The BT Openreach PSTN and ISDN 2025 Switch Off

In 2015, BT announced that they will be switching off the PSTN and ISDN in 2025, marking the biggest change in the telecoms industry for over 30 years, but what does this mean for you

 

Why are traditional landlines being withdrawn?

During December 2025, the technology that currently runs our landline telephones will be switched off. Work has already begun to bring traditional phone lines to the end of life. Traditional landlines are currently powered by The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), which allows calls to be made over copper telephone lines. As broadband services have increased in reliability and quality over the past 10 years, the PSTN network has evolved to support this change to be almost completely digital. This means there will no longer be a requirement for the majority of traditional fixed lines.


The priority for Openreach is to maintain a high availability fibre first network, as a result, their legacy infrastructure and equipment serving the PSTN is now ageing and becoming more difficult to maintain

 

How will traditional landlines being withdrawn affect me?

The most impact will be for those businesses still using landline telephones and fax machines. These businesses will need to take steps to move to modern solutions, such as cloud-based phone systems. Cloud phone systems allow calls to be made over the internet and are cost-efficient and easy to install. Modern communication methods also do away with other older PSTN devices such as Fax machines.

Other services rely on the traditional telephone network that may also be affected. Alarm systems, phones in lifts, and payment terminals are common ones. You should contact your provider for specific advice on these

 

What is the difference between traditional phone lines and cloud phone systems?

  • Cloud-based phone systems have a low setup cost with no need for PBX hardware or servers.
  • Lower call costs with no extra charges for multiple lines or call features.
  • Supports remote working with calls able to be made from anywhere with internet access.
  • Easy and inexpensive to scale up as you grow.

 

What do I do need to do now?

If your business is dependent on landline telephony, we recommend switching to a cloud phone system as soon as possible. You'll benefit from cost savings, enhanced capabilities, such as call forwarding, recording, and a more efficient phone solution, with no unexpected downtime or interruption leading up to 2025.

If you’re not currently a SEBS IT client and would like to learn more about our IT support, consultancy, and security expertise please contact us today.


Penetration Testing vs Vulnerability Scans: What’s the Difference?

Penetration testing and vulnerability scanning are two key security services designed to highlight areas of weakness in your business security, so you can ensure they are resolved before a cybersecurity incident occurs.

Vulnerability scanning is often confused with penetration testing with the terms being used interchangeably. In reality, these two techniques are quite different, and both are important for understanding and mitigating cyber risk and maintaining a positive security profile. Understanding the differences between the two will prevent you from investing in one service when you really need the other.

5 Key Differences between Vulnerability Scanning and Penetration Testing

  1. A vulnerability scan typically covers all assets within a business whereas a penetration test is very targeted, covering critical assets only.
  2. Penetration testing requires highly skilled, security analysts, whereas vulnerability scanning can typically be conducted by analysts with knowledge of basic networking and security concepts along with automated tools.
  3. Vulnerability scans and penetration tests can be intrusive and may cause outages and other issues on corporate networks whilst being preformed
  4. Vulnerability scans have a lower cost than penetration tests and can be conducted frequently, penetration tests however are costly and are typically only conducted once per year.
  5. Vulnerability scans can be performed manually or automatically and will complete in as little as several minutes to as long as several hours. Penetration tests will always be manually instigated and last anywhere from days to weeks.

What is vulnerability scanning?

A vulnerability scan is an automated high-level test that discovers and reports on potential vulnerabilities. A vulnerability scan will typically look at your computers, systems and networks and report back on areas of your business that could be exploited. Being mostly automated, vulnerability scans are capable of searching for thousands of vulnerabilities in a very short space of time, typically completing within an hour. The results of which are required for most Cybersecurity certifications such as PCI DSS.

The benefits of vulnerability scanning

Vulnerability scanning provides a detailed list of the vulnerabilities discovered throughout your systems, enabling you to make informed decisions to improve your business security.

Vulnerability scans offer a quick and affordable way to highlight any security vulnerabilities within your business, requiring very little manual input along with regular scanning, Ideal for small to medium businesses.

Due to its high-level approach, the information provided by a vulnerability scan simply indicates if a weakness exists, regardless of its exploitability in that given circumstance and how that may ultimately affect your business.

Vulnerability scanning should be the starting point in your security program, allowing you to get a broad sense of your risk exposure.

 

What is a penetration test?

A penetration test is an exhaustive investigation that is carried out by a real person actually crawling through your network’s complexities to give a detailed and hands-on examination using a wide range of tools to actively exploit weaknesses in your security

Unlike vulnerability scanning, a penetration test simulates a hacker attempting to gain access to your business, penetration testing is quite costly, primarily due to the need to have highly skilled testers designing and executing the tests as this is one of the more effective ways to highlight exploitable areas. Analysts (ethical hackers), search for vulnerabilities and then try to prove they can be exploited, using methods like cracking passwords, buffer overflow and SQL injection. A penetration test might take anywhere from days to weeks and are done on a periodic basis


Understanding the benefits of pen testing

Penetration testing is extremely detailed and will help to pinpoint the risks involved with specific flaws within your business security, and include reports offering descriptions of attacks used, testing methodologies and suggestions for remediation.

Relative to vulnerability scanning, penetration testing is quite costly however using live and manual tests offer greater accuracy and information before remedial work is recommended and implemented.
The accuracy of a penetration test is dependent on the skills of the tester and their understanding of your business and how vulnerabilities can be exploited within your systems

Conclusion

Both vulnerability scanning and penetration testing play important roles in strengthening your cyber security. Your starting point should be Vulnerability scanning to gain a broad sense of your risk. Penetration testing can be used as a periodic add-on test for weaknesses using the same techniques typically leveraged by attackers.

Looking for help to identify weaknesses in your Businesses information security? Get in touch with us today to discover how we can support your security needs.

Give us a call on 01444 416641 or click here to fill in a contact form.