Session-based Orientation: Vital for Securing UC

Over the years, the unified communications (UC) landscape has evolved from enabling different methods of communication across a single application to the integration of multiple methods across varying types of clients, merging at a single point from which a conversation can be managed.

As a result, a unique security challenge exists for UC providers and developers. Five years ago, for example, organizations leveraging UC solutions may have used one client for chat, voice, or video. Today that digital environment demands communication directly from multiple types of technology, most of which are available at our fingertips -- such as mobile phones, kiosks, purpose-built clients, and even social media. Because of this, the challenge involves connecting all of these methods in one place and in a way that satisfies the privacy and compliance needs around the content of each session.

Convenience Creates New Challenges

Connecting in a variety of ways, while maintaining privacy and enabling the information sharing needed to communicate efficiently and effectively, has become a shared struggle of organizations utilizing UC technology. In a single-service and single-client closed environment, thick walls surround the solutions to prevent sensitive content from leaking outside the communication environment. As communication methods open to include other types of clients and services, however, the number of access points grows and the matrix through which content can accidentally be lost or shared becomes difficult to define and manage. Establishing controls around these methods in an intuitive and simple manner is critical to ensuring that communication can remain convenient for the user as well as protected to the highest degree.

As UC technology's influence continues to expand -- and more private information traverses the cloud as a result -- you need to keep the following concerns top of mind: controlling/managing the distribution of conversation content containing private information, reporting/tracking employee access to that content, and ensuring the destruction of conversation content based on corporate policy. Focusing on each of these elements makes a session-based orientation to UC security key.

Session-based Orientation: Where Protection Meets Policy

In UC, a session is a conversation between two or more parties (people, simple auto-assistants or AI-enabled bots), and a single conversation may consist of several methods of communication -- phone, Web chat, video, secure email, SMS text, social media, and so on. Session-based orientation refers to routing conversations between applications. However, rather than thinking only about how packets traverse a network, a session-based router understands the context and purpose of the conversation as well. Since a session is the object through which a conversation is managed, it becomes a thread of the communication around a specific topic -- which may be addressed in a single phone call or across many exchanges, on a variety of services, over a long period of time.

As a result, session-based orientation is specifically beneficial to the UC industry because of the demand for seamless, multi-channel communications. Session-based orientation is also uniquely helpful in addressing some of the most pressing security concerns, because a session becomes the hook where policy must be enforced.

Organizations need to consider what communication methods they allow in a conversation; where and for how long they store historical records of those conversations; and how they secure and determine who has access to conversation content (both during and after the event). Sessions are the point in which security becomes critical to protecting private consumer data; and a UC service can wrap a conversation (or session) in a policy to control all of those elements.

As UC solutions become more pervasive, ensuring the security of the information shared along the way is a high priority for most organizations -- and with UC solutions handling more confidential information than ever before, managing the distribution of session content containing private information is critical.

In addition to securing sensitive data, organizations must report and track employee access to it, as well as take care to eliminate the conversation content as directed by corporate policy. Session-based orientation is a next necessary step for organizations moving their communications forward amid evolving privacy concerns around securing confidential data in today's digital landscape.

As digital innovation in UC technology continues to transform the way consumers and businesses interact, security concerns related to protecting sensitive data are also evolving -- so it's vital for the way communications are facilitated to shift as well.