The announcement by Pipex this week (see News 13 Sept on this site) that they have become the UK’s first ISP to develop a revolutionary ‘Boundary Networking’ concept, designed to protect remote users and satellite office networks from growing threats such as identity theft, malware and phishing has met with a response from Falk Bleyl, senior product manager VoIP at THUS.
Bleyl says “Pipex yesterday announced the launch of new products aimed at securing business networks from potential weaknesses engendered by remote working. Although this is by no means an industry first (THUS has been providing such capabilities to its customers for a number of years), it is encouraging that a consumer-focused ISP is paying attention to the security needs of business. Remote working can expose businesses’ Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) running across Internet connections to security threats and the network needs to be secured to ensure the privacy of data traversing the VPN.
Pipex’s new offerings may well be useful for securing smaller organisations’ access to their network although secure alternatives exist with support for voice and data convergence. Businesses must start looking to a convergent strategy to ensure that they benefit from the fruits of the IP orchard – such as VoIP and video conferencing – while ensuring their security. NGNs (Next Generation Networks) are the ideal platform for this, and SMEs are just as able to benefit from these IP networks as large corporates.
It is encouraging to see that others in the industry are now seeing the importance of providing private broadband networks, but more needs to be done to offer the converged IP solutions businesses are asking for. THUS has been offering private access to VPNs through Private Access Broadband (PAB) since 2003 – a solution which allows traffic to be routed over THUS’ core MPLS IP Next Generation Network rather than the public Internet. This provides a superior degree of security and performance than Internet-based VPNs.
Technologies such as IP Exchange Lines allow businesses to enable IP connectivity from a company’s internal VoIP system to the PSTN, while ensuring the security of the traffic. Businesses gain greater control and flexibility on where calls are routed, meaning they can send calls to employees’ direct dial numbers (DDI), regardless of their location, without first routing them to the original site of the DDI. This ensures that VoIP can also be securely routed over the NGN, allowing businesses the same level of voice and data security to their remote locations. The business then realises significant cost savings from removing dedicated voice networks and equipment.
Pipex is right to focus on securing networks to facilitate better remote working, but the industry needs to pay more attention to the role converged networks can play in this by prioritising traffic to enable the benefits of convergence to be realised.