VoIP Phone Systems

VoIP Phone Systems

What You Need to Know About VoIP Security for Your Business

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Many companies are taking advantage of Voice over IP systems for many reasons. VoIP can add depth to businesses through use of multiple lines, easy conferencing, ability to track call metrics more effectively as part of a cross platform analytics solutions, or even just add raw call data without extra costs. And for international call? Not much is more cost effective than VoIP.

VoIP Security Threats

Like other technologies, VoIP can be exploited by bad people. Needless to say, there are some security risks involved with using VoIP phones. These can be addressed and implemented once these security risked are exposed, assessed, and addressed.

Security risks

Intercepted calls is always a risk when dealing with VoIP systems that are unprotected. Basically, a hacker uses the same skills they would use to hack into a mainframe or network. There is a twist though, once the conversation is intercepted, it has to be decoded. Although that sounds difficult to do - it's not. There are dozens of free hack tools that can turn your digitalized conversation into a sound file, thus exposing potentially sensitive information.

There is also the risk of being co-opted by a hacker. This is called phreaking; using a service provider's bandwidth and passing the costs on to someone else. While this is less of a threat to your day-to-day business security, phreaking not innocuous by any means. This type of hacking can slow your network or lead to a bill that is exponentially higher than expected.

Security solutions

While nothing is fool-proof, there are some steps you can take to make your system not worth the effort to hackers. Here are a few suggestions to inconvenience network predators and encourage them to move on.

Encryption is the most effective way to stymy would-be hackers. Having a phone system capable of 128- bit encryption and actually using the encryption option means that even if your conversations are intercepted, hackers must them decrypt to gain any information. This can be too much of a hassle to deal with for the casual hacker.

For companies that subscribe to the BYOD (bring your own device) philosophy, security can be more of a challenge. While not part of your VoIP solution, employees who use your company WiFi in place of their own telephone service, might unwittingly be opening themselves (and you) up for cyber-attacks. Use of a company virtual private network (VPN) adds another layer of protection beyond simple password protection.

Being smart before you even install your network is the best solution. Knowing what your vulnerabilities are from the beginning is key when addressing VoIP security concerns. Before implementing a voice solution, look at what can be added to the physical layer (firewall, shielded cabling, etc); the software layer (encryption, VPN); and the process layer (work from home VPN policy, employee security policies).

Addressing policies on those three fronts before you implement a VoIP solution will help make your business "just not worth the effort" to would-be hackers.

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