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Securing Hosted Cloud Communications Comes Back to Service Provider Choice

March 10, 2015

When it comes to adopting cloud technologies and services, there is still one aspect of the process that organizations are universally afraid of. That topic is security, and despite all the advances and assurances cloud infrastructure and service providers are offering, companies are still reticent about migrating to the cloud because of security.

Recent research from ReportsnReports shows the global cloud security software market is booming, with expected growth of more than 48 percent CAGR from 2014 through 2019. That growth is being fueled by the massive costs associated with purchasing, managing and maintaining traditional on-site security solutions, among other factors. Despite the price point and growth in the industry, there is a perception that cloud security isn’t as reliable or effective as the well-known on-site solutions. Fortunately, that perception is steadily changing.

With the growth of the cloud market in general, security has improved and is now a standard part of cloud services offerings. Encryption, endpoint monitoring, IAM and application and messaging security are all becoming de facto ways to secure cloud solutions, and they represent massive revenue opportunities for software companies and service providers. The global market for cloud security was estimated at around $4.2 billion last year, in fact, and is expected to reach $8.71 billion by 2019. Cloud IAM, email security and web security are spearheading that growth, which leads to the question of how communications technologies like unified communications (UC) and WebRTC are being secured within the cloud.

It’s an interesting question, because today’s UC solutions are generally developed for both on-premises and cloud deployment (or a hybrid blend of the two). On-premises deployments are subject to the same complicated and expensive security measures other applications are subject to, but how are cloud deployments secured? WebRTC also adds an interesting component, being inherently linked to a web front end for initiating voice calls. Most developers view WebRTC as a work in process, and yet it’s becoming a common part of many broader UC offerings.

Infonetics Research forecasts the global cloud-based PBX and UC market will hit $12 billion by 2018, so clearly organizations are making or are planning to make the move to the cloud. It’s really a question of how and when, and security is an important factor in that decision. And that is largely down to choosing the right service provider.

Session border controllers (SBCs) have longed played a role in securing VoIP traffic and they are just as important in today’s cloud-based or UCaaS solutions.  

Image via Shutterstock.

“A firewall can’t look and see the start and end of a session or a call,” said Mykola Konrad, VP of cloud and strategic alliances at SBC specialist Sonus Networks. “It doesn’t understand things like caller ID and the concept of sessions that exist for a short time and then disappear.”?Which is why an SBC is a critical component when managing any type of hosted SIP-based communications.

Of course, there’s more to securing cloud communications than managing ports, and a good service provider looks at issues like compliance mandates, privacy and physical server security, among other factors. Ultimately, your cloud communications solution is only as good as the provider you choose to host it. Being fully informed about their security practices and assurances can go a long way toward feeling comfortable with your choice about migrating to the cloud.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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