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January 14, 2013

Aheeva and Open Source Technology: Focus on the Core of Business, Hassle-Free

By Rachel Ramsey, TMCnet Web Editor

Each year, advancements in technology affect the way organizations of any size run day-to-day operations. With the bring your own device (BYOD) trend, cloud communications, CRM models and IT network management solutions, there are different views on what the most significant technology trend is today that impacts the way businesses conduct operations.

“From our point of view, it is unquestionably the open source model of running a successful and profitable business,” said Mario Kreslin (News - Alert), business development director, Latin America, Aheeva Technologies, in a TMCnet interview. “Technology is widely available and companies bring value with their expertise, customization and services.”

Open source refers to any program with source code available for other users or developers to use or modify. The Open Source (News - Alert) Initiative (OSI) is the community behind open source, which is a way to build open standards as actual software, rather than paper documents. It offers a lot of benefits to the business world, including rapid bug-fixes, collaboration, increased security and increased reliability.

Aheeva develops and distributes software and management solutions for call centers on IP-based technology. Aheeva discovered Asterisk, the telephony and IPBX application with open source code for Linux, and was the first software editor to adopt the Asterisk (News - Alert) technology to develop a solution for contact centers and to set it up in its own contact center: Atelka. The company is getting ready to launch a cloud-based service, almost significantly shortening the delay between the time the client ‘acquires’ the solution and the first day of production.

“Clients will no longer have to worry about features and upgrading their software every time a new release comes out,” Kreslin explained. “Most importantly, they can concentrate on their core business and core services they offer without the hassle of acquiring technology. They need a contact center and not necessarily rack servers and telephony switches with the trained personal to support this infrastructure. And this is what Aheeva is getting ready to offer.”

Some technology trends today are still very new in the workforce, leaving IT full of headaches and security concerns. Although there are solutions to face some of these concerns, especially for cloud computing, providers are still facing challenges when it comes to securing data.

“Security was always the first concern brought in cloud services discussion,” said Kreslin. “In the call center paradigm, the security goes beyond encryption algorithms, VPNs, and keys management. Existing technology covers these areas efficiently if best practices are respected. The major concern call centers face is the possibility of fraud, especially if credit cards processing is required. This is the concern that pushed major credit card issuers, such as Visa, MC and Amex, to come out with the Payment Card Industry – Data Security Standard (PCI (News - Alert) DSS) requirements.”

According to Kreslin, a set of guidelines and requirements is necessary to protect sensitive authentication data in order to prevent massive fraud.

“It is not a bulletproof recipe, but if implemented correctly, followed and maintained, it limits the risks of fraud cases where large number of credit card data is stolen,” said Kreslin. “The challenge that call centers face with PCI DSS is not necessarily achieving the certification but maintaining it due to the significant cost in required and specialized resources.”

In a cloud environment, the difficulty of maintaining this security standard is incremented because one of the advantages of cloud-based computing is the sharing of resources and multi tenancy. In order to be efficient, a cloud-based service shares servers, storage connectivity and equipment among several clients, which is considered high-risk from the point of view of PCI DSS.

One of the biggest misconceptions, according to Kreslin, is that open source is free.

“Acquiring the open source software is free of charge but using it, maintaining it and supporting will require an investment from the user. It is a given that open source puts services and technology within everyone’s reach, but on the other hand, we have seen cases that are not always success stories, primarily due to a lack of understanding from the adopter of what to expect from the Open Source software and what are its limitations. When faced with technical challenges, they will quickly find out that the learning curve can be steep and that sometimes help can be hard to get, and that they must rely on the community for answers. Usually the first answer they get is to take the time to learn it and experiment with it, which could sound chocking to them at first because of the wrong expectation they had.”

Asterisk World, the world's most widely used open source telephony software, focuses on open source telephony business users and potential users interested in getting more in depth experience with Asterisk. Aheeva and Asterisk will join together to exhibit at ITEXPO (News - Alert) Miami at the end of the month, and are looking forward to seeing what new developments are happening in the vertical space. 

Want to learn more about Aheeva Technologies? Visit the company at booth #908 at ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO. Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Jamie Epstein
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