Avaya and IBM, A Formidable UC and Security Alliance

Erik Linask : Convergence Corner
Erik Linask

Avaya and IBM, A Formidable UC and Security Alliance

As more and more devices are introduced onto networks, we're seeing a proportionate increase in the focus on security of the network resources accessed by those devices and the traffic that flows across them -- at least we should be.

Research tends to be somewhat cloudy, with most IT personnel and C-level executives claiming to understand they need to make security a top priority, yet additional reports suggest few have actually followed through on this.


Adding to the challenge is the fact that most users have extremely limited knowledge of network and device security, assuming that their network is protected at the core, and that what they do on their edge devices presents little risk.  If the IT department is vigilant in securing the network, that is true.  However, knowing that many IT administrators simply don't know enough about current threats, or don't have the time to deal with protecting against them, it's a safe (pardon the pun) assumption that there are many networks with unrealized security flaws.


Certainly, there are a number of companies in the communications space touting the need for increased security measures, especially as more and more businesses are adopting VoIP and Unified Communications systems.  But, the message seems to come across louder and clearer when two industry giants come together to drive the message home.


That's exactly what Avaya and IBM have done now.  As TMCnet's Amy Tierney reported today, the two companies have not only extended their relationship to further the growth of Unified Communications, but have included integrated security into their combined solution.


Specifically, Avaya Aura, the company's new UC architecture, has been integrated into IBM's converged communications offerings.  In addition -- and this is where the security element comes into play -- Avaya has certified IBM Security Systems' Proventia GX 5208 and Proventia Management SiteProtector SP1001 for interoperability with Avaya Aura.


"As more and more companies move toward unified communications, it's important that they take a holistic approach to security that encompasses multi-vendor applications in mobile and virtual environments," said Dan Powers, vice president of brand, strategy, marketing and business development at IBM ISS.


In a multi-vendor communications environment, which is becoming the norm these days, the availability of a certified security solution becomes critical, not only to protect critical business data, but also to ease implementation and management of the entire communications network.  The use of open standards only gets you half way there, but even standards-based systems have proprietary elements, so proven interoperability and certified integration is a must, with IT managers strapped for time as it is.

This strategy stands to further Avaya's -- and, consequently IBM's -- position among UC market leaders.  Synergy CEO Jeremy Duke noted that Avaya, among others, is well placed to "weather the present business environment and provide a strong UC migration story."

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