Security And VoIP Converge
So, you’ve been a VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) VAR for the past couple of years, and your customers haven’t contacted you about any security problems. Good, but how confident are you that you’ll have the same response one year from now? Consider this: According to Osterman Research, about 10% of U.S. companies have deployed VoIP to date, but by the end of 2007 that number is expected to jump to 45%. How long will it be before we start hearing about VoIP-based spam, viruses, DOS (denial of service) attacks, phishing scams, hacking, and eavesdropping? With IP PBXs (private branch exchanges) expected to surpass traditional PBX sales by 2006 (according to a Yankee Group survey), it only makes sense that all the traditional attacks on the data network will soon follow to the voice network. Think about it — what are the three requirements hackers and unscrupulous marketers need to fulfill their schemes?
- 1. A large target (check)
2. A new marketing platform that doesn’t yet have many standards/regulations in place — such as the CAN-SPAM Act and the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call list — to discourage their efforts (check)
3. Your customers’ unprotected networks, which are open doors for whatever new VoIP-based threats that come along (check?)
Two of the aforementioned requirements are not within your control. But, the third one certainly is. And, the good news is that many of the standard data network security tools such as intrusion prevention/detection tools, firewalls (you’ll need VoIP-enabled firewalls), encryption, and authentication procedures are applicable to your VoIP networks/solutions.
It’s rarely the lack of available security technology that’s at the root of a network security breach. Rather, it’s usually carelessness on the part of an end user and/or VAR that’s to blame. Take Bank of America’s 2005 security debacle for example, in which backup tapes were stolen and data on 1.2 million customers was compromised. It wasn’t because tape storage security wasn’t available (although the technology has come a long way since the incident); rather, someone at Bank of America thought encrypting the data on the backup tapes wasn’t necessary.
If you haven’t given VoIP security the attention it deserves, you’re not alone. But, Business Solutions is here to help. In this issue, a Tech Trends article dedicated to VoIP security provides advice on the latest security issues your customers face and suggestions on how you can protect their voice networks. (Turn to page 74 for more information.) Now is a good opportunity for you to become more than just a technology enabler for your customers. The former wins sales, but the latter wins customers for life