Is VoIP secure? You make the call

Thursday, 1 May 2003, 1:06 AM EST

Voice over IP (VoIP) is no longer tomorrow's technology. High-speed networks that support quality-of-service (QoS) technology have come a long way in mitigating performance and availability issues.

But what about security? If your network is robust enough, securing VoIP is manageable. But if you're contemplating Internet telephony, you're entering dangerous territory.

"That's really the wild, wild West," says Doug Haluza, director of engineering and new technology at Lexent, an enterprise telecommunications solutions provider. "There's no way to control how packets are routed, how many carriers they go across. Basically, doing Inter-net telephony is a risky proposition."

Internally, voice running over your data lines is essentially no more or less secure than any other application in your IP infrastructure. And, in some respects, it's at least as secure as traditional telephony. VoIP is here, now, and growing. When we examine VoIP in the context of well-known issues of IP data and traditional telephone security, implementation remains a security challenge--but not necessarily a nightmare.

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