Unified communications present many advantages to organizations looking to consolidate all of their previously disparate communications into one system. The general benefits are well-known: UC makes business operations smoother and enhances productivity, along with providing essential cost-cutting and resource usage advantages. However, a benefit that tends to get looked over on the part of businesses and government entities is the increased security that UC and its forms, including softphones and Voice-over-Internet-Protocol systems, provide.
UC and shadow IT
Shadow IT, which is the term given to applications and devices used within an organization without explicit approval from managers or the IT department, is gaining ground in the business world as more organizations are implementing bring-your-own-device policies. There are numerous advantages of being able to bring your own device in the workplace, including increased productivity and better work-life balance. However, many organizations continue to be concerned about the security implications of allowing foreign devices to access their networks, according to Wired. Beyond the use of personal technology, IT staff are hard pressed to oversee every application being used by different departments.
That's where UC comes in. According to Information Age contributor Ben Rossi, chief information officers around the world view UC as the answer to some of the problems presented by shadow IT. With one consistent user interface, a successful UC solution negates the need for IT staff to keep track of a disconnected group of devices and allows for a measure of control over the applications being used by employees.
"An integrated user interface offers consistent user experience, security and quality of service across multiple devices, ensuring visibility and control for the IT department," Rossi wrote.
That level of visibility and control is what's increasing security for those organizations that implement UC solutions. If companies allow employees to bring their own devices, making sure the interface for communications is the consistent across the organization goes a long way toward making sure companies remain secure. If IT staff only has to focus on one system, priorities can be shifted and productivity can be gained elsewhere, as well.
VoIP and security
VoIP systems are also used to help government agencies remain secure. Cybersecurity in government is a huge issue. According to the Government Accountability Office, in a 2014 survey about information security controls, 17 of 24 federal agencies reported weaknesses that could threaten the safety and confidentiality of important government data.
"VoIP systems can be essential tools by allowing agencies to collaborate easily and quickly."
According to Government Computer News contributor Brian Robinson, the U.S. government is the leader when it comes to the use of VoIP, however. In a steadily changing climate of cybersecurity protocol and strategies, it's crucial for agencies to work together to ensure confidential information and applications remain secure. The kind of teamwork it will take to completely ensure cybersecurity within government organizations will require a ubiquitous communications system. VoIP systems can be essential tools to that end by allowing agencies to collaborate easily and quickly.
Softphone security is often overlooked by businesses, but it is one of the most vital benefits of implementing UC solutions and should be taken advantage of.