Telecoms keep the world connected. But even more than that, we depend on telecommunications for practically everything. From email communications to texting to phone calls to browsing the web, not a day goes by where we don’t rely on this technology to make our lives easier — and better. It’s become so intrinsic that we often take it for granted; it’s convenience is readily available for us whenever we need it, day or night.

Yet, it’s our reliance on telecoms that makes the industry a major target for cyber criminals. Telecom providers must manage complex infrastructure and store important and significant amounts of consumer data in order to meet our communication needs, both of which are inviting to hackers and scammers. 

There are two types of cyberattacks that telecommunication companies must worry about. The first are attacks that are directed at the organizations themselves. The second are indirect attacks that affect providers, but are meant for the company’s customers. While telecom providers have implemented security measures to thwart off potential attacks, they still do happen.

No matter how safe you believe your organization is from cyber criminals, security should still be your top priority. If cyber criminals breach your company, they have full access to your customers’ personal and sensitive data, they can intercept calls and spy on user activity, and can even manipulate and impersonate other subscribers. 

Telecom companies are well aware of the dangers of cyber crime and most are doing anything they can to protect their infrastructure and their consumers, but reports have shown that there are still providers that are struggling to successfully handle cyber criminals. One report in particular showed that it’s been taking some companies an average of 18 hours to respond to an attack. This doesn’t sound relatively long, but when you think about how quickly hackers and scanners move, 18 hours can be a lifetime. And before you know it, you and your customers have been compromised and now you’re forced to be reactive, rather than proactive.

Cyber crime will only continue to increase with the advent of 5G. So, what can providers do? The easiest way to increase security measures is through awareness. Your employees should already know about the dangers of cyber crime and should know what red flags to watch out for that could indicate potential attacks. But this isn’t enough. Companies must also have a comprehensive strategy for what to do if an attack were to happen. Just these two elements could save your company money, but more importantly, it could save your credible reputation. 

Part of your strategy should also be having the right technology in place. All of your telecom infrastructure should be protected under appropriate and effective security solutions. These solutions work to detect breaches just as an employee would, but digital measures are often faster and more efficient than the human eye. The sooner a potential hack is detected, the less damage a cyber criminal can do. 

As the telecom industry continues to progress forward and enhance communication efforts for communities around the world, it’s more important than ever that providers have their services and their customers’ privacy top-of-mind.