VoIP Security Steps Every Business Should Implement
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is not a new technological development. Businesses large and small have utilized VOIP for many years. In the early days, a quick VOIP speed test would have shown any number of issues, but these days, making calls over the internet is just as good as using a landline.
What is VoIP?
VoIP routes calls over the internet rather than down a traditional telephone line. As a result, it costs less to use. If you use a free VoIP provider such as Skype, calls are even free if you use a free Wi-Fi network to connect to the internet.
Free VoIP communication solutions such as Skype are great for startups and small businesses, but larger businesses will soon discover that there are limitations when using free VoIP software. Luckily, there are plenty of VoIP software solution providers capable of creating bespoke systems for your business.
The Benefits of VoIP
VoIP is cost effective and eminently scalable, so when a business needs an inexpensive way to communicate via telephone with clients and staff, VOIP is often their first choice. Users can make voice calls or have a video chat. Multiple people can connect to the same call, which is a quick and easy way to hold a conference call at short notice.
You can make VoIP calls from a computer or smartphone. Calls are routed to your device no matter where you are, so if you travel a lot on business, clients and colleagues can always reach you as long as you are connected to the internet.
There are clearly many advantages offered by VoIP, which is why it is so popular. However, just because it works well and is easy to use, you should never forget the importance of security.
Security Risks to a VoIP System
The online world is a wonderful place, but online technology is always under attack from cyber criminals. This type of threat to the security of a business is less well understood than threats that are more obvious. You probably recognize the advantages of fitting security grilles and a high-tech alarm system, but have you considered the threats to your VoIP system?
Hackers and cyber criminals have a wealth of techniques at their disposal. Malicious users can hijack a VoIP connection and listen in to a call, intercepting data or stealing a user’s identity. VoIP systems are also vulnerable to DoS attacks, just as websites are, so your company’s communication system could easily be taken offline if your server is hit by a DoS attack. Hackers may also target a VoIP service so they can make premium rare or long distance calls.
Essential Security Steps
If your business’s VoIP system is hit by a security breach, you could experience a loss of data, a loss of service, and most probably a large financial loss. At the very least, normal activities will be disrupted at great cost to you and your business. To prevent this from happening, here are some essential security steps you must take if you use VoIP technology.
- Set Strong Passwords – Passwords are often the weakest link on a VoIP network. Simple passwords such as ‘password’ are next to useless, so make sure passwords are fit for purpose. You must also be careful not to share passwords via email or over an insecure network.
- Use a VoIP Firewall – VoIP networks need protection from a suitably secure firewall. Large VoIP providers will install a firewall on a managed network, but if you use a free VoIP system, make sure you have a good firewall in place to protect your device from hackers.
- Data Encryption – Install encryption tools to protect your VoIP from eavesdroppers. This is especially important if you log in via public networks, as these are hot spots for cyber criminals on the hunt for useful data. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are useful in this regard, as they encrypt all data as it crosses over the network, so for maximum security, set up a VPN in conjunction with a VoIP network.
- Monitor Networks 24/7 – The majority of cyber-attacks take place outside of normal working hours. Hackers do not work 9-5, so you need to be alert at all times. Since you probably will not want your IT department working 24/7, it is sensible to use a managed IT service. This will monitor activity on your VoIP network out of hours, and if there is an attack, deal with it in a timely fashion.
Never underestimate the importance of cyber security when you use a VoIP. If you do, you are guaranteed to be caught out at some point in the near future.