At the heart of OpenRAN is the use of cloud native architecture, the same architecture that is the bedrock of today’s internet and public cloud. Security practices in virtualized deployments are mature and used across the cloud computing industry. Virtualized deployment in telecom networks is not new. Operators already have virtualized infrastructure in their data centers and many have deployed virtual workloads for other components in the network including: packet core, IMS, and other applications such as CDN.
With a disaggregated architecture, operators will now additionally benefit from the security expertise and experience of today’s large cloud infrastructure suppliers in managing the security of large IT cloud environments. Operator regains control as the operator now understands what is required to build and maintain a secure infrastructure.
How OpenRAN is Built
OpenRAN is built on a cloud native platform with clear responsibilities and accountability established between hardware/infrastructure suppliers, a hybrid-cloud platform supplier, and RAN software suppliers. It enables network operators to select suppliers that meet all the required industry security standards and certifications.
OpenRAN leverages several security industry best practices used in the cloud computing industry. A “shiftleft” strategy in the software development process integrates security controls and practices into every phase of the software development. With DevSecOps integrated into the CI/CD pipeline, this also brings automation into secure code reviews and security testing. Use of automated tools for detection, remediation of vulnerabilities in open-source software and detection, and management of secure posture provides an operator with quick detection and resolution of anomalies in the network.
O-RAN Alliance’s architecture for RAN is built on the secure foundation of zero trust where network elements mutually authenticate with each other in order to communicate. All communication between them is transported over a secure interface per industry best practices specified by O-RAN Alliance’s security specifications.
To learn more about key security differentiators in OpenRAN, read the white paper Security in OpenRAN.