VOIP is still pretty quiet in government offices

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Feds see advantages in IP services but worry about security

While some government organizations have taken the leap and installed voice over IP systems'the Census Bureau, notably'VOIP remains unknown territory for most agencies.

In a GCN telephone survey about VOIP and other Web technologies, 28 percent of managers reported that their agencies had implemented VOIP systems; 71 percent said their agencies had not.

The latter group was almost evenly divided over whether VOIP would benefit their agencies or not; 35 percent thought it would, 38 percent said it wouldn't and 27 percent didn't know.

Still, 45 percent believed that the potential benefits of IP telephony, such as more flexible service at a lower cost than the dedicated phone network, outweighed possible liabilities, such as the security weaknesses that VOIP might introduce to the data network.

Persistent worries

Indeed, security was the No. 1 worry about VOIP for 41 percent of managers who took part in the survey.

Participants also expressed concern that VOIP systems are still maturing and that dominant standards haven't emerged yet; that VOIP puts confidentiality and privacy at greater risk; and that it might be too expensive to deploy a VOIP infrastructure.

Managers were less concerned the Internet might not be as reliable as the telephone network (14 percent).

Overall, videoconferencing (43 percent) was the top Web technology used by managers in the course of their everyday work, followed by streaming video (31 percent) and streaming audio (29 percent).

Thirty-seven percent, however, said they don't use any of those technologies as they go about their jobs.

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