ENISA is releasing its ‘Telecom Security During a Pandemic’ report at the 32nd meeting of EU telecom security authorities. Underlining the current strength of the sector in the face of the pandemic, the report also calls for increased cooperation, as telecommunications become more and more essential for Europe’s society and economy.
the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) is releasing its Telecom Security During a Pandemic report, which gives an overview of initiatives and good practices in the telecom sector to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. The report highlights the resiliency of telecom networks and services during the pandemic, which sustained major fluctuations in usage and traffic. The report also points to the need for increased cooperation between the public and private sectors as the role of telecoms expands.
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered major changes in the use of telecom networks and services: employees are teleworking; students are learning online; people are communicating via video. Almost overnight, the telecoms sector became a lifeline for Europe’s citizens and businesses. The pandemic put the telecom sector to the test with traffic peaks and spikes, combined with a national crisis and difficult working circumstances. Peaks followed major announcements about the pandemic; spikes occurred after news of lockdowns and closures. The diagram below shows the correlation between COVID-19 cases and fluctuations in network traffic on a single timeline. This is an example of one provider in one EU country, but it is representative of what other operators in Europe observed.
The report is divided in three parts:
- Early response phase: The report assesses the steps taken by telecom providers in the early response phase when providers activated their business continuity plans and supported emergency communications and communications via public warning systems.
- From initial strain to the new normal: Telecom providers had to deal with major surges and shifts in usage and in traffic patterns from the start of the pandemic. Gradually, this stabilised and became “the new normal”. The report examines the changes in usage, traffic patterns and network performance during the pandemic, and provides various examples of how providers managed the increased network loads.
- Response by the national authorities and collaboration with the telecom sector: The report provides a brief country-by-country summary of the pandemic response by the national telecom security authorities in the Union. It also highlights examples of industry initiatives, collaboration initiatives and information sharing between providers and authorities.
Report available at https://www.enisa.europa.eu/publications/telecom-security-during-a-pandemic