VoIP for Small Business & VoIP Security are Finally Here

Is VoIP for small business ready for prime time or still locked down with performanceGetting Serious about VoIP Security

In the IT world, if this year could be called anything, it could be called ‘the year of the hacker’. Security, which had already been on pretty much everybody’s mind who considers VoIP for small business, quickly became an even higher priority. And recent attacks at Target and Sony only served to underscore just how prevalent and devastating those attacks could be.

But in a sense, all of those attacks and headlines have served a valuable purpose, in that they have awakened the IT industry to the fact that attacks are being performed by a much larger number of players than ever before, and those players are using a much broader array of attacks.

IT used to be concerned almost solely with attacks against web servers and public-facing applications, committed mostly by teenagers with software they downloaded off the internet. Today, it’s become clear that attacks can be committed by anyone from individuals to protestors, to terror groups, cartels, and state sponsored intelligence groups.

And the breadth of attack vectors has also widened tremendously. IT has learned that attacks can come from anywhere, and can be directed against all kinds of targets, not just web servers and databases. In an increasingly IP-centric world, anything that’s IP-based is a potential target.

One of the more enticing targets for hackers is the VoIP systems that are used by small businesses. Indeed, one of the key reasons why companies aren’t moving to VoIP in greater numbers is security. A recent study by IDC found that just 48 percent of businesses trust VoIP security. Is that enough to call the state of VoIP for small businesses ready for prime time?

But the VoIP industry is getting serious about security, and next year looks to see significant improvements in the products and technologies that support VoIP services. Some of the tools and technologies that will help to secure business VoIP services include:

  • Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol (SRTP) – SRTP is a protocol or transport methodology that allows for the real-time encryption of voice streams – something that’s traditionally been difficult to do because of the overhead and delay the process adds. However, while SRTP hasn’t been adopted as widely or quickly in business VoIP systems as hoped, the renewed focus on security in the industry may change that.
  • Transport Layer Security (TLS) – TLS is used to encrypt the SIP messages that control sessions within VoIP systems, and is another protocol that’s gaining traction in the VoIP marketplace.
  • Better Implementation Approaches – Companies are now learning to secure their VoIP networks by designing them to be secure and compartmentalized. Many designs now feature VLAN segmentation and n-tier architectures that limit access across the network, and protect critical assets like the IP-PBX.

One key theme among VoIP adopters is that security adds a significant amount of complexity to any IT environment, and VoIP environments especially. More and more, it’s clear that companies that are in the process of implementing VoIP need to budget time and money for the additional implementation and design of security for their system. They’ve seen what happens to companies that don’t treat security as a critical concern, and as a result they understand the need for security right at the start.

A number of companies, moreover, understand that VoIP security is not their core competency and will benefit from their WAN router having built-in capabilities to protect VoIP traffic without much hassle. Most modern WAN Orchestration devices are equipped with sophisticated VoIP management and VoIP security.

Cahit Akin, CEO, Mushroom Networks, Inc.

Mushroom Networks is the provider of SD-WAN (Software Defined WAN) and NFV solutions capable of Broadband Bonding that enables self-healing WAN networks that route around network problems such as latency, jitter and packet loss.



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