Resilient communications are valuable in a variety of different industries. However, they are especially essential in aerospace and defense. In these sectors, an inability to communicate at a critical moment could present a serious risk to life and safety and even threaten more drastic consequences.
With the rise of 5G networks, the options for secure, resilient, and high-performing communications have expanded. However, when designing 5G resilient communications systems, it is necessary to consider five key tenets.
5G devices are commonly used to manage and transmit sensitive information. Where consumer 5G-capable devices are used for personal communications, devices used for defense and aerospace applications carry even more sensitive data and must have heightened security.
Built-in privacy controls are essential for 5G communications systems. By ensuring that sensitive data is kept private, devices help to protect against data leaks and ensure that critical devices are not especially targeted by threat actors
Identity is the cornerstone of security. Most cybersecurity defenses are based on the concept of strongly identifying a user and then granting them access to data, applications, and systems based on the permissions and access assigned to them.
When designing and implementing 5G communications, the ability to uniquely identify different devices is critical. This identifiability enables the implementation of zero-trust security principles to lock down access to sensitive and mission-critical systems, applications, and data.
5G-capable devices used for defense and aerospace may be used in a variety of deployment environments. These systems need to be capable of operating in various ground, air, and maritime environments. This range of deployment environments means that these devices must be resilient to changes in elevation, temperature, vibration, and other factors.
Validating that a device is capable of operating in its intended deployment environment requires that it be built with components certified in these environments and that it undergo in-depth testing to validate its robustness. A failure to perform this testing and certification for environmental robustness risks the communications systems failing when exposed to harsh environmental conditions.
Managing trust is one of the greatest security challenges faced by communications infrastructure. On the one hand, systems must be willing to connect and communicate with one another to build a functional communications system. On the other, rogue and malicious nodes can place the usability and security of the network at risk.
5G communications systems should be designed to manage the risk of trusting other devices in the network. The use of strong cryptography — backed up with a hardware-based root of trust — can help perform strong identity verification of other devices. Solutions deployed on these devices can also be used to recognize security threats to a device (malware, etc.) and identify anomalous behavior that could indicate a rogue or malicious actor.
Security is essential to the resiliency of 5G devices, especially in the defense and aerospace sectors. If devices are not designed and built in accordance with cybersecurity best practices and lack proper security defenses, then they risk being brought down by cyberattacks.
Security should be integrated into every level of a 5G device — including both application, operating system, and device-level protections — and every stage of the development process, including robust security testing, certification, and management of supply chain security risks. Devices should also integrate security components such as a red/black architecture and the use of a hardware-based root of trust for storing cryptographic data.
Developing Your Resilient Communications Solution
A truly resilient communications system must check a number of different boxes. Not only does it need to protect itself against cyber attacks but, also harsh environments and a range of other potential threats to its operations and security.
The best way to develop a solution that meets all of these requirements is to use components and processes that have already undergone and completed relevant certification processes. Learn more about how Performance Studio can help your organization develop your resilient communication solution.