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Two Good Reasons to Audit Your Telephone Network
1. Improve Security

In this age of high-speed broadband Internet connectivity and Voice over IP telephony, you might be surprised to learn that modems continue to pose a significant risk to the security of many organisations. The oversight is understandable: gone are the days when users gained remote access through banks of dial-up modems and Remote Access Servers. However, dial-up modems have not disappeared - they've just disappeared from view.

Not least, this has been as a direct consequence of the rapid commoditisation of computer technology, and its corresponding penetration into all levels of infrastructure. Everything from the network printer through to heating & ventilation, power management/monitoring & backup, building access control, voicemail and the telephone system are based around a core computer. What's more, these devices bear little resemblance to their 'dumb' ancestors. They run highly capable mainstream operating systems (such as Windows, Linux and Unix). With such a capable system, the incremental cost to the vendor of adding a modem is insignificant, yet this small modification has a potentially huge impact on lowering total cost of ownership for the customer. The combination of a modem and a powerful operating system make remote maintenance practical, offering the potential for both more responsive and more cost-effective systems management.

The down side is that these devices are also vulnerable to the same software bugs and configuration flaws as their host operating system. Without knowing where all of these devices are, the systems that they give access to and how well they have been secured, the sort of unrestricted access that modems provide can pose a real threat to business continuity. What's more, since modems give direct access through the telephone system, they bypass the protection offered by your firewall and any network-based intrusion detection/prevention systems.

Pragmatically, one of the easiest ways to determine your exposures is by using a tool such as Xiscan to scan your telephone network and see what's there. (For more information on why we think it's something you really should consider, please take a moment to look at our modem security FAQ.)

2. Reduce Operating Costs

Even if you are not convinced by the security arguments, there's a further compelling reason to scan your telephone system, especially in today's harsh economic climate. The potential to reap significant ongoing savings in operating costs, with a typical ROI well in excess of 100% in the first year alone.

In part, this stems from our tools' ability to identify fax devices. Not only can this assist in inventory management (with potential savings in support costs), but it can also help you consolidate your fax requirements into a more cost-effective solution. However, it's also due to our toolset's unique ability to identify unused telephone lines. This feature can greatly assist in capacity management and planning:

  • redeployment of existing, unused capacity can eliminate the need to procure new telephone systems
  • removing excess capacity can reduce maintenance, licensing and line/number rental costs
  • identifying exact line usage can greatly assist in telephony migration projects, leading to both procurement savings and speeding up decommissioning

For some of our customers, these benefits alone are a sufficient business justification. The security benefits are just an added bonus


Our aim is to provide cost-effective, practical solutions to help you address the security issues and manage your telephony requirements more effectively. We can supply both our own industry-leading software product (Xiscan 6), a range of Managed Service offerings, or any combination in between, tailored to suit your individual needs.


Secure Computing Magazine

Full Review

Secure Computing's Verdict of Xiscan 1.2
For major and even medium-size organisations, this is an excellent addition to the IT security arsenal.

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