Interoute Launches iSip to Beat off Skype

Interoute, who claim to operate Europe’s most advanced next-generation voice and data network, has announced the launch of iSip, saying it is the first genuinely secure corporate VoIP service for business. The carrier says their service is a significant breakthrough in business telephony because it provides companies with the first secure, enterprise-class alternative to popular VoIP services such as Skype.

iSip provides businesses with the advantages of VoIP telephony which Interoute sees as being free Internet calls, free national fixed line calls and radically reduced charges to mobiles and international calls, with none of the associated security concerns of free VoIP services.

Peter Wood, Chief of Operations at First Base Technologies, a leading security consultancy said: “Skype and other peer-to-peer VoIP services present a serious risk to corporate security. The user is essentially in control and the IT department can do little or nothing to manage the traffic that runs across the corporate network. Skype is incompatible with traffic monitoring and Intrusion Detection System (IDS) tools, leaving the service open to hacker attacks, especially as the software fully trusts any other Skype device. Already some hacker groups are working on cracking the Skype model to use it as an attack vector.”

The iSip service is delivered via Interoute’s wholly-owned next generation network and is specifically designed to provide the dramatic cost benefits of popular VoIP services while giving control back to an organisations’ IT department.

Irwin Lazar, analyst, Burton Group, said: “We recommend that enterprises take security into account before deciding to allow employees to use the Skype service. While the cost savings and improved communications are apparent, these may come at the expense of a company’s security policies.”

iSip is being launched as businesses across Europe are exploring the benefits of VoIP. Thirty two million corporate employees across Western Europe will be connected to a VoIP system by 2010, according to a recent report from Analysys, the global advisers on telecoms, IT and media. The report claimed that spending on business VoIP systems and services will grow by over 17% per annum for the next five years, reaching EUR12 billion in Western Europe. By 2010, 1.6 million corporate employees in Western Europe will have discarded their traditional fixed office phone and have only a mobile phone handset.

This widespread move towards VoIP based solutions is also set to impact the traditional business voice telephony revenues of the large incumbent telecom companies, a market that Ofcom³ valued at £1.13bn (2004 figures) in the UK alone. Ofcom’s figures for 2004 show that BT’s traditional business voice revenues stood at £596 million, 48 per cent of the UK market, so the potential impact of free business calls is clear.

James Kinsella, Interoute’s executive chairman said: “We are now offering free calls to businesses in an entirely secure and protected environment and it is clear that the potential cost savings are immense. The security and quality lapses associated with public access VoIP services are well documented, with the cost savings continually offset by poor service quality and threats to the corporate network. iSip delivers all the benefits of a free VoIP service, with the heightened security, quality and flexibility that are essential for the corporate environment.”

Interoute has grown revenues by more than 100% each year since it restructured in 2003. Over its owned and operated next generation network, Interoute offers a range of highly advanced services such as Arena, Europe’s largest and most successful VoIP-trading platform.