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As networking becomes increasingly decentralized, 5G has the potential to become a critical technology in enabling this transition. According to CISA, 5G will offer users 100 times faster download speeds, 10 times less latency and 100 times network traffic capacity. 

Yet the question of how to secure 5G networks and mobile devices remains up in the air. That’s why today, telecommunications provider Telus and security vendor Palo Alto Networks have announced a new partnership to secure one of the largest 5G networks in Canada.  

Palo Alto Networks’ 5G security solution uses zero trust to protect mobile devices and applications from being targeted by threat actors, and provides real-time threat mitigation capabilities. 

The new partnership highlights that zero trust could play a critical role in defining 5G security in the future, and lay the foundation for securing decentralized networks. 

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The 5G movement 

This announcement comes as the 5G market is in a state of rapid growth, with researchers expecting the market to grow from a valuation of $64.5 billion in 2021, to reach a value of $1.87 trillion by 2023, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 44.6% between 2022 and 2030. 

However, the question of how to secure 5G environments remains in the air. With 5G services reaching beyond the network’s edge, organizations need to have the ability not only to secure traditional networks, but also endpoints, cloud services, apps, IoT and digital identities.  

“5G has become ubiquitous and, consequently, also a major target for threat actors. Palo Alto Networks’ 5G-Native Security delivers an industry-leading zero-trust solution that safeguards mobile infrastructure and the business-critical applications that rely on it to run,” said Anand Oswal, senior vice president of network security at Palo Alto Networks.

Oswal claims that Palo Alto Networks’ real-time 5G visibility is what differentiates it from other security solutions on the market. 

“The company is helping secure 5G in a way nobody else is by offering the industry’s only granular, at-scale, real-time 5G visibility and security controls, instead of only being able to cover some network layers and protocols. Furthermore, because 5G is constantly evolving, too, Palo Alto Networks has developed a solution that allows for flexible growth without sacrificing security,” he said. 

Other companies dabbling in 5G security 

Palo Alto Networks isn’t the only prominent vendor examining ways to improve the security of 5G services. 

For instance, Trend Micro offers a cybersecurity platform for 5G and IoT which also aims to enable zero trust for mobile devices, alongside radio network access control and edge-application protection. Earlier this year Trend Micro launched its own venture fund with an initial investment of $100 million. 

Another provider focusing on the challenge of securing 5G networks is Fortinet, which announced raising $3.3 billion in revenue during 2021, and offers the FortiGate next-generation firewall (NGFW).

Fortinet’s NGFW covers the private radio access network (RAN), multi-access edge compute (MEC), and public and third-party clouds with features like with user and control-plane security, to offer enterprises private 5G network mobile security and RAN security. 

While Palo Alto Networks’ partnership with Telus is in its infancy, it does have the potential to build a new foundation for 5G security that other enterprises can look to to protect their data — not just on-premises, but also far beyond the network’s edge. 

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