What is the role of encryption in a converged network?

Happy New Year!

Actually, there is a very limited role for encryption in all but the most paranoid of commercial organizations. For many folks, this is tantamount to heresy or sedition. Careful, I said 'very limited role.' Why limited? Because, like most technologies, it solves certain problems well, but not all problems. And cheaper, higher performance solutions are in fact, more readily available and more easily and cheaply deployed than encryption everywhere. Not every LAN campus exists in Langley VA (home of the CIA silly).

Most careful IT managers can contain the cost and burden of encryption technologies where it is really needed. In the wireless domain – 802.11a/b/g has AES built-in to provide in-air privacy. The use of other techniques discussed here, like virtual LAN segmentation for IP Telephony traffic, VPN routers for remote users and strong authentication services on the call controller environment, are lower cost practices for assuring privacy within the LAN. There is a cost for encryption on the IP phones and gateways – delay as packets are encrypted and decrypted – and higher cost devices.

Of course, it is in the government sector where the value of information, especially 'secret' grade, is very high, the need for strong privacy at any cost, and the willingness to pay for strong privacy at any cost is appropriate.

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