An assortment of information, discussions,events, news and views on VoIP Services.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Security issues over enterprise VoIP

VoIP has certainly taken its toll on the telecom sector. Continuing to replace standard telephony procedures in a majority of the organizations, particularly in developed countries like the USA, VoIP enterprise sales in have registered an increase of 31% in 2007, while the traditional telephony gear witnessed a fall of 20% in sales. IP PBX sales and converged PBX sales crossed $4.26 billion, exceeding traditional PBX revenue of $4.12 billion. Everything seems to be falling into place at just the right time for VoIP, while telecom providers are struggling hard to hold on to their consumer base, with even the Pentagon now conforming its adoption of VoIP as the standard communication procedure for the Social Security Administration.

Meanwhile, a slight matter of concern has cropped up in this story. Apparently, security is one front where VoIP does not fare well at all, or rather, is not given prior attention to. According to an In-Stat survey of US businesses, not more than 50% penetration is achieved by any security mechanism for VoIP, across all sizes of business, according to an analyst at In-Stat. Presently, there are many proactive measures such as periodic security audits and pre-deployment audits. However, it’s a rather strange observation that neither business houses nor the VoIP providers are too keen on the security issue, and this includes even large organizations. In an age where patents and lawsuits go hand in hand, and copyright infringements are dealt with most severity, it amazes me to see that no such initiative to make VoIP more secure is being taken. There are hardly any doubts over the extent to which competitors go to steal confidential information from each other. Though there might be a protocol present in a majority of the organizations stating not to discuss confidential matters on phone, my point is, why to take the chance? Particularly when you have options at hand.

Other findings by the In-Stat survey are as follows :

Over 80% of survey respondents have deployed some type of VoIP solution in their companies.
Between 2007 and 2010, 168 million IP PBX lines will be shipped into the business premises.
Usage of collaboration and conferencing products that leverage VoIP is increasing.

Though more details are not revealed publicly, this report has set alarm bells ringing across the industry, with FierceVoip being the first one to report it. Clearly, there is an urgent need to introduce security measures for this immensely popular application. VoIP has primarily made its reputation due to its flexibility and cost-effectiveness, and the past decade has seen a sudden upsurge in the popularity from being prevalent only in select areas of developed countries, to being the preferred means of communication in the corporate world. While all this be kept aside, security is one aspect that could seriously do with some improvement, more so when one considers its immense usage these days. It’s true that this technology has tremendous potential to completely replace standard telephony procedures, but until and unless methods are devised to make it more secure, the situation today could pose some serious questions.

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