How multi-cloud solutions can help telecom companies bolster their cyber defenses

In July 2022, the leading US telecom company T-Mobile ended up paying $400 million to almost 77 million people under a proposed settlement for a class action lawsuit filed due to a cyber hack in 2021. A year ago, T-Mobile disclosed a breach that exposed information, including customer names, social security numbers, phone numbers, addresses, and dates of birth details. Telcom companies have been at the receiving end of cyberattacks for the past few years. As if the incurred damage wasn’t enough, they also have to face embarrassing headlines, costly fines, and loss of brand reputation built over the years.

Our cybersecurity consultants have made several inferences following business interactions with telecom companies. Telecom operations have some inherent vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit to their advantage. Some of these include:

  • Giving customers the ability to create and log into accounts
  • Porting phone numbers to other providers
  • SIM card swapping
  • Sending and receiving text messages

All the above create avenues for bad actors, and the following statistics prove why telecom companies need to strengthen their cybersecurity.

  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) is the most predominant form of cyber attack affecting telecommunication companies.
  • As of Q1 2022, the frequency of DDoS attacks jumped 32% year on year.

Robust cybersecurity measures are no longer a choice but a necessity for telecom companies, as they must protect themselves from data loss, cyber risk, and identity theft. As a result, multi-cloud security solutions are emerging as a clear choice among telecom service providers, especially with the rolling out of 5G telecommunications.

The global deployment of the 5G network has already increased reliance on virtualization, software functions, and innovation across industry verticals. This development has led operators to realize that they need to extend security testing beyond the initial development and deployment stages. Doing so requires them to equip their infrastructure with improved tools and enhance security controls inherited from the 3G and 4G eras. Telcom companies are supplementing their networks with built 5G controls, which help improve their network and service security posture while simultaneously promoting the adoption of best practices and policies in their organizations.

Telcom companies are leaning towards cybersecurity solutions that offer risk and compliance (72%), cloud access security (68%), and encryption (66%), according to recent research. Our cybersecurity consultants have often advised telecom clients to opt for multi-cloud security solutions which can fulfill cybersecurity requirements for supply chain security and incident reporting obligations, increasing their cyber resilience.

Safeguarding critical infrastructure and networks from threats, reducing the attack surface, and ensuring the security of large, complicated, and multifaceted organizations are the focus areas for telecom companies. But a lack of requisite infrastructure and tools, cost-factor, and skill gaps are the prevailing challenges in the industry. Hence telecom companies need to develop a strategy that helps establish cyber readiness across the whole 5G ecosystem with changing industry and technology landscape.

A renowned cybersecurity provider in the US, Cybalt can offer customized, innovative solutions that can help telecom companies secure their devices, systems, people, and processes internally. Our cybersecurity consultants can help them map their cybersecurity strategy and capability, provide accurate data to facilitate improved business decision-making, and empower them to mitigate cyber threats in real-time.

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