2013-08-15 12:46:39 - With the recent revelations by whistleblower Snowden about US surveillance on both online and phone communications, new discussions have been raised about the safety and trustworthiness of our modern communication channels. Questions about security risks are especially relevant with regards to easily accessible online communication channels, such as internet telephony, or public VoIP. In other words: is the private information shared via VoIP really confidential?
New York City , 15 August, 2013 - Voice over Internet Protocol, in short VoIP, converts a voice-signal into packets of data (IP) and uses the internet to transmit these data. There are several ways to set up a VoIP connection, via a secured private or internal network, or by means of the freely accessible worldwide web. The latter is also referred to as the public VoIP network. All you need to make a VoIP phone call is an internet connection, the same connection you also use for data communication. This makes VoIP communication relatively cheap compared to traditional telephony via the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). Using the internet as its communication channel also brings extra flexibility, such as
being available wherever you are logged in, and makes it easy to enhance a VoIP account with extra features and low-cost software solutions, such as voicemail/-messaging.
Whereas private and secured IP networks include safe and good quality VoIP communication, the public IP networks still pose some disadvantages and risks when it comes to telephony. Many companies seem to overlook these when looking for telephone solutions to facilitate their external communications. However, it would be good to be aware of the fact that, since public VoIP technology is dependent on an openly accessible internet connection, the quality of this connection on both ends defines the quality of the VoIP telephone call. No internet, moreover, means no voice calls at all.
More importantly, public internet telephony is still subjected to considerable security risks, such as eavesdropping, hacking or the theft and abuse of private data. Snowden and the US Prism program have shown that governments are able to monitor all the online communications we thought were private and if they can do it, others can do it too. Indeed, Vishing and identity theft are upcoming trends that threaten the protection of your phone conversations against malicious third parties. Faced with such facts, we should ask ourselves the question what is more important: secure telephone communication via high quality connections or cheap IP-based telecommunication channels?
Hans Lasonder, CEO of TeleForwarding, a multinational telecoms company specialized in the worldwide implementation of toll-free phone numbers and business phone solutions ( www.teleforwarding.com/business
), is very clear in his response: “Of course it is good for companies to keep an eye on the developments in public VoIP or internet telephony, something we do as well. However, with the PSTN network for telephony you can rely on a high quality and guaranteed availability, which, at this point, still brings far more value to businesses and offers more protection from being spied on by third parties.” The PSTN, also known as the Plain Old Telephone Service, makes use of ‘plain old’ telephone landlines that are always there, independent of the availability and quality of internet connections and are less open to hackers and other spies.
“In communicating with (potential) clients or business contacts around the world, factors such as quality, 24/7 availability and a secure communication channel are of the utmost importance”, Lasonder states. “When using the public VoIP network these are precisely the things one puts at risk. However, data and/or identity theft severely damage a corporate image which could lead to the loss of clients and business. Many business owners will agree with me that the costs resulting from such damage far outweigh the low metered costs for maintaining high quality PSTN telephone solutions”, Lasonder claims.
Furthermore, the plain old telephone service is not as static and old-fashioned as its name suggests. The PSTN allows for flexible worldwide call routing and offers extra features to enhance its telephone services, just like VoIP technology does. Therefore, TeleForwarding continues to use the PSTN for all its toll-free numbers ( www.teleforwarding.com/business/00800-freephone-numbers
) and geographic phone numbers ( www.teleforwarding.com/business/geographic-virtual-phone-numbers
) and advises others to do the same. Lasonder: “As long as public VoIP technology is not absolutely safe and sound, it runs the risk of doing more harm than good. To use an Italian saying: ‘Declare someone dead before his death and you prolong his life’. The PSTN has been declared dead by some, but still proves it great value to businesses around the world today and will continue to do so in the future.”
For those who want to be available to all their clients and business contacts via secure high quality telephone numbers, contact us for a free consultation at +800 00123456 or from the USA at 1 855 444 3210.
Anniek van Engelenburg
Phone: +800 00123456