Gary Audin
Gary Audin is the President of Delphi, Inc. He has more than 40 years of computer, communications and security...
Read Full Bio >>

Gary Audin | March 16, 2018 |


Did You Buy a Security Hole?

Did You Buy a Security Hole? Cover your bases by thoroughly vetting your potential VoIP and UC providers.

Cover your bases by thoroughly vetting your potential VoIP and UC providers.

In speaking to a friend who works for an organization that provides products and services to the federal government, he lamented that he had trouble finding wares that meet his security requirements. What started as a conversation has grown into this blog. Did you know about the concern of security vulnerabilities related to products and services that use foreign technology and software? I had read about a few, but hadn't been that tuned in.

To start, here are some examples of companies in the news on this topic:

  • Kaspersky -- As explained in a September 2017 article by The Washington Post, the U.S. government is banning the use of Kaspersky Lab security software by federal agencies over concerns that the company has ties to state-sponsored cyberespionage activities. According to the article, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a binding directive that ordered federal civilian agencies to identify Kaspersky software on their networks, and remove it after 90 days, unless otherwise directed. Because of Kaspersky's presumed connections to the Russian government, the DHS said it believes the software poses a security risk, as the Post reported.

    The October 2017 Wired article, "Kaspersky, Russia, and the Antivirus Paradox," provides an update, and notes separate reports that have indicated that Russia exploited Kaspersky software to invade U.S. systems for classified data. In another case, Wire reported, North Korea hacked into classified South Korean military files through antivirus software.

  • Huawei and ZTE -- In January, tech publication Where Consumers Come First Tech posted an article discussing a potential ban on use of Huawei and ZTE products due to the companies' alleged connections with the Chinese government. Congressman Mike Conaway introduced a bill designed to bring a ban on all the phones, equipment, and services by these companies. The "Defending U.S. Government Communications Act" cites concern that these companies could potentially share national security and corporate intellectual property data with the Chinese government.

  • Lenovo -- Last fall, the Federal Trade Commission posted an article notifying consumers about pre-installed software on some Lenovo computers that caused security vulnerabilities. Installed on Lenovo laptops between August 2014 and June 2015, the VisualDiscovery software is an adware program that shows comparable products when you shop online. It puts personal information -- login credentials, Social Security numbers, and financial account information, for example -- at risk by transmitting user browsing information to software-maker Superfish without telling the user.

Be In the Know
Frustrated that he couldn't find a VoIP/UC provider that didn't present any security problems or have holes in their products and services, my friend reached out to me. Even if based in the U.S., the service providers he looked into use foreign software or have development centers outside the U.S.

If you want to be sure to cover your bases, I suggest you pose the following questions when evaluating potential vendor/providers for security vulnerabilities:

  • Are employee personal computers allowed to access production data?
  • Are webmail accounts allowed on computers with access to production data?
  • Do you conduct internal penetration testing?
  • Do you or your subservice providers allow non-U.S. nationals to access production data?
  • Do you have an ID theft policy?
  • Can you produce an attestation of compliance for your PCI DSS certification, per website? What are you doing to comply?
  • Where are your product support centers located?
  • Do you understand the potential issues that could arise from having support operations in Russia?
  • What options, if any, do you have to support organizations without support infrastructure from Russia or China?
  • Where is application development conducted?
  • Where do you do your testing?
  • Is any version of production data used for testing?

Satisfactory answers to these questions are important, although they're not a guarantee that no security vulnerabilities will be present. Read your contract to ensure that if security issues surface, that the provider, not you, is responsible for the problems. In addition, be sure to specify that the provider address the problems quickly or allow for immediate termination of the contract.


August 29, 2018

Moving your voice services to the cloud introduces new challenges for 9-1-1 services. These include the need to serve multiple locations, and the increased mobility that comes with having a phone t

August 8, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a reality for your contact center. But to turn the promise of AI into practical reality, there are a couple of prerequisites: Moving to the cloud and integr

June 20, 2018

Your enterprise may have adopted SIP Trunks, but are you up to date on how the latest technology is driving evolution in approaches?

In this webinar, youll learn how the new generation of SI

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.