Unified communications and security

* Unified communications and unified messaging have more security risks than today's non-integrated systems

Unified communications and unified messaging provide a number of advantages for organizations of all sizes: users will be more productive through the consolidation of various communication types; IT departments will become more efficient by integrating management of e-mail, voice, instant messaging and fax into a single system; decision-making will be faster; and companies will save money.

However, unified communications (Compare Unified Communications products) and unified messaging come with more security risks than today's non-integrated systems. For example, today’s conventional PBX-based corporate voice systems are not commonly exploited by hackers and others for purposes of eavesdropping or infection with malware; in a unified system, these threats will become more common. 

Today’s threats that are designed to impact just one system, such as an instant messaging client, will become more sophisticated and impact all of the capabilities in a unified system. In many ways, this will make it easier for developers of malware to propagate their content and will make zero-hour threat detection and remediation that much more important (Compare Messaging Security products) .

Plus, “legal” eavesdropping will become that much easier with a unified system. For example, last week Sweden passed a law that will give its military intelligence service much broader powers to listen in on communications that comes into or goes out of the country. A unified system that puts e-mail, voice, fax, instant messages, collaborative and other content into the same bitstream will make it that much easier to sift and process for those that want to peek inside.

Future threats will become even less obvious than today’s increasingly quiet threats and there will be more people trying to look/listen in to your communications. The key for corporate decision makers is to a) focus on a more coordinated and more sophisticated set of security capabilities to address the new threat level we will face in a unified world; and b) focus heavily on encryption technologies. 

Many decision makers are not taking future threats seriously enough (let alone current threats), but they need to do so.

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