The converged network—running both voice and data over IP networks—offers cost savings, increased flexibility and new capabilities. Savvy solution providers start thinking about VoIP security from the get-go, not after the fact.
Traditional telecom networks used to be considered fairly secure because you generally needed to be physically there to access the system. With IP networks, voice is much more vulnerable because of all the security weaknesses associated with IP—including sniffing, spoofing, denial of service and integrity attacks. The phone environment is exposed to the same worms and viruses that steal information and slow down the network on the data side, except these threats also affect call quality. An unprotected voice network is also a potential entry point into the data network. Voice networks need the same careful attention to security as data networks do, if not more, since there are more endpoints to protect.
The Test Center deployed a full system from ShoreTel Inc., Sunnyvale, Calif., to evaluate the ways the VoIP vendor incorporated security features into its latest offering. The system, ShoreGear-90 and four IP phones, were configured using ShoreTel 8.0. For the most part, all the security features were either built-in out of the box or could be enabled with a checkbox in ShoreWare Director, the management interface.
ShoreTel allows the network to be logically segregated by supporting VLANs and tagging straight out of the box. Customers can use existing switching infrastructure to create VLANs separating data and voice traffic. As long as the ShoreGear switch and phones are plugged into the ports designated for the voice VLAN, the system will obtain the correct configuration and route the calls along the proper network. Voice packets can also be prioritized to optimize performance and guarantee bandwidth.
Check out the entire review here.