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The buzz has been growing around 5G MEC (multi-access edge computing) as the new networking standard that promises faster speeds, greater bandwidth and optimized mobility as the technology has moved from concept to reality. 5G network edges are designed to support various use cases that will prove extremely important to organizations across the board, including video analytics, location services, internet of things (IoT), augmented reality (AR), optimized local content distribution and more.
As more organizations consider their own rollouts and environments, there are important deployment and security considerations they must address. 5G introduces a whole host of security threats and vulnerabilities such as kernel bypass, DDOS attacks on 5G service interfaces and exploitation of software or hardware vulnerabilities leading to zero-day exploits. With 5G, it is extremely important for organizations to consider security solutions that can enforce consistent security posture across public cloud, hybrid cloud and on-premises deployments, or any combination of these environments. 
The demand for an enhanced digital experience along with the increase in personal and IoT devices as well as workload transition to the cloud have driven the need for 5G. While still a fairly new technology, adoption rates of 5G have increased significantly; currently they are three times that of 4G. It is well-documented that 5G comes with promising advancements: Greater speeds, higher bandwidth, improved connectivity and lower latency, all while capable of handling millions—even billions—of devices. 
However, along with these advantages, 5G also introduces new security challenges. In addition to some of the specific exploits mentioned above, 5G not only increases the number of devices but the types of devices organizations need to protect, including IoT devices, sensors, cameras, virtual assistants, etc. This expands the network’s attack surface, resulting in more network vulnerabilities and holes for attackers to exploit. 
5G is advertised to accelerate user connectivity. Combining secure SD-WAN, a secure access service edge (SASE) component and network slicing guarantees that SLAs are met and provides end-to-end security, including UTM, IDS/IPS, antivirus and more. 
SASE is crucial to a successful 5G environment by enabling improved services and performance, increased security and faster infrastructure rollout and management. SASE works together with 5G network slicing to guarantee aggressive SLAs with end-to-end security and enables flexible implementation of Gi-LAN services in various form factors. SASE delivers end-to-end security, visibility and telemetry for 5G infrastructure and services and enforces compliance through a consistent security posture across public cloud, hybrid cloud, on-premises and MEC. SASE can also enable automated 5G rollout of thousands of devices with true zero-touch using a SASE orchestrator and leverages elastic autoscaling and network intelligence to meet real-time capacity demands.
For all organizations, security breaches, power outages or any incidents that result in downtime can be extremely costly. Whether it’s an elementary school with lean IT or a large global enterprise, ensuring a rapid 5G rollout is crucial for agile IT and meeting the new networking and security requirements of users. 5G solutions built with automation capabilities such as zero-touch provisioning can help enable rapid deployment. 
Furthermore, organizations can dramatically lower capex and opex of their 5G networks by choosing:
Preparing for and supporting 5G networks can seem daunting. With the right tools in place, including secure SD-WAN and other SASE functions, organizations are prepared to best take advantage of all the benefits 5G has to offer while addressing new security threats.
Michael Wood is CMO at Versa Networks.
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