Spotlight on UC | TelecomDrive.com
UC or Unified Communication is fast emerging as a single thread on which – most of the businesses are enabling their workforce communications capabilities and hence it is becoming extremely important to secure UC for organisations of any size, vertical or and nature today.
John Macario, SVP Global Channel Marketing, Ribbon Communications speaks with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about the growing importance of securing Unified Communications offerings and what role does Ribbon play in this segment.
How important is securing UC offerings for the SMEs or Enterprise today?
Securing UC is critically important to any business today. As more companies are migrating legacy key systems and PBXs to cloud-based voice and video communications, workers are communicating with their colleagues around the world across many disparate platforms and devices.
We’re also seeing meetings and collaboration happen over Skype for Business and other video-enabled platforms, and with the rise of WebRTC, communications are being embedded in applications to make it easier for customers and employees to communicate.
With this said, businesses need to be confident that the information they are working with is secure. A fault in a UC product can put businesses at risk of losing confidential information and private data as well as lose the overall visibility into the entire communications network. This is a particular concern given the strict compliance regulations in many parts of the world.
Our survey findings suggest that as many as 68% of companies in APAC have been victimized by attacks on their UC, including robocallers, telephony denial of service, toll fraud and more. Clearly this is a problem that needs to be addressed quickly to protect customer data and prevent loss of revenue for businesses. What’s also interesting is that 87% of the businesses in APAC believe that the UC provider should be the one shouldering the responsibility for protecting them. So, it’s clear that SMEs and enterprises want a service provider who can offer a fully secured service.
What are the key trends that are impacting UC business decisions for SMEs and Enterprise?
As with the findings from our European data, we’ve found that APAC companies with more than 1,000 employees were the most likely to have already adopted UC (34% compared to 13 to 26% for smaller companies) and that mid-sized non-adopters had the highest intent to adopt UC within the next 2 years (69% for companies with 21 to 100 employees and 77% for those with 100 to 1,000 employees).
That said, more than half of all of the companies we surveyed in APAC are interested in UC and intend to adopt the technology in the next two years, which indicates that the pace and rate of migration towards UC technology is only accelerating.
APAC buyers see a number of reasons for adopting UC, including advanced features. The top three in our survey were video and web collaboration, integration of mobile devices and support for Microsoft solutions, all of which point to the ways in which work has changed in our multi-device, on the go world.
We’re also seeing that those businesses that have not yet adopted UC would look to buy these services from a whole suite of different organizations. Most would still look to buy from traditional service providers but they only equate to 15% of respondents. Others would choose their mobile provider (14%), equipment vendor (12%), OTT (11%) or phone reseller (10%) among others.
How can service providers help with this direction? What are some of the best practices that they can follow?
When it comes to security, it’s clear that the threat is real and service providers should be protecting their customers. Security problems continue to grow, though, so one way to differentiate as a service provider is to offer a fully secure UC offering.
With technology moving as fast as it is today, it’s important for service providers to offer flexible solutions that evolve quickly and painlessly. Integrating a wide variety of features into a single service means that one solution can meet all the complex communication requirements of a business today. This negates the need to use multiple vendors, which carries the burden of higher costs, greater security risks and the increased manual effort required to maintain disparate systems.
How is Ribbon positioning its UC solutions in this space?
Clearly the way businesses communicate is evolving rapidly, so why do businesses continue to invest in hardware and software that inherently requires staff cycles and budget approvals to upgrade them? Why maintain a solution that only supports desktop phones when most of the team is out of the office?
Kandy Business Solutions is a suite of carrier-grade, cloud-based business services, designed to make changes in communication channels as seamless as possible. Including Cloud PBX, UC Clients, Collaboration and Contact Center, Kandy Wrappers offer a series of differentiated turn-key applications that enable websites, applications and customer engagement processes.
Designed around industry standards like SIP, WebRTC and HTML, Kandy Business Solutions integrate different elements of the solution within an organization’s existing environment. Kandy can support businesses if they’re not ready to fully migrate off PBX but need to migrate to SIP Trunks or replace an end of life voice mail system, demonstrating immense flexibility. Furthermore, the platform can support hosted multi-site SIP Trunk infrastructure and a sophisticated Contact Center that supports home agents. By leveraging the cloud, businesses can benefit from significantly reduced costs and enhanced flexibility across the full range of communication services.
What are some of the advantages that Ribbon is bringing when it comes to enabling secure UC communications?
Ribbon’s strength is that we can help enterprises and SMEs with one of the key components to developing a strong and secure UC solution. That is to implement adaptive, automated solutions – underpinned by behavioural analytics – to identify security threats.
Each enterprise network has normative behaviour, which can change over time.
There is no fixed analytics algorithm to combat the majority of security threats. However, behavioural analytics can be used to create a baseline for normative behaviour within an organization’s network. With this type of established baseline, identifying and sharing anomalous behaviour is much easier.
Take robocalling denial of service attacks, for example. While it may be normal at times for a high number of calls to come into a contact centre, too many calls from the same number or same area code may denote a problem – perhaps someone is trying to take down the contact centre infrastructure, for example. A behavioural analytics system with access to the right data can flag these calls to security personnel or automatically mitigate them before the threat takes down an entire network.
To make behavioural analytics work to your advantage, behavioural analytics-based solutions must be specifically tuned for UC. Once that part is complete, security professionals must then identify the threats that are of most importance and shape the appropriate behavioural analytics profile. In other words, there is a lot of data to look at, and security experts need to decide what exactly is important to them, in order for them to collect and analyse them accordingly.
How can Enterprise and SMEs future-proof their UC fabric in a cost-efficient way?
Aside from security, behavioural analytics can also help companies to optimize the planning of their networks. The efficiencies and cost-savings that this can bring is one way that businesses can maximize the return on their investment in UC and plan for the future. With a more granular view of network capacity, bandwidth utilization and traffic patterns, IT leaders can predict network resource requirements and maximize the performance of their organization’s network infrastructure.
This insight will allow them to make sure network resources are available to support the capacity of data being transferred between network locations and deliver the best quality of experience to their customers and employees.
We’re aware that many smaller organizations have less capital, fewer IT staff and typically have employees that cover more than one formal role, making each one more important to the fabric of the organization. That’s why cloud-based UC services are an obvious choice. They don’t require capital, don’t require dedicated staff to manage and make it easier for staff to stay connected, from anywhere.