Global architectural firm Burt Hill is at the forefront of VoIP deployments with its utilization of an SSL VPN solution to secure its remote VoIP network. The firm is featured in the March 2006 issue of Communication News magazine as a model of how companies can successfully adapt to an increasingly mobile work force by providing secure communications for both voice and data.
While many companies are moving to VoIP as a replacement for traditional phone systems within the enterprise, Burt Hill has deployed VoIP for communication both inside and outside the firewall, according to the article. The company saw this as another way to leverage its SSL VPN solution. Using the VoIP solution with the SSL VPN gives employees a “virtual secure office” for all data and voice applications.
“Our ultimate vision as a company is to create one contiguous organization and share resources fluidly across the entire organization, irrespective of location or geography, which required strong standards and communication capabilities,” said Mark Dietrick, Burt Hill CIO, in the Communication News article.
Burt Hill’s 500 employees are spread out among seven North American and international locations. Its architects and customer-support teams work at building sites and client premises frequently, but need to be able to access all data and communicate easily and quickly with colleagues and partners.
Burt Hill worked with its strategic IT partner, synergIT (www.synergit.com), a systems integrator and consultancy, to implement the VPN solution and streamline all communications using an IP telephony backbone. It also standardized on Cisco technology, using Cisco IP Telephony, as well as updating its overall networking infrastructure with new Cisco routers and switches to maximize the VoIP performance. The one exception to this was the SSL VPN, which is from Aventail (www.aventail.com). Aventail’s remote access platform includes an SSL-based Layer 3 connection that enables secure VoIP transmission and bi-directional policy control.
“The network, the IP telephony solution, and the VPN work hand-in-hand to optimize performance, reliability, and around-the-clock communication between all Burt Hill employees, its customers, and consultants,” explained Steve Wirth, president and CEO of synergIT. “I think this integrated voice and data infrastructure is a perfect model for any enterprise that is looking to streamline its network and provide all users with a way to quickly and easily communicate and share information around the globe.”
Burt Hill estimates a conservative return on investment of 12 months for the VoIP and SSL VPN deployment.