Auto Provisioning is a great tool. It enables a carrier to send you an IP phone that you will plug into the Internet. Once plugged in, the phone will automatically find the provisioning server and download the correct configuration files.
So why worry? Look behind the fold.
The way auto provisioning works is that when plugged in the phone contacts a provisioning server. This server can be housed at your PBX provider’s data center or the manufacturers data centers. Using the MAC address of your phone the server points the phone to the correct provisioning files to download. These files contain the complete configuration of your phone including the username, password, proxy server, time zone, and even your park and BLF keys.
This sort of setup usually saves the carrier the expense and effort needed for programming an IP phone to connect to their servers. Mail order VoIP firms use this method frequently so they never have to login to your phone if there is ever an issue. Instead, they can change the configuration file on their servers and have you restart the phone. This sounds like a great technology that will make your life, and theirs, a lot easier. Think again!
The issue with auto provisioning is security. In order to facilitate auto provisioning, the VoIP server needs to remain open to accept inbound requests, from phones all over the world, for provisioning files. However, by leaving it open, individuals with some technical knowledge can hack into the server or spoof your MAC address and gain access to these configuration files. This can result in fraudulent activity on your account. This leaves you paying their telephone bill.
At Steadfast Telecommunications, your security is our number one concern. We never auto provision. Our engineers take the time to inspect and program all VoIP phones before they leave our warehouses. Our servers are secured and programmed not to allow auto provisioning. Your phones password and configuration is never stored where a hacker can access it. If you do choose to go with a mail order VoIP solution ask them if they implement auto provisioning. If that answer is yes ask them what security procedures they have in place to prevent a hacker from gaining access to your phones configuration files.