Secure SIP Setup Protocol: Confidential Business Communication Sessions

Security has always been a concern for companies of all sizes, but today those concerns have grown more than ever. Not only is more valuable data crossing internet networks, companies are also moving to VoIP systems, which allow verbal communication to cross those same networks. VoIP and other internet-based technologies are fast and save a lot of money compared to land-based lines and paper files, but security becomes a key question.

Fortunately, security protocols have been advancing just as rapidly as internet technology. The latest, SIP, can transmit secure encrypted communication using Transport Layer Security (TLS). Even better, this encryption can extend to all multimedia communication, and it is not limited to voice alone. This is can help especially much if security is an issue but a VPN is not an option for your company. SIP provides a much simpler approach than H.323 protocols.

Understanding SIP Trunk Lines

In regular telephone technology, the central phone system (or PBX) of a company would connect to trunk lines that were purchased from the phone company and dedicated to carrying that company’s communication. Today, however, SIP trunk lines allow a company to replace traditional fixed PTSN lines and connect their VoIP telephone systems to an internet-based trunk line.

SIP trunks provide fast communication over IP, not just for voice, but for all real-time communications. This can include instant messaging, Whiteboard, application sharing, and video conferencing. The trunk includes as many simultaneous sessions as a company needs, in the same way that a land-line trunk would include multiple phone lines.

These lines also provide additional security, as companies can use SIP server and SIP proxy technologies to ensure correct routing, apply verification and authentication policies, and mitigate any Denial-of-Service attacks. In addition, TLS security can be applied to all sessions operating through the trunk.

The Pros and Cons of an SIP Trunk

There are a large number of benefits to implementing an SIP trunk rather than a fixed PTSN line. SIP trunks provide a significant cost saving immediately, as they eliminate the need for an expensive PSTN gateway. In addition, by moving to VoIP as the standard for real-time communication, your company has the option of hosting the server, paying monthly for capacity rather than maintaining costly equipment in the office.

SIP trunks also provide large productivity gains. By using SIP to extend the reach and capabilities of the office LAN, remote workers and those in satellite offices can easily connect and communicate. Rather than limiting communication to voice, remote offices and traveling staff can use instant messaging, video conferencing, and file sharing to participate in daily work. This helps break down geographical barriers, open the door to company expansion, and give traveling staff better access to the work they need to do on the road.

There are also a few concerns with SIP trunking. The first is reliability. With a physical land-based line, you don’t have to worry about issues with connectivity cutting off your communication. However, with the right choice of provider, reliability doesn’t have to be an issue. In addition there are multiple failover solutions available, making SIP trunks as reliable or more than traditional lines.

Another concern is voice quality. If there is a large amount of data sharing the same session, some packets may be lost. There are many Quality of Service measures that can be applied to prevent this, such as provisioning of links and prioritizing voice communication in the session.

Some businesses are concerned about security when any IP based technology is discussed, but as mentioned above, SIP offers great security measures including TLS encryption.
It’s important to know the pros and cons and determine the best decision for your company. With the cost savings, security, and productivity gains that SIP provides, in addition to avoiding reliability or quality concerns by choosing the right provider and using QoS measures, SIP trunking can provide a lot of value to most companies.

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