The acquisition this week of Sipera Systems by Avaya is noteworthy.
Sipera specializes in unified communications security. Unified Communications Edge has covered this all-important topic several times during the past few years, including a podcast with Dan York, author of “The Seven Deadliest Unified Communications Attacks.”
There are a few reasons that unified communications security is special. For one thing, these systems are highly distributed and, because they are largely software-based, are far more accessible to bad guys than physical equipment that can be hidden behind locks, walls and snarling guard dogs.
That’s true of most IP-based systems. The whole idea is to distribute, limit hardware and let people roam without onerous physical ties. Unified communications takes the vulnerabilities a step further. The attraction of unified communications is that it condenses disparate systems into an interrelated whole. Now, voice, video and data are aware of each other. It’s one of the defining elements and key selling points of unified communications.
Unfortunately, it also is a trouble spot, since a well-placed piece of malware can take a whack to everything. That means, of course, that a compromised unified communications system is a threat to all of an organization’s communications platforms, not just one. As bad as it is to lose email, for instance, it is far worse to simultaneously lose email, VoIP, text messaging and so on.
Indeed, unified communications represents the third step of communications consolidation. The first was the move to IP. Before that, data and voice were discrete and insulated from each other. Now, at least for companies that have have moved to VoIP, voice and data share the same network. There is some danger in that. Closely tying the two via unified communications raises their value – and the inherent dangers by creating a path for malware.
The bottom line is that unified communications security is vitally important. From the product side, this looks like a good deal for Avaya.