are essential to this business case. Forward-thinking SIs have already started their journeys, optimizing Satellite IoT solutions, proving its business worth, and preparing for large-scale deployments.
Magazine
The emergence of 5G New Radio NTN is set to revolutionize the satellite communication market by bridging the gap between terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks. Offering improved speeds, lower latency, and enhanced reliability, 5G NR unlocks new transformative use cases from smart cities to augmented reality. With 5G NR’s potential to beam signals from space, satellite communication will gain a competitive edge, providing powerful, seamless connectivity globally. Additionally, the unification of 5G standardization for both types of technologies promises heightened interoperability, allowing users to switch between networks effortlessly. This synergy presents a lucrative opportunity for businesses in both sectors, even as technical challenges persist.
Magazine
The emergence of 5G New Radio NTN is set to revolutionize the satellite communication market by bridging the gap between terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks. Offering improved speeds, lower latency, and enhanced reliability, 5G NR unlocks new transformative use cases from smart cities to augmented reality. With 5G NR’s potential to beam signals from space, satellite communication will gain a competitive edge, providing powerful, seamless connectivity globally. Additionally, the unification of 5G standardization for both types of technologies promises heightened interoperability, allowing users to switch between networks effortlessly. This synergy presents a lucrative opportunity for businesses in both sectors, even as technical challenges persist.
Magazine
The rise of smart vehicles, projected to surpass 470 million connected cars by 2025, is rapidly transforming the transportation landscape. Enabled by IoT, these vehicles offer real-time communication with infrastructure, on-the-go diagnostics, and advanced safety features. Yet, challenges like patchy cellular network coverage persist. From facilitating autonomous driving and vehicle-to-vehicle communication to enhancing safety and sustainability, satellite-powered IoT is set to accelerate the connected vehicles revolution, optimizing transportation efficiency and environmental impact.
Magazine
The rise of smart vehicles, projected to surpass 470 million connected cars by 2025, is rapidly transforming the transportation landscape. Enabled by IoT, these vehicles offer real-time communication with infrastructure, on-the-go diagnostics, and advanced safety features. Yet, challenges like patchy cellular network coverage persist. From facilitating autonomous driving and vehicle-to-vehicle communication to enhancing safety and sustainability, satellite-powered IoT is set to accelerate the connected vehicles revolution, optimizing transportation efficiency and environmental impact.
Magazine
The mobile phone industry is undergoing a transformation, with emerging technology enabling direct communication between standard mobile phones and satellites. With regulatory changes, international partnerships, and new technological standards, mobile devices will soon boast enhanced satellite connectivity. Companies like SpaceX and Apple are diving deep into the race to provide extensive satellite communication, partnering with T-Mobile and Globalstar, respectively. As the competition intensifies, companies are pushed to innovate or risk becoming obsolete.
Magazine
The mobile phone industry is undergoing a transformation, with emerging technology enabling direct communication between standard mobile phones and satellites. With regulatory changes, international partnerships, and new technological standards, mobile devices will soon boast enhanced satellite connectivity. Companies like SpaceX and Apple are diving deep into the race to provide extensive satellite communication, partnering with T-Mobile and Globalstar, respectively. As the competition intensifies, companies are pushed to innovate or risk becoming obsolete.
Magazine
Discover how Radisys Corporation is shaping the future of Open RAN and 5G technologies. Embracing change and spurring innovation, Radisys is accelerating the deployment of flexible and integrated solutions, pioneering a new era in wireless communication. Learn how they are extending network coverage, deploying private 5G use cases, and championing energy efficiency. Explore Radisys’ strategic focus areas in partner collaboration and their extensive collaborations within the 5G ecosystem in our comprehensive article.
Magazine
Discover how Radisys Corporation is shaping the future of Open RAN and 5G technologies. Embracing change and spurring innovation, Radisys is accelerating the deployment of flexible and integrated solutions, pioneering a new era in wireless communication. Learn how they are extending network coverage, deploying private 5G use cases, and championing energy efficiency. Explore Radisys’ strategic focus areas in partner collaboration and their extensive collaborations within the 5G ecosystem in our comprehensive article.
Magazine
Discover how the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) is leading the Open RAN revolution by accelerating the commercial adoption of secure, high-performance network solutions. Tackling challenges in Open RAN adoption and catalyzing industry effort, TIP’s project groups, badging processes, and marketplace initiatives are reshaping the future of Open RAN and 5G technology.
Magazine
Discover how the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) is leading the Open RAN revolution by accelerating the commercial adoption of secure, high-performance network solutions. Tackling challenges in Open RAN adoption and catalyzing industry effort, TIP’s project groups, badging processes, and marketplace initiatives are reshaping the future of Open RAN and 5G technology.

Content, Design, And Lead Generation Services to Elevate your Marketing Efforts