I”ve talked a lot about some of the benefits from using OCS 2007.
Now I”d like to talk about the risks.

Every network-based application carries a risk. Either in terms of security breaches, or in terms of employees abusing the system in some way. Such actions are rare. And with a little preparation, they almost never occur.

That”s why I wanted to give this warning beforehand. So you”ll take the following into consideration during your OCS planning & setup process. You can avoid most of these risks entirely if they”re planned against.

Accidental “Wrong Channel” Messages
Everyone”s sent an email to the wrong person once. You click Send, watch the message vanish, and realize! That was supposed to go to Bob, not HR! Or worse, you emailed a critical message to a customer!

When you”re dealing with Unified Communications, the chances of this slip-up happening are broader. Accidents can range from:

  • Instant Messaging the wrong person
  • Emailing the wrong information
  • Bothering someone while they”re in an important meeting

Becoming a Malware/Hacking Target
The unfortunate downside of connecting communication systems like IM, email, voice and fax together — the new unified system is a bigger target. Hackers and malware programs have been attacking IM for a couple years now. As Unified Communications grows with each new OCS installation, they”ll start looking for weaknesses to exploit.

I haven”t heard of any OCS-specific attacks yet. So we”re probably safe for a while.

As always, make sure you have good protection in place — a solid firewall,up-to-date antivirus,network access permissions, etc.

Potential for Slower Performance
An improper OCS setup can cause a bandwidth drain during initial setup. OCS 2007 will communicate with itself from every user PC, back and forth. If the network load isn”t balanced, other services like email could slow down.

Migration Snafus
The problem with errors popping up during migration is just that. They pop up during migration. Not much chance to avoid errors when they don”t show themselves beforehand!

Personal Use/Internal Security Violations
Ever since email (and probably before), people wasted time using company services for personal use. An occasional IM probably won”t hurt — but stealing company information by funneling it out through email/IM could.

How do you avoid these? Put them in your OCS setup plan! A little preparation while you install will work wonders.

  • Checking your network beforehand will help minimize migration snafus.
  • A revised company policy will help with “wrong channel” messages, personal use and internal security violations.
    • By the way, OCS 2007 allows a Group Policy setting which limits contacts to internal (employees) only. It”s referenced in this documentation. Sneaky!
  • A network security audit, done before installation, will cut out malware/hacking targets & performance slowdowns.

Any of these risks COULD turn into a problem during your OCS 2007 setup. Of course, your roof COULD spontaneously cave in, too. The point is, be aware of the risks while setting up OCS. That way you”ll minimize the chance of them causing any trouble.

The Risks You''ll Tackle in OCS 2007
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