Analyst firm Gartner has welcomed Cisco's launch of CallManager 4.1 which boosts encryption for IP phones and other IP voice devices.
According to a Gartner advisory published yesterday, CallManager 4.1 offers broader encryption support for IP phones and other VoIP devices, such as gateways and voicemail systems including Cisco's Unity unified messaging voicemail platform.
However, Gartner added that, although welcome, the enhancements by themselves will not drive businesses to adopt Cisco's IP telephony products.
Report authors Isabel Montero and Steve Blood explained that CallManager 4.1 allows Cisco's 7940G and 7960G IP phones to encrypt VoIP signalling and voice streams to improve protection against IP phone eavesdropping and connection spoofing.
"Encryption is already a standard feature on most IP PBX platforms, but it is generally limited to Lan-based IP phone users," Gartner's advisory stated.
"This means that encryption works only for calls made within a single platform, and is removed when calls leave via a gateway."
Making call encryption available on Cisco's VoIP gateways will allow users on other Cisco platforms to conduct secure IP phone calls.
And broadening encryption support to include the Unity messaging platform will help to prevent malicious users stealing voicemail files from a corporate Unity server, the analyst firm said.
"The enhancements available with CallManager 4.1 should improve Cisco's credibility with security-sensitive organisations, and further emphasise the need for businesses to understand user requirements before evaluating vendors for next-generation telephony," said the report.
CallManager 4.0 customers should evaluate the 4.1 enhancements, which provide "good reasons" for upgrading, according to Gartner.
Businesses in sectors requiring more secure voice communications, such as government and higher education, should also consider the benefits of CallManager's ability to provide encryption within VoIP gateways.
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