Heading for the mainstream

2006 may be the year when voice-over-IP (internet protocol) takes off. A survey carried out by Vanson Bourne for networking distributor Zycko, reveals 54% of respondents believe there are more advantages than barriers to its adoption.

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By  Angela Sutherland Published  March 19, 2006

|~||~||~|2006 may be the year when voice-over-IP (internet protocol) takes off. A survey carried out by Vanson Bourne for networking distributor Zycko, reveals 54% of respondents believe there are more advantages than barriers to its adoption. Convergence is a priority for most CIOs as they rethink their voice and data strategy in 2006. For instance, 57% of financial institutions are prioritising convergence as they review their IT systems this year. However, it is not all plain sailing for VoIP vendors, they have their work cut out for them. End users want water-tight security measures in place when it comes VoIP. Security has always been at the top of the list of barriers when it came to VoIP. The 16th annual ITAA survey of US government CIOs says there is an urgent need for mature IT security tools. The flaws in Cisco Systems’ CallManager IP telephony servers detected in 2005 raise the question of how to secure enterprise VoIP networks from attacks. Having said that, looking at products and solutions in the market place, it is evident that VoIP vendors are taking the issue of security seriously and taking action accordingly. They are not only securing their products, but also working with vendors outside the networking arena. For example, Cisco and Intel teamed up some time ago to improve the wi-fi experience, initially by delivering better technology for VoIP. The two vendors will also focus on simplifying installation of wi-fi out of the box to improve security and ease of use. Juniper Networks has introduced its Secure Services Gateway (SSG) 500 series, a new line of virtual private networking (VPN) platforms with integrated local-area network (LAN) and wide-area network (WAN) interfaces. The solution enables enterprises to address the growing security requirements. The solution also enables enterprises to rollout secure and assured LAN and WAN-based services with the capability to scale as security requirements grow. Juniper says the SSG series is built from the ground-up with security as the foundation. The platform is designed to provide optional intrusion prevention, web filtering, antivirus and antispam capabilities to protect customers from internal LAN and external WAN-based security threats. Another thing vendors need to address when it comes to VoIP is changing the mindset of end users. Analyst firm Gartner says the perception of an attacker or virus taking down a businesses IP PBX or VoIP network is strong among the end user community. Voice and data convergence is not all that easy; hence it is critical for those enterprises deploying this technology to have a knowledgeable IT team, otherwise things can get rather scary. In addition, vendors must go the extra mile when it comes to VoIP if they want to make a success of it in the mainstream market. ||**||

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