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The new security and interoperability challenges that CIOs need to address with the rise of IP based communications solutions
Edgewater Networks provides a service delivery platform for carriers, cable operators and other service providers to profitably deliver value-added business services to their enterprise customers. Edgewater’s comprehensive solution consists of Enterprise Session Border Controllers and performance monitoring software that facilitate VoIP interoperability, security, QoS and ongoing maintenance for managed services. With more than 200,000 Enterprise Session Border Controllers (ESBCs) deployed and millions of sessions shipped, Edgewater's solution enables service providers to reduce operating costs and speed time to market.

Rake Narang: How have IP based voice and video solutions evolved for enterprises?

Dave Martin:
Enterprises have long struggled with the costs of owning and operating complex on-premises PBX and telecommunications hardware and software at headquarters, branch and SOHO offices. Now, they can much more efficiently purchase or subscribe to these functions as hosted services from a service provider.  In addition to the benefits and functionality of their traditional PBX (voice mail, auto attendant, call forwarding, call transfer, conference calling, etc.), this model in many cases allows the enterprise to take advantage of entirely new services.  For example, a cloud-based PBX can connect to existing enterprise resources and other hosted SaaS resources (MS Exchange, Salesforce.com, video conferencing, etc.) to enable the creation of a new breed of services that leverage each component.

The challenge is that traditional customer premises equipment, such as routers or gateways, are not designed for these real-time communications services and can not provide the required levels of security, quality of service and policy enforcement.

Rake Narang: With increasing risks such as toll fraud and device security, what can enterprises do to ensure that they are prepared for this new area of exposure in IP telephony?

Dave Martin:
For over 100 years, telephone communications have been based on private, dedicated networks operated by the leading service provider companies. These "walled gardens" have generally been considered trusted networks. However, as businesses migrate away from traditional PSTN telephony toward IP based voice and video, a myriad of security concerns arise that had never previously been considered including authenticating users and preventing toll fraud, Denial-of-Service or eavesdropping (stealing credit card numbers, social security information, etc.).  Even videoconferencing bridges offer a point of entry for hackers.

For example, an Electrical Utility Provider in the U.K. recently discovered that they were the victim of toll fraud that amounted to more than $20,000.  The company was using a multipoint control unit (MCU) device to bridge videoconferencing connections to parties outside the company.  In this capacity, the MCU served as an endpoint on the company’s local area network before connecting to the PSTN.  Hackers had launched a brute force attack by sending multiple call requests and access codes to public IP addresses, eventually discovering one at this company that provided access to a live outside line that they used to make unauthorized toll calls.  The hackers used a series of proxy servers that made it impossible to determine their identities or locations.

The initial discovery was made by the Telco who noticed the unusually high ISDN usage.  To avoid this vulnerability service providers and enterprises can deploy ESBCs (Enterprise Session Border Controllers) as a security device that only allows IP communications between trusted devices.  Also, these products enable network operators to implement a "trust but verify" model where call detail records can be used identify fraudulent behavior of even properly authenticated endpoints. 

Rake Narang: How can existing infrastructures prepare for the rapid growth of UC services?

Dave Martin:
As UC takes off, many enterprises are struggling with the security, quality of service (QoS) and ongoing maintenance requirements of extending their headquarters-based UC solutions to remote employees. Traditional NAT/firewalls block calls and do not provide voice or video aware security.  In many cases, enterprise IT is reluctant to make changes to the sometimes thousands of existing firewall policies that have been handcrafted over years. Additionally, the QoS configuration required in all of the network elements to prioritize real-time IP communications over data is difficult to implement.  Finally, visibility into the performance of voice or video is often an afterthought that makes it difficult for IT to respond quickly to end-user problems. Enterprise Session Border Controllers (ESBCs) can address these complexities by providing voice and video aware security, traffic prioritization and passive call quality monitoring to identify and resolve network impairments that negatively affect call quality, allowing enterprises to gain the full potential of their UC investment.

Rake Narang: When delivering VoIP services to enterprises why does provisioning seem to be so complicated for service providers?

Dave Martin:
As today's service providers seek to accommodate the wide diversity of IP phones, soft clients and PBX systems in use by their enterprise customers, they face a daunting task in the initial and ongoing certification of hundreds of different devices.  With the manual certification process currently used by most service providers, these heterogeneous environments are costly and time consuming to install and maintain. 

The culprit:  there is no standard interface across all of the manufacturers that can be used to automate provisioning, perform advanced diagnostics or ensure SIP interoperability.  Service providers can avoid these challenges through third party certification labs and using complete service delivery solutions that enable them to significantly shorten the installation time and simplify ongoing maintenance to meet the profitability goals of the service.

Company: Edgewater Networks, Inc.
2895 Northwestern Parkway Santa Clara, California 95051 U.S.A.

Founded in: 2002
CEO: Dave Norman
Public or Private: Private
Head Office in Country: United States
Products: Edgewater Networks develops products that ensure the secure and reliable delivery of IP based voice and video for service providers and enterprises. Edgewater's products offer proven network and operational savings from the customer premises to the core of the network. EdgeMarc Enterprise Session Border Controller provide a VoIP aware NAT/Firewall, VoIP survivability, passive call quality monitoring and powerful but easy-to-use traffic management that ensures high quality voice and video. EdgeConnect managed Power over Ethernet switches provide simplified administration, remote configuration and QoS for converged voice, video and data networks. The EdgeView VoIP Support System offers proactive call quality monitoring (including VoIP MOS), Plug & Dial IP phone configuration, and remote management and monitoring of VoIP endpoints. 
Company's Goals: To enable carriers, cable operators and other service providers to profitably deliver value-added business services to their enterprise customers. 

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