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Secure VoIP and Why Hope Should Not Be Your Strategy

Tuesday, 8. November 2011 11:26

The subject of Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) security came up at a recent customer meeting and it was so novel to hear “VoIP” and “security” in the same question that I thought it would be worth revisiting.

The first thing I did was read up on VoIP-hacking and, ideally, high-profile cases out there. Strangely, my curiosity was not really piqued. A basic Google News search yielded only ten results for VoIP hacking! The best I could do was a story on the VOIP Security Alliance (VOIPSA) blog about a case of VoIP services fraud that actually had nothing to do with hacking. This blog may actually be one of the best places to read up on VoIP security and issues (http://voipsa.org/blog/category/security/)

In thinking more about it I was struck that concerns about VoIP security seem, at least in the public discourse, to be receding instead of increasing; and that this is astonishing in a world where personal technology and social media are evolving as institutionalized pillars of enterprise infrastructure. Upon further consideration, I thought, as voice evolves as not only “just another application” but one that is being virtualized on our customers own IT infrastructure shouldn’t it be of more concern than ever (the world of mainstream trading communications has really only embraced the concept of convergence in thought and word vs. real-life deployment so far)?

VoIP  is, thankfully, no longer a new/new technology and with this maturity has come a welcome measure of respect. And, combined with an apparent dearth of high-profile security breaches, the topic of VoIP security has faded somewhat  into the background. Of course, the fact that the mainstream media is not focused on covering the topic of VoIP security does not mean it is not a real threat.

So, where to begin? Let’s start with some simple education through reading with an article in VoIP Planet that outlines the issues of security and Session Initiated Protocol SIP)http://www.voipplanet.com/solutions/article.php/3747161 and then move on to one about diagnosing potential vulnerabilities: http://www.voipplanet.com/backgrounders/article.php/3775186.

From here, in a follow-up post we will attempt to address in more detail security threats, challenges and best practices for securing VoIP infrastructure, applications and connections across the enterprise voice trading communications network.

 

 

 

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The Role of Turrets in High Touch Trading

Monday, 7. February 2011 17:32

The Tabb Group published a commentary note on the evolution of the turret as a tool for traders (Title: “Trading Turrets DOA? Not Quite” at www.tabbgroup.com) recently.

Money quote: “…the turret has the potential to be the communications hub that helps high-touch traders drive client business.”

The piece asserts that turrets will remain a key part of the trader’s tool kit but that the value of the turret is shifting along with the value proposition of the trading desk. That is, away from its’ historic mission as a device that offers high-capacity, split second connections toward an integrated client relationship tool for high touch traders.

The logic is simple. As order execution is achieved increasingly through electronic messaging the emphasis for sell-side traders has shifted from that of “order taker” to relationship manager. Timely delivery of news, research, market context and insight  is the coin of the realm.

Tight integration with the customer relationship management (CRM), order management systems (OMS), collaboration and productivity applications is becoming critical to a trader’s success because “client orders can be easily communicated through instant messaging, which is some ways eliminates the need for a high-end technologically advanced phone” according to the author, Henry Chien.

Our work on trading floors over the last four years confirms these findings as we find more and more customers who are focused on advanced integration with Microsoft, smart phones and various CRM applications and requests for proposal (RFP) now regularly specify this type of integration. In recognition of this trend, WCS launched the Crossover Series IP Trading Desktop which has been extremely well-received, offering a range of trading devices and integration options.

The bottom-line is that while turrets must always offer a high degree of availability, capacity and speed, the value of the sell-side trader is migrating from an execution to a relationship orientation and their tools will necessarily reflect this in the years to come.

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