Keeping up with today’s information security challenges, for the telecommunications sector is a constant struggle.
Telecommunication companies are facing numerous IT threats and a variety of compliance requirements. In engaging with millions of customers subscribing to services ranging from cable, the Internet, home and mobile phone service and even data centers, the telecom industry is working in an environment that requires proven cyber security and information assurance.
Data security and compliance are two different initiatives. Data security involves the actual defense of data, while compliance is maintaining adherence to regulatory standards. Although the initiatives differ, their goal remains the same, preventing security attacks. Because telecommunication operates within an interconnected and multifaceted environment, telecom companies must defend themselves and their customers against a multitude of security challenges. For this reason, a number of regulatory standards can apply to telecom providers, including:
Telecom providers must also adhere to Payment Card Industry Standards (PCI DSS) in order to secure the transmission, processing and storage of credit card data.
Due to the breadth and depth of services offered by telecom companies, there is a significantly increased risk of security threats. While the telecom industry is more equipped to protect its networks due to the nature of the industry, various progressive threats exist which need to be mitigated. The potential repercussions of a successful attack? Phone service interruption affecting countless subscribers, internet outage impacting millions of customers and the potential to permanently harm businesses.
Where do the greatest security risks lie? For starters, telecom companies possess extensive client bases, making them a virtual bull’s-eye for malicious attacks and hackers. The more customers, the more data. Potential damage as a result includes credit card and identity theft, service interruption and website damages. Then there’s the growing danger of infiltration via mobile devices. Likewise, telecommunication companies that offer mobile applications to customers may be offering convenient access, but failing to employ strong security practices.
While managing security challenges in the realm of telecommunications can appear to be an uphill battle, proper security can be upheld in keeping pace with the advancement of technology and the evolving compliance landscape. Doing so will prevent irreparable damage both to telecom organizations themselves and their customers.