Is our IT infrastructure crumbling, too?

Moving to IP-based networks is the answer -- if the right tools are deployed to ensure security.

Image from Shutterstock.com

Much has been written about the crumbling infrastructure throughout the United States, and President-elect Donald Trump even referenced the issue in his acceptance speech. It's easy to see the repercussions that come from putting off necessary upgrades to aging bridges and inadequate roadways. But the physical infrastructure for which the U.S. government is responsible isn't the only thing that suffers from overdue updates.

Legacy telecommunications infrastructure presents many of the same challenges that our aging transportation systems do. Those mission-critical communication systems are losing their effectiveness compared to the advantages of IP-based communications. With budget approvals and security concerns topping the list of reasons for putting off the transition, agencies need to realize that valuable solutions can make the migration to an IP-based network seamless.

Government agencies considering IP-based networks must weigh the cost benefits over their current systems. Although budget constraints often force agencies to lengthen the lifespan of legacy infrastructure, they might find that any budget savings realized in delaying migration is not worth the ultimate price they pay by hesitating to do so. IP networks can produce up to 50 percent cost savings compared to existing systems.

And let's not forget about the added functionality. Running a separate data and communications network is incredibly inefficient. The transition to IP-based networks enables the consolidation of data, voice, video and messaging into one network. By replacing traditional time-division multiplexing with flexible IP communications, agencies can quickly respond to changing conditions and reliably support employees wherever they are -- in the office or geographically dispersed.

IP networks also enable agencies to take advantage of a wide range of benefits, such as unified communications, simplified network management and improved cloud connectivity, just to name a few.

Security is also an absolute requirement for government agencies. As they begin to move communications out of trusted environments and onto the internet, security concerns will arise. The Library of Congress was attacked by a distributed denial-of-service attack that shut its website down for three days in July, and October's attack against internet infrastructure provider Dyn prevented access to countless government sites.

So what can agencies do to protect themselves as they migrate to IP-based networks at their own pace?

Session border controllers (SBCs) are the leading choice of many agencies that are looking for security and interoperability features for real-time communications via Session Initiation Protocol, TDM and satellite communications links. The powerful devices ease migration by providing media and signaling capabilities for interoperability between disparate private branch exchanges, allowing agencies to use existing TDM technologies while moving to new IP networks.

As far as security goes, SBCs have already solved highly complex challenges that can make an internet connection more private and secure. Although traditional firewalls monitor and control incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules, they don't protect real-time voice and video traffic. SBCs function as firewalls for real-time communications, providing complementary security for data, voice and video through encryption. They also protect against DDoS attacks, toll fraud and other IP-based attacks.

What does the right SBC look like? It is important that government agencies select solutions that provide:

  • Security. Vendors should provide security validations, such as Federal Information Processing Standards, which are the de facto level of security needed to protect sensitive government data in computer and telecom systems.
  • Scalability. The ability to maintain a consistent call flow is critical, especially when security features, such as encryption, are turned on.
  • Virtualization. Agencies are constantly seeking to reduce size, weight and power to improve operational efficiencies and drive down costs. Virtualization provides that option. Virtualized devices enable agencies to expand into areas where a hardware solution would be impractical or cost-prohibitive or where there's simply not enough space for racks of appliances.

Although bridges and roads often don't get repaired until they are no longer operational, we should not take that approach to the government's communications network. Whether it's through a hardware-based or virtual SBC, agencies have plenty of options to effectively update aging IT infrastructure, and the time to act is now.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.