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Session border controllers can alleviate the main security concerns specific to VoIP use and real-time communications.

With an unprecedented number of high-profile cyberattacks hitting several large banks and major retailers this year, interest in improving IT security of late has been hotter than Apple and Tesla put together. But in my conversations with security resellers, I’ve come to realize that the due diligence stops short of real-time communications.

When it comes to securing communications flows, firewalls just aren’t enough. Firewalls do a good job of preventing data loss and security applications but they aren’t made for the unique needs of real-time communications. To protect the communications infrastructure, businesses should leverage session border controllers (SBCs).

Whenever I talk to anyone about SBCs, topics like SIP trunking termination or network address translation come up because most companies deploy them for these purposes. However, SBCs can play a critical role in securing communications, particularly in regards to these five main concerns.

Two years in, collaboration chief Rowan Trollope is seeing his vision realized in the product portfolio.

This month marks the two-year anniversary of Rowan Trollope’s arrival at Cisco as chief of the company’s Collaboration Technology Unit. That makes it a good time, I think, to take a look at how collaboration at Cisco has changed since his arrival.

If you’ve met Trollope or seen him deliver a keynote, as he did last week at Collaboration Summit 2014, then you know he’s not your typical Cisco executive. He dresses differently, wears funny shoes and does push-ups before he presents. Clearly, he thinks differently than others who have held his position at Cisco.

When Trollope came on board, change had definitely been in order. The group, for years one of those that carried Cisco, was facing a stretch of declining revenues.

At Westcon’s recent Connect event in Orlando, it became clearer how the channel can adapt models and perspectives to embrace the cloud and cast fears aside.

Westcon runs a number of “Connect” events throughout the year, and I had the pleasure of speaking at its recent Orlando event as well as at its UC-focused Connect event earlier this year. The theme for the Orlando event was “cloud,” which makes sense given that Westcon acquired a cloud distribution platform called Verecloud earlier this year. The goal of the event was to make the cloud a more integral part of the VAR business model, which is a big change for most channel partners. Cloud UC, in particular, has become a hot topic over the past 24 months as the number of UCaaS offerings has skyrocketed.

After my presentations I had a chance to speak with many of the VARs about the topic of cloud and while almost all of the VARs had great interest in the cloud, the ability to sell and monetize the cloud varied quite a bit from reseller to reseller.

Based on the questions I got at the event and other interviews I’ve done over the past few months, here are some key points the channel needs to consider regarding the cloud as sales strategies are developed:

After long last, we finally get to see what Unify has been working on for these past couple of years. Circuit is certainly different and is an enabler of shifting the way people work.

Today Unify, the company formerly known as Siemens Enterprise, finally took the covers off the product it has been developing under the code name of Project Ansible. The application, now known as Circuit, is the culmination of two years of intense research and development, and it promises to change the way people work. We in the analyst community had the opportunity try out Circuit at Unify’s annual Global Analyst Summit last week in Phoenix.

I first downloaded Circuit to my iPhone rather than my Macbook, as I believe the value of a UC client is measured by its usability on a mobile device. No disrespect meant to all the vendors that have put work into developing rich desktop clients but it’s been my belief that mobile UC provides much greater bang for the buck. Having non-unified communications tools is awkward on a desktop but isn’t the end of the world. However, on a mobile device it’s extremely time consuming to continually be switching between applications, so a robust mobile UC client can provide tremendous value.

Many industry watchers consider Mitel’s bid for ShoreTel as the next natural step in the company’s strategy of amassing market share through acquisition, but I see the desire for a common UC platform as a primary driver, too.

Following Mitel’s public disclosure yesterday that it has offered to buy competitor ShoreTel, industry watchers are busy speculating as to the motivation for the unsolicited bid. Many consider this the next natural step in Mitel’s strategy of amassing market share through acquisition, but I see the desire for a common UC platform as a primary driver, too.

To recap, the $540 million cash offer by Canada-based Mitel for US-based ShoreTel equates to about $8.10 per share, about a 20% premium to where the stock had been trading. In its disclosure, Mitel indicated that ShoreTel had rejected an earlier proposal, also for $8.10 per share, made on Oct. 2. In an official statement, ShoreTel said it is reviewing the current bid, which will remain open until Nov. 20. While ShoreTel hasn’t officially rejected the bid yet, it most likely will, given this bid is identical to the last one.

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