• United States
Contributing Writer

Mailbag: Who’s minding the voice calls?

Jul 09, 20033 mins

* A trick question

A few newsletters ago, I posed the question to you: Who is responsible for securing voice calls that run over a converged network? The answers I received showed the confusion over this topic as some clearly stated that it falls on the voice team and others pointed to the data team.

A manager of network services and information security says: “My opinion is that it is the primary responsibility of the voice manager… however, the voice manager would depend on the network group to help secure and troubleshoot and maybe even monitor, but it should be the voice manager who is ultimately responsible.”

Another reader says, “If we’re talking about voice over IP, wouldn’t the data people be responsible for securing IP? Assuming a corporation already has an IP network for data, wouldn’t they be encrypting it? And if they do voice over [that IP network], the voice is automatically taken care of.”

“Voice (i.e. telephone traffic) has always been considered insecure,” says one reader. “It is what got us into the business of data security and encryption over phone lines (dial up and even dedicated point-to-point circuits). The data camps have always had to secure their data. The fact that voice is now one of the different types of data traveling through the data pipes changes nothing. Data is data. It is still the responsibility of the data camp to secure their data and ensure quality of service, as well.”

An engineer, who is writing a book on this topic, wrote in and implied that this is a trick question. “Both the data engineers and the traditional PBX engineers should take responsibility for security initially,” he says. “But I think these roles are blending as more and more engineers pursue voice over [IP] interests and more traditional PBX engineers realize the implications to their lifestyles and future viability in the market that IP telephony can pose.”

He’s right: It is a trick question. In the end, to lock down voice traffic, both teams need to collaborate and bring their expertise to the table. The data team is certainly the best at knowing the intricacies of packet environments. However, the voice team is skilled in the intricacies of voice traffic. Both angles are critical in making sure that voice packets are delivered in a safe and efficient manner and doesn’t succumb to jitter and latency or hacking.

What do you think? Will the voice and data teams play well together in the near future? Let me know at