Ooma adds Internet security service to VoIP platform

Cloud-based platform can block malicious traffic, offers parental controls

Ooma’s VoIP platform has been around for several years now – it provides a home telephone line without having to pay additional fees for landline voice service. Even as phone service prices continue to drop, Ooma can be a good value for people looking for an additional phone line (one example - dedicated 911) beyond just using their mobile phones.

But the folks at the company must be noticing that the trend for home phone service is certainly a downward arrow. This means the company needs to offer additional services in order to keep customers interested in their products/offerings. One such service is Internet security, which the company just announced.

Ooma Internet Security is a cloud-based Internet security service that aims to protect all of the computing devices on a home network. Because the Ooma Telo device is connected to a customer’s broadband, it can see all of the Internet traffic leaving the house. The new service, in partnership with enterprise security company Zscaler, scans a database of known threats to determine whether a site is good or bad. If a known bad site is detected, traffic is redirected to let the customer know that the site they’re attempting to access is bad.

Parental controls come into play in a similar matter. Users can choose to block known gambling, pornography and other bad sites completely; they can also create their own manual whitelists or blacklists through the My Ooma portal. If an unknown site is blocked, users (such as a child) can request access, at which point an email can be sent to the main Ooma user (such as a parent), who can approve the access. For adults who might like going to those sites, a “manual override” option via password can free up bad traffic. At the moment, individual profile or scan-by-device functions (seen in other wireless mesh routers or devices like the Circle by Disney offering) are not available, because of where the Ooma sits (in front of the router, not behind it). However, Ooma officials say they are looking into that option for future releases.

The service is now available for Ooma Telo customers in the U.S. and Canada, with pricing set at an additional $5.99 per month for Ooma Telo Basic customers. Customers who pay for the Ooma Telo Premier service can add the Internet security service for $4.99 per month.

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