In 2016, Security is Key to Increased VoIP and Unified Communication (UC) Adoption

Author: Michael Reiman

Among small and medium-sized businesses (SMB), interest in VoIP is higher than ever. And fast on its heels is the growing demand for Unified Communications (UC).

But even as desire for VoIP and UC grows, a surprisingly large number of SMB’s still rely on older PBX-based phone services. In fact, fully 75% or more of those companies still haven’t made the move to modern Internet-based phone services, as we disco­­­vered during market research performed by Edgewater Networks last year.

The VoIP Security Holdup

Why are so many companies hesitating to make the jump to VoIP when the benefits are well known? Concerns over security are one of the biggest factors. For people with a fuzzy concept of the cloud, VoIP can make it seem like critical business communications would be floating freely over the Internet. Worsening fears, there’s a news story every week about the latest corporate data breach and other high profile incursions. When people hear constantly about the vulnerabilities of data in the cloud, it’s no surprise they associate those fears with VoIP.

And in some cases, those fears are justified. When companies launch VoIP services without robust security protocols in place, business conversations end up being routed over multiple ISP networks and Internet backbone channels — with little or no protection. This can open a company up to a number of real threats — threats like network eavesdroppers looking to snag corporate secrets and personal employee data, denial-of-service (DoS) attacks that disrupt business continuity and can bring your VoIP to its knees, and surreptitiously routed calls (toll fraud) that drive up costs.

With those kinds of hazards, it’s understandable that business owners are nervous about moving communications to the cloud. But what many of them don’t realize is that robust security solutions specifically designed for VoIP communications already exist. Systems like ESBCs (enterprise session border controllers) have built-in functionality to guard against hackers and outside threats, making VoIP virtually as safe as PBX calls.

The UC Security Holdup

UC brings a deeper set of issues. With UC, it is not just voice that can be compromised, but documents and files employees share via unified  communication channels such as video calls, instant messages, SMS, phone conversations, and work and personal emails.

The rich UC application mix, and the sensitive pieces of data they contain, is why IT pros should take UC security very seriously.

The Edgewater Networks Answer

Edgewater Network’s EdgeMarc line of enterprise intelligent edges, for example, includes built-in security features like encryption for SIP User Agent passwords, stateful packet inspection firewalls, VoIP aware firewalls, and Denial of Service protection. And for companies doing lots of video conferencing, Edgewater Network’s EdgeProtect line provides a complete NAT and firewall traversal solution, among other robust data-protection features.

But how many small-company CEO’s contemplating the move to VoIP are familiar with technology like ESBCs? Probably not that many. That’s why, in 2016, the key to bringing more SMBs on board with VoIP is security education. Instead of just telling decision makers “VoIP is the future,” and touting the benefits, we need to address their root concerns about VoIP and UC security, and show them exactly how this technology can make IP-based communications safe for companies.

When decision makers “get” how solutions like EdgeMarc and EdgeProtect work, they become really excited about the possibilities of VoIP and UC.

To help educate companies about VoIP security issues, we put together a whitepaper titled “The Newest Challenges in VoIP and UC Security” that covers the topic in detail. If you’re considering Voice Over IP for your company but still have some questions and concerns about how to protect your communications data, you can download it here to read more.

 

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