It’s time to come clean. I have a little secret that I want to share with you about enterprise session border controllers.
During the early days of marketing eSBCs, most of the marketing messages and pitches we created would start with dire warnings of SIP security holes, what ifs, doom and gloom of what will happen if the enterprise was hacked by an intruder. Toll fraud, eavesdropping, theft of services, and even the boogeyman under your desk were lurking just around the corner, just waiting to ruin your IP PBX (News - Alert) or contact center and destroy your career if you didn’t do something now!
You see, fear sells. But the reality is much different.
The real reasons why SBCs are deployed at an enterprise have a lot more to do with getting the work done than worrying about the boogeyman.
Getting the work done requires interoperability – which makes sense because without interoperability, none of the other issues really matter. SIP as a standard is blessed and cursed all at the same time. The openness of the protocol and the IETF RFC process have allowed SIP to be extended and enhanced, which is also its biggest flaw. Which enhancements and derivatives does your service provider use? Which does the application require? Making things more complicated, most enterprises expect to use multiple applications from different vendors – an interoperability headache.
What the SBCs really bring to the enterprise is interoperability, which sometimes doesn’t come easy. Getting a particular service provider’s SIP trunking to work with a contact center could require some simple header fix-up, or it could require media conversion to a different codec (transcoding). You really don’t know unless you do extensive homework on both sides of the puzzle. If there are incompatibilities, you’d likely grow old waiting for a service provider or an application vendor to make the required changes and re-test the entire system.
I often describe what we do as interoperability as a service, building a library of test cases, documents, and tools that facilitate connectivity between systems. When selecting an SBC vendor, look for the commitment to broad SIP trunking compatibility and an extensive list of enterprise applications that are likely to be part of your enterprise. Do they offer professional services to aid in custom or specialized integrations? If something changes down the road, what services are available to prevent service interruptions? Once the interoperability is in place, then the focus turns to security and other issues.
It may be true that fear sells, but the reality is, interoperability gets the work done.
You can learn more about interoperability and session border controllers in the SBC Resource Center, an on-line education tool from AudioCodes (News - Alert), at http://www.audiocodes.com/sbc-resource-center.
Edited by Maurice Nagle