VoIP strategy guide for the midmarket

Midmarket companies are ready for VoIP. But the technology's many benefits must be balanced with security risks and infrastructure requirements. This guide covers key areas of VoIP adoption for the midmarket and provides steps on how to get started.

Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is making its way to the midmarket. And midmarket CIOs salivate over the technology's many benefits -- a flexible, more accessible telephony system at a lower cost than a traditional private branch exchange (PBX) system. But these benefits come with new IP-based security threats, along with a need to upgrade infrastructure. This guide takes you through the ups and downs of VoIP and provides a roadmap of the VoIP journey.

For free advice and resources on more IT and business topics, visit our list of Midmarket CIO Briefings.

Table of contents

  VoIP: Security fear factor
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For years, midmarket CIOs have eyed with envy larger companies' embrace of Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, technology. After all, VoIP can be a good way to cut costs and add flexibility to telephony.

VoIP bridges the gulf between landline and cell phones and lays the foundation for the nirvana of unified communications. Imagine the productivity boon when workers can route important calls to whatever devices they are using at the time while relegating others to voicemail. "I can be on a train from D.C. to New York, plug my cell into my laptop and it's like I'm sitting in my office," says Adam Hansen, director of security at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP, a Chicago-based law firm.

Learn more in "VoIP: Security fear factor." Also:

  • Converged networks a risky business (SearchCIO-Midmarket.com)
    With the promise of a single system for voice, data and video, converged networks offer SMBs a raft of benefits -- but they also expose them to increased security threats. SMBs need to identify these threats and create a policy to address them.
  • Top-rated VoIP security tips of 2007 (SearchVoIP.com)
    We created them, but you made them stars. These are our top-rated tips of the year, as voted by you. With hackers' methods getting more intricate and sophisticated by the day, how can you make sure your network stays relatively hassle-free when it comes to protection and security? Check out our three superstar tips and let us know how you deal with VoIP security issues.
  VoIP brings flexibility, accessibility
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While many managers feel tortured when deciding whether to replace a traditional PBX with a VoIP telephone system, fate made the decision easy for Erin McCabe. In 2004, a fire gutted the offices of Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada PC in Woodbury, N.Y.

The PBX was old and a bit inflexible but sturdy. When it was burnt into junk, office manager and attorney McCabe had to find a new phone system. She found that the firm could achieve new levels of flexibility and accessibility with a VoIP system.

Find out more in "VoIP brings flexibility, accessibility." Also:

  VoIP demands upgrades, bandwidth
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You might be ready to VoIP, but is your network ready? Does it have the capacity to support the added bandwidth that comes with voice traffic? Some latency is tolerable when it comes to data transmissions, but with VoIP, even the slightest hiccup can affect voice quality. To prepare your network for VoIP, you must conduct a soup-to-nuts evaluation of your network health before deployment.

The most effective way to measure network health is to use an autodiscovery tool. Autodiscovery tools allow you see to how the network sees itself. They point out errors such as incorrect subnets, and will indicate which devices are Simple Network Management Protocol-enabled. Double-clicking on these will provide you with statistics, including bit errors, traffic passed, retransmissions, etc..

Learn more in "VoIP demands network upgrades, bandwidth." Also:

  VoIP rollout in 10 steps
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VoIP can be a tremendous boon for midmarket companies, yet the rollout can be anything but smooth. VoIP bridges the gulf between landline and cell phones and lays the foundation for the nirvana of unified communications.

However, there are risks. VoIP affects technology's greatest invention and mission-critical application: the telephone. Here are 10 steps for a successful VoIP rollout.

Find out more in "VoIP rollout in 10 steps." Also:

  More resources
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This was first published in December 2007

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