Security fears threaten to cut off IP telephony adoption

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Concerns about the security of internet protocol (IP) telephony systems are threatening to slow adoption of the technology by businesses in the United States, new research has claimed.

According to the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a majority of U.S. firms believe that Wi-Fi networks are more secure than Voice over IP (VoIP) systems.

CompTIA's security survey, conducted by IDC, of some 300 U.S. businesses with 20-500 employees found that less than half currently trust the security offered by IP telephony systems available today. By comparison, over three quarters of respondents said they trust the security of traditional telephony systems; 65 per cent trust the security of Ethernet data networks; and 55 per cent trust wireless local area network security.

Nearly one-half of businesses polled for the study admitted experiencing an attack on their computer networks and/or phone systems in the past 12 months. Almost 40 per cent of businesses with 100-249 employees and 41 percent of businesses with 50-99 employees admitted suffering a communications network attack in the past year.

On a positive for IP telephony solution providers, 31 per cent of the businesses participating in the survey said they will probably have greater confidence in the security of IP telephony systems within the next 12 months.

"There is two-pronged take away from this concern over IP telephony security," said John Venator, president and chief executive officer, CompTIA.

"Organizations of any size can alleviate their security concerns about communications networks by developing in-house expertise through training and professional certification."

The survey also found that delays and disruptions in voice and data communications are costly for survey respondents. Disruptions in voice and data communications occur at least monthly for 60 per cent of the respondents; and 70 per cent of those occurrences have a material impact on business. For 8 percent of firms, the impact puts the viability of the business at risk. Another 28 per cent said they lose some business; while 34 per cent said their customers require additional care as a result.

www.comptia.org

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