The promises of SIP Trunking are many: cost savings, simplicity, and improved communications systems. As projected by ABI Research’s Enterprise Communications Research Group, VoIP-based enterprise communications platforms and services will generate more than $4 billion in revenue by 2015 and this is largely due to the wide adoption of SIP Trunking.
As with any journey, an enterprise should plan ahead and prepare for potential challenges. On the road to realizing the SIP Trunking dream, consider these best practices:
The success of an enterprise SIP Trunking deployment depends on interoperability. In VOIPNews - The Essential Guide to SIP Trunking, there are three primary components to interoperability: The IP-PBX, ITSP (Internet telephony service provider), and the border element (or edge device). The challenge comes from trying to mix equipment from different vendors in a unified IT environment, since no single vendor provides everything. Addressing interoperability upfront can indeed save time and money. To help, says tmcnet.com, conduct interoperability testing, integrate a SIP-based edge device, and make sure your equipment adheres to the standards being developed by the SIP Forum.
Contracts – Migration and Upgrades
Cost savings resulting from a new IP-based voice solution may be offset by an enterprise’s commitments to its current service providers. The migration costs themselves must be evaluated and included in the ROI for a true picture of implementation costs. NoJitter has an excellent article detailing contract considerations
To begin, evaluate the existing service provider contracts. Says NoJitter, “Understanding the dynamics of the changing spend profiles that SIP Trunking will generate, and the impact of those changes on existing commitments, is crucial in assessing the total cost of a SIP Trunking migration and determining the path to maximum savings. Shortfalls and early termination charges are typically 50-100 percent, and can take a significant bite out of expected savings.” Next, a new SIP Trunking contract should set clear parameters regarding “proof of concept” and interoperability, says NoJitter. Be sure to include a provision on how the SIP Trunking provider will address interoperability, particularly as it relates to the SIP Trunking service and equipment. Addressing equipment changes or upgrades within the enterprise, and the interoperability with the SIP Trunking service, will be essential for a seamless enterprise experience.
The essence of SIP Trunking is IP, and that means SIP Trunking opens the enterprise up to additional security vulnerabilities such as eavesdropping and IP-based attacks via the SIP trunk. Even more important is that SIP Trunking will be the foundation for a company’s Unified Communication solution. From a security point of view, this means that the risks and vulnerability are not just limited to the IP network. Network World states, “As VoIP and UC systems increasingly peer with external networks via SIP Trunking services and direct voice-to-voice peering services, companies open a new potential vector of attack. In addition, mobile and wireless services create new vectors that external attackers can use to target business VoIP networks.” Enterprises should consider security solutions that can mitigate potential risks on the network, equipment, and devices, and treat security as an essential element in pre-deployment planning.