Poll shows voice quality is the top concern, followed by security, for voice over IP users
When it comes to rolling out voice over IP (VoIP), the top priority for businesses is call quality, according to a silicon.com reader poll. But security issues also make a strong showing on techies' radars.
Asked whether "call quality, cost, interoperability of equipment or security" is their "biggest concern", 40 per cent of respondents singled out call quality.
VoIP security - which covers issues such as spit and vishing - came second, selected by 26 per cent of respondents. This was followed by concern over interoperability of equipment, which is the biggest priority for 20 per cent of those polled.
Cost, meanwhile, is the lowest priority for silicon.com readers - it was selected by 14 per cent of poll respondents.
The findings are backed up by research from AT&T and the Economist Intelligence Unit, which also found strong concern over security. Twenty-six per cent of those polled cited "network security issues" as a "major barrier" to implementing a converged IP network at their company.
Call quality and cost, meanwhile, were significant obstacles to rolling out VoIP for 17 per cent and 16 per cent respectively. The survey questioned 395 global executives from a range of industries.
Issues of VoIP security are a clear concern for some leading IT users.
Gavin Whatrup, group IT director at Creston, told silicon.com: "Despite [VoIP's] relative maturity VoIP hacking is still in its infancy. This means that there is probably a lot more pain to be felt before security becomes embedded in the design."
Martin Joy, CIO of risk consultancy Control Risks, said: "On balance convergence is seen as a plus but there are threats which have to be assessed continually."
Mike Roberts, IT director at the London Clinic, which is planning to roll out VoIP in the next 18 months, told silicon.com he would be looking for "some form of encryption" before making the switch.
Earlier this month, however, a two-thirds majority of silicon.com's CIO Jury expressed the view that voice over IP is secure enough for business - and instead talked up its business benefits, such as cheaper calls and the fact it offers "a single communications point" encompassing email, voicemail and fax.
Paul Broome, CTO of 192.com, also pointed out that security is not a problem exclusive to IP telephony: "Secure? What are you measuring against - analogue phones? Anyone heard of wire taps?"
According to a recent survey, 60 per cent of businesses achieved half to all of the benefits they hoped for from their IP telephony rollout.