Businesses could be making the wrong call relying on the Internet for Voice

10 November 2011

Telephone calls have been transformed by the widespread adoption of the IP protocol, the technology behind the Internet, but the reputation of "Voice over IP" has been tarnished by so-called VoIP service providers that use the Internet to transmit phone calls, says InTechnology.

VoIP services that are offered over the public Internet can be both unreliable and insecure which is unacceptable for business use. However, organisations should not be put off adopting this technology but should ask the right questions of potential providers to make sure they understand what service they are buying and the service level guarantees that come with it.

Richard Quine, director of voice services at InTechnology, said:"Companies are right to be concerned about the potential security risks of Internet telephony but there's an important distinction to be made. VoIP doesn't mean Voice over the Internet. It means Voice over Internet Protocol. It's a technology that can be delivered insecurely over the Internet, or securely over a private Cloud infrastructure. Businesses seeking VoIP services should avoid any provider who uses the Internet as its primary platform."

Voice is a business critical system that not only embraces a full range of technologies but delivers a service that affects every employee in your organisation. Poorly installed and managed voice systems can cause outages. Worse, they can create security holes, which have a direct impact on availability, in turn affecting employees - who have no tolerance for telephone downtime - and their productivity. It's crucial that those looking to benefit from voice and VoIP services make sure they ask providers the right questions and ask for references.

Organisations should look beyond VoIP as a protocol and examine the whole voice service to make the most of this technology for their business. To mitigate risk, Richard Quine has the following check list for any organisation considering moving towards adoption of VoIP services:

  • Does the provider host its voice service on a 24/7 managed MPLS connection or is it just an Internet VoIP provider?
  • What is its track record?
  • What operational experience of running a phone system does it have - is it more than a simple supply and fit service?
  • If the provider is offering a managed service, ask for a tour of the facilities to make sure that it follows at least the same level of security and change management practices you do.