A recent survey to discover what IT managers priorities are for 2011 looks like unified communications and MPLS will be seeing a greater take up.

There are good business benefits to be obtained in both these developments, the simplification in infrastructure, the leveraging of data and voice data and pushing the increased data load over MPLS are becoming vital to maintain competitiveness. As with any technologies, there are risks associated with implementation and it is important that companies build security in from the planning stage.

12 per cent of the 250 IT managers questioned said that they expected to be implementing a unified communications system in the next year. Unified communication can be a great aid to productivity by bringing together various communication tools such as IM, chat, click-to-call, video and VOIP calls, improving work flow and business efficiency.

It does mean that new ports and protocols must be used which can make networks vulnerable if the right precautions and protection are not put in place. Recent figures released show how companies can find themselves vulnerable to Toll Fraud and if the right gateway protection is not implemented, the IP PBX is as vulnerable as any other server which no responsible IT manager would allow.

10 per cent of IT managers asked were planning to bring in a Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) network over the next year. In some cases, this can mean restructuring the corporate network. Again, there are important considerations involved in such a restructure.

How will users access the Internet? Via one gateway? Will they be able to bypass security processes if routing is not correctly set up? Perhaps the MPLS is being implemented by the company’s ISP, in which case, is the business confident in the ISP’s own security processes? Implementing a network restructure without first considering the security implications can have drastic consequences for the company in the long term.

In the next few years, these technologies are going to bring massive advantages to the companies that deploy them. IT Departments are going to have to move with this change, assessing the risks and providing the right protection to ensure their company is not vulnerable.