The recent economic recession from with the world is still struggling to emerge certainly can’t be considered a positive experience by most accounts. But, as there often is, there is a silver lining, in that it forced companies to seek new ways to save precious dollars in efforts to survive.
Prior to the downturn, the communications industry had been talking about – and hearing about – about how unified communications would change the world, and how the SIP standard would make it all happen.
It was a worthy cause, but one which, nevertheless, failed to materialize to any great extent until the recession quickly drove the growth of SIP Trunking faster than anyone might have imagined – growth that has only continued, and is predicted to increase for the foreseeable future by most analysts.
Certainly, the factor driving the SIP Trunking market is cost, but the secondary impact is the rise of various SIP-based communications services that make up the many flavors of unified communications. As Steve Johnson, president, Ingate Systems, explains, SIP and UC are a natural extension of SIP Trunking.
“Once networks are SIP-enabled, moving from SIP Trunking to other applications, like unified communications, is fairly simple,” he says. “Ingate described is eight years ago as ‘global SIP connectivity,’ and now we’re seeing SIP Trunking offer an opportunity to do it is an incremental way, without the need for additional equipment, or even software in some cases.”
Inevitably, the conversation around UC comes around to security, which he says is also a natural extension of SIP Trunking security, in that once companies open their IP networks to allow inbound communications, they must be mindful of what they allow and what they don’t. A large part of that is common sense, like putting a PBX behind a firewall that is SIP-aware and SIP-capable – though there are a surprisingly large number of businesses that fail to recognize that at the outset.
In some ways, it’s understandable, since telephony managers never had to worry about security in this sense with the PSTN. The telephony service had a separate entry point into the business, and ran on a completely separate infrastructure, so there was no opportunity for calls to be hijacked or malicious code or applications to be injected into the data network.
So, while security has long been a topic of discussion with converged networks and IP Communications, there is still much work to be done.
Part of the burden, according to Johnson, is on the service provider community, which now has both an opportunity and an obligation to educate and inform its customers on nest practices for installing or accepting UC services, including deploying an edge device, like Ingate’s SIParator, an enterprise session border controller specifically designed to enable secure SIP-based communications.
“There is great potential for UC, and that opportunity is right there in front of people, and it will benefit them in many ways,” says Johnson. “But they have to take the right precautions – It is a different day and a different method of receiving communications.”
Ingate has always taken a hand-on approach to educating the communications community, and is making the relationship between SIP Trunking and UC the core of its SIP Trunk-Unified Communications Summit at ITEXPO West, taking place in Los Angeles, October 4-6, 2010.
“People are inquiring about UC, but we’re seeing confusion in the market about what UC is,” explains Johnson. “There is a question here that needs to be addressed and an education that needs to be provided, and we’re bringing together the experts in the field to offer that to the audience, which we hope will include end users, resellers, and service providers, who are trying to make up their own minds as to how they are going to support UC.”
The three-day event will focus on the security implications of extending SIP Trunking to various forms of unified communications, building on Ingate’s previous SIP Trunking Seminars at ITEXPO. The highlight of the summit will be a town hall-style session, drawing on the expertise of VOIPSA’s Dan York, as well as members of the PBX vendor and service provider communities, and moderated by Joel Maloff, who has extensive experience with Internet security and SIP deployments.
If you have deployed are in considering deploying SIP Trunking or UC services, or are a service provider or reseller looking to enhance your value to the market, this is a can’t miss opportunity. Make your plans now to join Ingate and a host of other SIP, UC, and security experts at ITEXPO in Los Angeles for the SIP Trunk-Unified Communications Summit, and find out how to reach what Johnson says many in the industry call the Holy Grail.
Erik Linask is Group Editorial Director of TMC, which brings news and compelling feature articles, podcasts, and videos to 2,000,000 visitors each month. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Erik Linask