As we implement 5G networks and leverage more devices and data availability to power the global economy, we must ensure that the critical telecommunications network infrastructure behind the new 5G networks is secure. New applications ranging from autonomous vehicles, robotics and machine learning, to fully automated smart buildings, and augmented and virtual reality – the next generation of technology will depend on the 5G infrastructure backbone. If that 5G infrastructure is not secure, it leaves the networks and everything that traverses them vulnerable to cyberattacks and harmful back-door data breaches that could threaten national security, devastate consumer confidence, and drag global economic growth.

Government, industry, and consumers all agree on the need for a secure supply chain throughout the Information Communications Technology (ICT) industry. And policymakers across the globe are beginning to take action to help secure the ICT supply chain. However, relying on government actions alone will not address the ongoing needs for secure ICT networks. Without industry leadership at the helm, well-intentioned attempts to solve this issue can actually produce undesirable results through inefficient bureaucracies, unnecessary trade restrictions and regulations, and decreased competition – risking higher consumer prices and reduced profits.

The only way to ensure our networks can be trusted is through detailed, industry-driven standards that define specifications for security and programs that ensure compliance with these standards. That’s why TIA recently launched a new initiative to create new global standards and programs to ensure the integrity of the global ICT supply chain.

Through TIA’s QuEST Forum organization, the formation of an industry task force and committees have been initiated to begin developing standards and assessment programs for ICT supply chain security that will:

  • Define requirements and provide a consistent, common, and mutually understood set of security expectations through ongoing comprehensive measurement and benchmarking of the integrity of devices, components, and companies involved across all aspects of the global ICT supply chain. These requirements will be continually and pro-actively updated as technology advances to stay ahead of risks rather than addressing them after an incident occurs.
  • Provide transparent, comprehensive reporting that identifies trusted manufacturers, buyers, suppliers, service providers, integrators, and contractors, while allowing these companies to monitor, track, and continually improve the integrity of their products and services and raise the bar on security as technology evolves.
  • Eliminate the need for multiple different security standards and unnecessary government regulations and intervention, thereby reducing the cost of doing business and enabling ongoing innovation and investment in new products and technologies.

Everyone stands to benefit from trusted and reliable network infrastructure. The ICT industry must lead the way on supply chain security, and TIA is prepared to take the lead on behalf of the ICT industry.

You can read more about TIA’s vision to secure the supply chain by downloading our new position paper. Email supplychainsecurity@tiaonline.org to learn more about TIA’s task force to develop standards.