Jakub Fabiś, Head of Sales Grandmetric
For 13 years, at the junction of business and technology, he has been actively supporting clients in choosing the best Enterprise and Security solutions. Always full of initiative, he emphasizes understanding the needs and goals of management and technical departments. He participated in the preparatory phase of security audit projects at Grandmetric’s key clients. He takes care of projects related to the digital transformation of clients from the industrial sector.
When I remember one of the first voice system projects that I had the pleasure of implementing, I get goosebumps. And not because of the considerable complexity of the system, which included an Ascom paging system, PBX, DECT telephones and Wi-Fi. All because of the elevator in which I witnessed the transport of corpses for the first time in my life. The implementation of the voice system froze my blood. Literally.
I remember PBX applicances that weighed 30 kg each and took up 3-5 U. Huge, heavy, analog colossi. Since then, I have implemented many voice systems and a lot has changed. Today we are able to service the entire organization from a 20x5cm box. Magic.
Still, despite significant technological progress, many organizations base their communication on PBX that are so old that they will soon share the fate of my passenger in the elevator.
The outdated infrastructure is to blame for everything. Most of the exchanges were installed years ago and as long as they work, nobody touches or upgrades them. This state of affairs means that aging systems require engineers familiar with them. They are getting harder and harder to find, and if you do, their intervention costs a small fortune.
Development of outdated infrastructure is usually patch upon patch. We add more systems, try to integrate them, which results in a monster that is difficult to manage and even more difficult to implement effective troubleshooting. In the case of commercial companies, a failure usually means monetary losses, but in local government units, energy companies or hospitals, the consequences of interrupting communication are much more serious.
From my perspective, I recommend uprooting it and switching to a modern and scalable solution. Nowadays, innovaphone can equip businesses with functionalities known from big global names, combined with such easy management that every trained administrator can handle it on their own.
It’s a rare gem. The control panels are fully analog or at most offer FXS or expansion cards. Up to a point, they may be enough, but they do not provide the scale that keeps up with the development of the organization. Speaking of growth and scaling, for organizations that grow by acquiring or connecting more units, head office bandwidth is important to ensure connectivity across all branches. Modern innovaphone solutions allow, if the first exchange is full, to use another one, which does not interfere with the operation of the system and provides a wide range of functionalities such as Unified Communications, application extensions or mobility.
In the case of entities of strategic importance, such as the public sector, pfices, energy companies or hospitals, I often encounter reluctance towards cloud solutions (at least in Poland). Thanks to flexible implementation, we can also respond to such restrictions. All system functions can be implemented in any model - on-premise, hybrid or fully cloud-based, depending on the needs and requirements of the project.
Let’s start from the end, i.e. from the state we should strive for when taking care of communication in modern organizations. I will base my reflections on the security of voice systems on the example of solutions from innovaphone, our technology partner and the only supplier I know that is so focused on secure communication.
The innovaphone system comprises:
• IP phones
• Built-in security mechanisms
• Unified Communications
The heart of the voice system is the already recalled exchange, i.e. PBX (Private Branch Exchange). All voice communication and signaling takes place through it in real time. Mechanisms ensuring the security and confidentiality of connections should also be implemented here, such as Session Border Controller or Reverse Proxy. But more on that a bit later.
From the simplest, with a small display, to advanced desk phones used in secretarial exchanges. The excellent quality of calls on both sides is ensured by the use of the G722 codec. In the context of safety, the place of production is important. The innovaphone phones we offer are manufactured in Europe, not in Asia, and additionally serviced and repaired here, which is of particular importance for companies focusing on Green IT, shortening supply chains or simply looking for savings.
Another element of modern telephone systems is mobile, i.e. wireless solutions that support both DECT and Wi-Fi. Any tablets, mobile phones or laptops that we use "off the desk" should have appropriate softphone software that allows you to receive calls to landline numbers from anywhere. A very convenient solution, especially when employees use a hybrid model, i.e. they work partly from the office and partly from home.
Voice calls, video calls, chats, also faxes, using the T38 or G711 codec. innovaphone uses the UCC client for this purpose, thanks to which it enables users to access all communication channels, including voice, video, instant messaging and others, via a single interface. The UCC client is available for desktop and mobile devices (native or browser-based), making it easy for users to stay connected and productive no matter where they are.
PBX from innovaphone is also a bridge to applications - either made by innovaphone or by external vendors. The platform fulfills the promise from innovaphone tagline “more than communication”. One of the particularly interesting applications is the one to record voice conversations. This one is made by innovaphone, but if you have your developers, you can also use the open SDK and connect your apps. If you don’t have a team, we at Grandmetric can help.
The SBC controller is installed between the firewall and the PBX. Its task is to secure SIP trunks. Usually, the SBC is a separate appliance, often requiring additional licenses. innovaphone is the only manufacturer I know that embeds SBC functionality into the PBX, thus saving customers space, budget and hassle.
What does this mean in practice? We do not need to train staff in the use of various devices and management panels. Responsibility for securing the connection rests with one party, which saves discussions with several support teams, each of whom shifts responsibility. If we have SBCs located directly in the innovaphone solution then we have a single point of contact.
The second security feature built into the innovaphone solution is the Reverse Proxy, which secures an external user (e.g. a remote worker) who joins the PBX from home, on vacation or any other way. With Reverse Proxy, addresses are translated in the opposite direction. Security is also ensured by the ability to create black and white lists and the system intrusion detection function.
But it is not everything.
• If we use innovaphone phones, the connection is encrypted end to end with DTLS-SRTP protocols.
• User authentication is made with EAP-TLS.
• Media is encrypted with TLS.
• Other security protocols used in innovaphone solutions: ICE, STUN, TURN.
• innovaphone uses their own, closed operation system, which minimizes security vulnerabilities.
• The system ensures full redundancy.
• The equipment is manufactured in Europe, in accordance with European norms and standards.
Migration from oudated and obsolete PBX to contemporary solutions is a step towards increasing the efficiency and security of communication in organizations. Thanks to innovaphone solutions we can address new challenges and provide businesses with a comprehensive and manageable solution with built-in security mechanisms. What’s more (and important to me, personally) - the implementation won’t scare us to death.
If you are thinking of changing your old Alcatel, Siemens or other PBX, and add new flavors to your communication, let’s get in touch. We will help you pick a solution best suited for your business needs.