Juniper Makes VoIP Security Push

Looking to accelerate the shift of enterprises and service providers to Voice over IP (define), Juniper today announced security enhancements to its NetScreen ScreenOS operating system.

The network equipment giant said the improvements will help customers deploy VoIP, peer-to-peer (define) and instant messaging applications while protecting against hijacked calls and Denial-of-Service (define) attacks.

New NetScreen ScreenOS features include: integrated Web filtering; extended deep inspection firewall capabilities; and support for Windows protocols commonly targeted for attack.

“Many organizations recognize the benefits that new applications, such as VoIP and IM provide, but struggle with balancing the increasing network complexity and security risks,” Jeff Wilson, executive director of Infonetics Research said in a statement.

ScreenOS version 5.1 will be available later this month for Juniper’s integrated firewall/VPN appliances and systems. ScreenOS will be offered as a standard upgrade for current customers with an existing Juniper support contract. An annual subscription fee is required for Web filtering.

In recent months, several high-profile companies have announced plans to adopt VoIP.

Last month, Bank of America said it would install 180,000 IP phones in 5,800 facilities in 29 states and Washington, D.C., over three years. Juniper rival Cisco will supply the phones and networking equipment for the project, which EDS will monitor.

In addition to long-distance savings, companies moving to IP systems expect to cut maintenance costs, because they have only one network to manage. Also, IP telephony services makes handling employee moves more efficient; businesses can scale up or down without calling vendors or ordering new cards. That cost could be significant in large companies.

A recent survey by Infonetics illustrates the trend. North American companies reported plans to double spending on IP voice products and services this year over last year.

And on the consumer side, the number of U.S. households using VoIP will jump from 400,000 to 12 million over the next five years, according to new report from JupiterResearch, which is owned by the same parent company as

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