The Telecom Landscape in a COVID and Post-COVID World
COVID-19 has disrupted countless businesses and industries. The obvious victims are airlines, hotels and restaurants, but there are many others as well. The telecommunications industry is definitely impacted, in both negative and positive ways. What’s happening now, and what will happen in the telecommunications industry? Research analyst firm Omdia touched on these topics in their recent report: “Connecting the Dots: Key Strategic Opportunities in a Post-COVID-19 World.”
Remote workforce can strain bandwidth
With so many millions of employees and students who need to work remotely, there is an even greater need for better broadband connectivity and mobile devices. On top of that, millions of people are spending more time online to purchase goods or entertainment, and connect socially with friends and family. The Internet has never been so important to so many people. It’s nice to be needed, but it’s not easy to satisfy so many demands, on relatively short notice. The corresponding increase in data traffic puts a strain on bandwidth for telecoms and service providers, and the increase in users results in greater demand for customer support. In short, telcos are under a ton of pressure to optimize their networks and their operations.
Governments will influence the telecom marketplace
Looking at the bright side, wherever there is a problem, there is an opportunity. The good news for telecoms is that governments have greater incentive to encourage growth in telecom infrastructure. According to Omdia, “Governments and regulators are taking steps to bolster domestic infrastructure, paving the way for the expansion and evolution of new and existing forms of ‘tech nationalism.’” While outright nationalization of telcos is unlikely, we will see more government-directed approaches to network buildout. This includes not just communications, but also cloud and infrastructure.” Economically speaking, telecommunications may be one of the few sectors to experience positive growth even in the midst of a possible recession brought on by the pandemic: “In 2020, some bright spots will appear in the markets for healthcare equipment, remote monitoring applications, and telecoms infrastructure. Investment that supports digital business models, remote working, and asset monitoring will experience positive impacts in 2020.”
Greater accountability to meet SLAs?
Omdia also predicts that “Governments will continue to reluctantly step in to further democratize spectrum and to guarantee access and minimum service-level agreements (SLAs) for citizens and businesses. An increase in government demands/expectations means that telcos may be held more accountable to provide service at optimal levels. Downtime is barely tolerated in normal times, but during the pandemic it is more negative, because nearly everyone on the planet relies on the Internet for both personal and professional reasons. To ensure that telcos meet minimum SLAs, they must be vigilant about protecting their networks, and their customers’ networks, from DDoS attacks.
Increased focus on security
Not surprisingly, Omdia predicts that in 2021 and beyond, “remote working, monitoring, and assistance will be more prevalent, leading to an increased focus on security.” In terms of cybersecurity, the threat landscape has become more complex, as bad actors seek to capitalize on the crisis. Organizations face increased exposure to threats, as their employees work from home via VPNs. Earlier this year, Europol, the EU’s central police agency, warned that it expects to see an increase in the number of ransom-driven Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. Telcos can help prevent those DDoS attacks, by surgically removing them at the perimeter of their networks with always-on, automated DDoS mitigation.
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Sean Newman is VP Product Management, responsible for Corero’s product strategy. Sean brings over 25 years of experience in the security and networking industry, to guide Corero’s growing leadership in the real-time DDoS protection market. Prior to joining Corero, Sean’s previous roles include network security Global Product Manager for Cisco, who he joined as part of their acquisition of cyber-security vendor Sourcefire, where he was Security Evangelist and Field Product Manager for EMEA. Prior to that he was Senior Product Manager for endpoint and network security vendor Sophos, after having spent more than 12 years as an Engineer, Engineering Manager and then Senior Product Manager for network infrastructure manufacturer 3Com.