eastwind Tech Corner - STIR/SHAKEN Readiness Checklist
Becoming STIR/SHAKEN compliant is a multi-step process. As a system integrator, Eastwind is ideally positioned to help service providers navigate the waters of this multi-product, multi-vendor world.
Getting Started – What Are Your Goals?
Before a provider starts down the path, they need to ask themselves - Where are you hoping to get to? What’s the goal of compliance? Meeting the letter of the mandate? Being able to tell corporate directors you are compliant? Meeting the spirit of the mandate? Ensuring your customers’ calls are not negatively impacted by others? Implementing services your customers want? Eastwind has successfully deployed STIR/SHAKEN with service providers across the spectrum. You tell us what you want to do, we’ll develop and implement a plan that best fits your needs.
Getting Started – What Is The State of Your Network?
In order to determine what you need to do to reach your goals, it’s imperative that you understand where you’re starting from. Do you have VoIP customers and/or trunks today? If not, proceed directly to the Robocall Mitigation world. However, if you have SIP in your network today, what is the status of your end-office switch? Can it support the attestation and signaling required by STIR/SHAKEN? Many switches require an upgrade to support STIR/SHAKEN, while some older switches will never be capable regardless of your willingness to upgrade them. Do you have a session border controller (SBC)? Is that SBC STIR/SHAKEN capable? While many providers have deployed SBCs in their network, not all SBCs are up to date with the latest software capable of fully supporting STIR/SHAKEN. Do you have multiple switches or multiple networks? How do you want to manage these entities?
Getting Started – Where Are You at with iConectiv?
Working with iConectiv can be a major hurdle to deployment. It doesn’t need to be, but many times it gets overlooked. Vendors never discuss it because it doesn’t pertain to them. Customers never discuss it because they don’t necessarily understand what is required. The process itself is not burdensome, but it does take some time/effort/energy to get through. Do you have an OCN? Do you have a Form 499A? Do you have an STI token from iConectiv? Many providers will just point you to the iConectiv website and tell you to come back when you have everything done. Eastwind will work with you to fill out the token application and walk you through the on-line process. It’s something we do daily and it’s something that is better to be done working with a team that knows how to answer the requests. With the deadline fast approaching this is an area that can slow down the process and be frustrating. It’s better to proactively work it, rather than reactively slog through it.
Getting Started – What Vendor Should You Work With?
This is where the rubber meets the road as far as capabilities, flexibility, costs, responsibilities are all concerned. There are many alternative providers…Some carriers want to lock you in to working with them. It may sound easy and inexpensive, but is it? Will their solution work with multiple providers? If not, you’re going to have to go through this same process with multiple providers. Whose certificate(s) are being used? How will tracebacks work? Who is ultimately responsible if a number is wrongly attested? If you go with another STIR/SHAKEN provider, how much work will fall on you to provision attestation and trunk routing? How will this relationship migrate going forward? Will the two systems work together – there are non-standard SIP messages being used by some – in the future and who will make the changes necessary in your network? With the Ribbon/Eastwind solution you get a single vendor solution that will work together and you get the experience to make it all work.
Implementation – What responsibility is on the Service Provider vs the supplier(s)?
The implementation can be as simple as telling a vendor to turn it on or as complicated as coordinating multiple vendors today and tomorrow. Set it and forget it is tempting, especially as the deadline draws near. However, is this really compliance? Are you exposing your company? Is this something you want to explain and/or have to change later?
Ongoing Operations – Getting a call to sign/verify is just the beginning…
There is inevitable de-bugging with different providers to ensure this works end-to-end. There will day-to-day management of the system and it’s call processing. Updates are inevitable as the technology and signaling is still being defined as it’s being rolled out. For those providers who want to be hands-on, making a multi-vendor, multi-technology work today and in the future is all in a day’s work. For those who are juggling multiple technologies and vendors already, the allure of outsourcing this without causing any undue exposure or risk can be appealing.
It's all up to you. With the Ribbon/Eastwind solution you get a single vendor solution that will work seamlessly with the equipment you have installed already from Ribbon and you get the experience to make it all work. Regardless of the path you choose, Eastwind will be available to support you and your team in making work both today and tomorrow.