Some virtual teams at Boeing
have discussions focused on military aircraft. Do some Internet research on UC
security mechanisms and identify and briefly describe several that Boeing
should have in place to ensure the privacy and integrity of such discussions.
As organizations started relying more on unified
communications, the management of voice, video and messaging through one
unified system has developed concern about the security of this IP-based
communications infrastructure. This has happened due to the fact that UC is
IP-based but there are so many potential modes of communication, from video,
instant messaging and Web collaboration to presence, e-mail and voice mail. With
time we find that the situation has developed proliferation of mobile devices
that are being used more frequently in the business environments and devices
that are not as secure as those housed in the business environment organization
(Manyika, Chui, Brown, Bughin, Dobbs, Roxburgh, & Byers, 2011).
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The most security concern in UC is eavesdropping. This
is the idea that external parties can infiltrate the IP connection to eavesdrop
on a Web conference, receive instant message exchange or other communication
medium. Therefore, the biggest concern is when organizations extend their UC
capabilities beyond boundaries that is to the external partners. Additionally, SIP
trunking is another service that allows organizations to use voice over IP
through the Internet connection. This has created a lot of concern when the
organization moves from a digital connection to an IP-based connection so as to
receive and make phone calls concerning hacking raises. The best way to
mitigate this concern is to make sure that the system includes SIP-aware
firewalls or session border control as the protective mechanisms. In addition
to this, there are many products in the SIP security market that will help
Another growing concern is denial of service this is an
attack method most often identified with the Internet although it has become a
growing threat to UC. This has caused the proliferation of mobile devices in
the workforce that has caused the newest entrant into the UC infrastructure. With
this, there is a valuable addition, allowing workers to participate in meetings
and collaborative activities from wherever they are, but they also present
challenges. In most organizations, it allows employees to use their own cell
phones, for instance, there is worry about protection of password as well as
how to wipe the data from the phone when it is lost, and how to make sure call
data records aren’t compromised.
For the device, best practices include shutting down
unused services and ports and changing default passwords. For the network, best
practices include deploying firewalls, router access control lists, virtual
local-area networks, port-level switch security and authenticated network
access. Securely authenticate all mobile users of organizational assets.
Implement remote security management. Implement end-to-end message and data
encryption. Install remote device lock and remote device kill in case of theft
Other proactive moves include implementing host- and
network-based intrusion detection and intrusion prevention systems or proxy
servers to protect SIP trunking. Although, security for UC has come a long way
in the past few years, it is getting better. The SIP security capabilities is not
only much improved, but there is a lot of interest around security certificate
authentication mechanisms. With this in place, users placing a call over an IP
network would be able to validate the identity of the person on the other end (Bradley,
& Shah, 2010).
To what extent do the UC
benefits experienced by Boeing mirror those of other firms that have deployed
UC capabilities over converged IP networks?
Boeing could enjoy desktop sharing, and online meeting
capabilities that involves the collaboration capabilities before and after the
creation of the converged IP network. It is important to note that Boeing
continues to subscribe to most of the collaboration services that it used prior
to implementing its unified communications solutions (Bradley, & Shah,
2010). With that, UC is best observed to be a supplement not a replacement
to the collaboration systems that were already in place.
One of the key changes associated with Boeing UC
system has been the ability of employees to use the same softphone headset to
support both office and mobile phone calls. Phone capabilities follow the
mobile worker who can specify which device to route calls to on the fly. Their
Boeing phone number is always the same whether they are in their office, at
home, on the road, or working on the other side of the world. Detailed presence
information about team members is provided via Lync’s location and activity feed
capabilities. Supply chain partners are also able see the presence information
of their key contacts at Boeing; this facilitates their interactions with
engineering and maintenance teams at Boeing organization (Manyika, Chui, Brown,
Bughin, Dobbs, Roxburgh, & Byers, 2011).
Benefits of UC to
Boeing’s converged IP network and unified
communications capabilities enable employees share information and knowledge
more quickly and effectively, regardless of their location. Boeing’s
geographically dispersed engineers use these systems to share expertise with
one another just as they could if they were in the same place at the same time.
The ability to support unified communications capabilities over the converged
IP network facilitates knowledge sharing and has become an important facet of
Boeing’s collaboration and knowledge management strategies (Bradley, &
The company’s unified communications system enables
employees at remote locations to have the same capabilities that have in their
home offices. Virtual teams benefit from being able to adjust their
interactions to the communication mode that makes the most sense. For example,
they are able to transition from instant messaging to a voice communication
and/or desktop sharing session depending on what the situation requires. The UC
system’s enhanced presence capabilities also provides real time information about
the current availability and activities of other Boeing employees so that they
can be brought into conversations about how to address time sensitive problem
issues about parts, maintenance issues, or assembly line delays (Bradley, &
To date, Boeing has not implemented
the full range of capabilities available through UC systems. If you were the
CIO at Boeing, what additional UC capabilities would you implement? What
benefits would you expect Boeing to derive from deploying these capabilities?
the fundamental enabler for UC, presence provides real-time notification of
users’ current availability and ability to communicate.
Most switch vendors today either offer their own presence server and
capabilities or integrate with presence capabilities from Microsoft. The most
challenging issue today is the lack of federation and the ability of these
presence systems to work together to allow users on one presence system to see
the presence status of a partner or customer on another system. When using
Presence servers gather presence information from various sources and provide
unified presence information to end users or applications organization (Manyika, Chui, Brown, Bughin, Dobbs,
Roxburgh, & Byers, 2011). In a UC world, when we discuss
presence, we are going beyond simple instant message presence.
There are benefits to the Boeing Company, for
instance, in the API interface we find that all capabilities in the product are
exposed through secure. In addition, in the Northbound notification the mechanism
for workflows helps to send notification to external systems. Also, there is
need to extend video capabilities used by the employees that use a single,
unified communications infrastructure in the desktops and in the tele presence
rooms (Bradley, & Shah, 2010).
This could also help in simplifying the voice systems
and the unified communications to reduce the costs that are dramatically simplified
in the provision and its maintenance. It also helps in building productivity
with comprehensive unified communications that help workers communicate and
work more effectively as our concern. It similarly helps to improve
collaboration simply by clicking to start the IM session and pledge for a phone
call. This helps in managing the
required communications with one server as well as providing
medium-sized organizations and everything that is needed for mobility, video or
messaging in the organization (Manyika, Chui, Brown, Bughin, Dobbs, Roxburgh,
& Byers, 2011).
Bradley, T., & Shah, S. (2010). Unified communications for
dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Manyika, J., Chui, M., Brown, B., Bughin, J., Dobbs, R., Roxburgh, C.,
& Byers, A. H. (2011). Big data: The next frontier for innovation,
competition and productivity. New York: McKinsey & Company.