C Spire’s Chief Information Security Officer: “Security needs to know where the business is going”
For a long time, increasing network availability and speed dominated rural broadband conversation; these aspects continue to be part of the ongoing debate around the pending $ 1,000 billion infrastructure bill. However, as Terry Young, 5G product marketing director and A10 Network service provider, said. Wireless CPR News, another crucial part of the conversation is network security. Rural areas (hospitals, schools, banks, etc.) are often considered more vulnerable to cyber attacks, including DDoS attacks, simply because they are more critical for local communities, but less monitored due to fewer resources. of security.
“If you look at the industry as a whole, network speed is less and less of a key part of the value proposition,” Young argued, adding that in the future, subscribers will be less concerned with have the fastest network and instead focus on the security features that an Internet Service Provider (ISP) can offer.
C Spire Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer Conrad Bell agreed that there is a growing awareness of the importance of network security, especially in the wake of hacks and recent and high-profile data breaches such as the Colonial Pipeline incident of May 2021, which temporarily halted distribution. of petroleum products along the east coast.
C Spire’s Approach to Rural Broadband Security
“Our approach to security changes daily,” Bell explained. “We look at these different attacks and make sure that we are not sensitive to the methods used and if we find any loopholes, we fill them because we don’t want to be next. “
Established as a wireless company in 1988 as Cellular South, C Spire primarily provides broadband service throughout most of Mississippi and parts of Tennessee and Alabama, which makes him an expert in connecting rural communities.
How C Spire handles rural broadband security, in particular, Bell said, depends on the situation because more important than the technology used to connect rural networks, he said, is the type of data circulating on the network.
He further explained: “When it comes to broadband, we are only talking about transport. There is nothing that increases in terms of vulnerabilities, so the approach depends on how we use that broadband connection. Each site can have its own level of threat, so our approach is determined by how we actually connect each site to the network. For example, a typical site, connected through our core, will already have DDoS and other basic security features in place, but if it is a business with more sensitive data, we will sell security services. additional, such as managed firewalls.
Hackers are relentless, and Bell said security must change as their tactics change, adding that as the industry moves towards a cloud environment and the workforce becomes more remote, C Spire is moving forward. focuses on changing its approach to security while keeping the business bigger goals.
“As an CIO, I attend all industry meetings, brief the board monthly and attend senior management meetings twice a week,” he said. “It’s not because I’m talking about security; it’s because security needs to know where the business is going.