Never one to let a bandwagon go by without jumping on it, I thought I'd share a few thoughts on the News of the World phone hacking scandal.

Privacy and public interest issues aside, it seems to me that it highlights just how vulnerable our modern communications systems can be and, for the want of simple security measures (voicemail passwords in this case), just how easy it is for information to be hijacked.

Little wonder then that security comes out top of the list of concerns in companies looking to deploy IP-based unified communications solutions.

Think about it. We're not just talking about a few voice messages. We're talking about huge numbers of recorded messages, together with emails, faxes, chat logs and all kinds of other material, from hundreds of users, all stored in one place and accessible not just over the local network but, potentially at least, from anywhere on the Internet.

OK, nobody in their right mind is going to consider deploying a unified communications solution without some kind of security to protect it. But we read about new vulnerabilities being found every day and who knows what might be lurking in the depths of that new VoIP or collaboration server, waiting to be exploited.

More than that, as the NoTW (News of The World) scandal shows, it doesn't matter what security measures are available, if users don't know how to implement them or even that they should, then backdoors are bound to be found.

The benefits of a properly implemented UC solution are huge, but only if security concerns are addressed. That means making users and support staff alike aware of potential threats and how to address them.

This article is written by Alan Stevens and sponsored by Avaya. The opinions reflected in this piece are solely those of Alan Stevens and may not reflect those of Avaya management