When Trust is a Higher Calling, Business Phones Become Friends Again

By Arti Loftus, Special Correspondent  |  September 28, 2020

Consumers are not the only victims of fraudulent, annoying phone calls. While much has been written about applications that help individuals screen spam and fake calls, the amount of productivity stolen from businesses has been less reported on.

And for employees who are using phone systems in their offices, it is impossible to control which inbound calls make it to their desks or are routed from their desks to their mobile device in a Unified Communications (News - Alert) scenario.

Say you are in your office, intensely preparing for an upcoming quarterly review meeting, and expecting information to come in over the phone. That phone rings, and you answer, only to be met with silence followed by a prerecorded message saying you have won a free weekend in the Bahamas. Alternatively, a live solicitor on the other end of the line starts a “hard sell” with a line of questions, speaking so fast you cannot politely dispense with the call and are forced to hang up.

Either way, your time was wasted on the call, while other phone lines may have been lighting up with legitimate calls.

Imagine this scenario happening in a dispatch center when somebody calling for immediate help is slowed by the dispatcher being distracted by a bogus call.

Fake calls are an authentic problem—on personal and business phone lines. Is there a way for IT teams and service providers to help businesses deal with spam callers, reduce telemarketers, and reject calls associated with the recent rise in fraudulent COVID-19 related scams?

Of the call complaints reported to the FCC in 2018, robocalls were responsible for the majority of those complaints, making up 66% of all reported complaints.

Robocalls are automated telephone calls that go through lists of numbers and deliver a recorded message to phones, using an autodialer and prerecorded or artificial voice. Because this technology is very cheap and easy to acquire, and because, sadly, many people fall for these scams, the practice is running rampant.

This is also a cybersecurity threat; many companies producing these illegal phone calls are looking to phish information and use it for nefarious purposes.

More sophisticated robocallers mask their numbers; this is called spoofing. Spoofing makes the call look like it is coming from a different phone number than it is.

The FCC (News - Alert) and agencies in other countries are working persistently to battle these callers’ invasions of our privacy, but that is an ongoing process.

Software solutions are the answer, and with solutions designed for businesses, productivity can be returned when employees are confident callers are legitimate, and security can be strengthened when unauthorized callers cannot penetrate the perimeter.

Last week, Ribbon Communications announced that Controlled Network Solutions (CNS), an independent provider of hosted PBX (News - Alert), telecommunications, and cloud-based technology solutions to businesses across North America, is deploying key components of the Ribbon Call Trust portfolio to deliver advanced protection against nuisance and robocalls.

Ribbon’s Policy and Routing (PSX) and Secure Telephony Identity (STI) offerings provide CNS with an integrated solution to authenticate, sign, and verify caller identity. In addition, CNS is deploying Ribbon’s Analytics solution to gain insights into its network operations and enhance the security and fraud protection of VoIP calls.

“Ribbon Call Trust provides us with a comprehensive STIR/SHAKEN-compliant solution that not only efficiently authenticates and signs originating calls, but also quickly verifies terminating calls,” said Ramon Sanchez, CEO of Controlled Network Solutions (News - Alert). “It also provides centralized capabilities to optimize call routing in our network. With Ribbon Analytics, we also gain insights into attempted security breaches and the tools to mitigate potential fraud or malicious attacks on our network.”

“Controlled Network Solutions has been delivering top-tier telecommunications and technology solutions for more than 20 years, and we are delighted they have entrusted Ribbon to provide them with the latest in standards-based robocall mitigation and caller identification technology,” said Patrick Joggerst (News - Alert), EVP and Chief Marketing Officer for Ribbon. “Our Ribbon Call Trust solution is designed to help communications service providers of all sizes protect their customers from potential bad actors, by helping ensure the calls that they receive have been verified and are from legitimate sources.”

Ribbon Call Trust integrates both the company’s and third-party data to determine caller identity, intent, and reputation for every call in a service provider’s network. The solution is comprised of several industry-leading Ribbon solutions. Ribbon Secure Telephony Identity (STI) is a STIR/SHAKEN-compliant call authentication, signing, and verification solution. STIR/SHAKEN is an industry-standard that stands for (Secure Telephony Identity Revisited) STIR (Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs) SHAKEN. The goal of STIR/SHAKEN is to restore consumers’ confidence and trust in receiving phone calls by enabling service providers to authenticate, sign and verify caller identity to protect their customers from nuisance and malicious robocalls.

“Ribbon’s Call Trust addresses service providers’ requirements to provide identity assurance as well as robocall detection and mitigation, which in turn help customers avoid nuisance calls and decide which ones they want to answer,” said Andy Hicks, Principal Analyst at GlobalData.  “Ribbon’s session border controller, analytics, and related fraud and security elements are solid foundations for an end-to-end call identity and security solution.”

Ribbon PSX manages interworking between session border controllers and/or media gateways and an STI solution in support of STIR/SHAKEN standards while delivering advanced call routing capabilities.

The Ribbon Analytics solution delivers CNS the latest in behavioral modeling and ML-based techniques that enable deep insights into network operations, traffic patterns, and subscriber behavior while providing advanced protection against potential threats and mitigating the possibility of future threats.

CNS provides 24/7/365 IT support, telephony, call recording software, contact center solutions, managed cloud hosting, and HP equipment sales and service to businesses across North America. Their clients range from 5 to 5,000 employees, spanning industries including professional and business services, healthcare, manufacturing, finance, government services, and others.

CNS has been serving clients for over twenty years and is a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) by the NY and NJ Minority Supplier Development Council.

Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Maurice Nagle