Many businesses make the switch from traditional telephony to VoIP to gain access to advanced features that aren’t available on analog devices and experience substantial cost savings. But the new capabilities also bring on specific security risks that need to be addressed within your system.
Now, these threats shouldn’t be seen as a deterrent as they can largely be remedied with basic tools, some of which may be available through your VoIP provider. However, it is important to be aware of their existence to help ensure you take the right steps to protect your system.
Here are some of the top VoIP security threats today and what you can do to minimize your risk.
Since VoIP is internet-based, there are risks that hackers could attempt to access your phone service. This includes attempts to take over your system as well as access certain options, like the ability to make a phone call through your numbers or gain entry into employee voicemails.
While no provider can protect you from hackers completely, there are numerous ways to minimize the risk. Often, these mirror the best practices associated with computer and network safety and general cybersecurity. For example, make sure that all PINs and passwords are changed from the default, and that strong passwords are required. You also want to keep the associated software up to date to ensure you implement all available security patches that repair discovered vulnerabilities.
Additionally, make sure your internal WiFi is protected with WPA protocol and that employees that travel don’t place VoIP calls over public WiFi, and that regular antivirus scans are completed on all networked systems.
VoIP calls flow as data through your system, leaving the device, heading through your ISP, routing through your VoIP provider, and reaching its destination. Unencrypted call data can potentially be intercepted, allowing a third-party to listen in to conversations at any of these points without you being aware. This is especially pertinent when personal information is discussed that could allow someone to steal an employee’s identity or when critical business details are discussed that could have value to other parties, including security information like worker usernames and passwords for critical systems.
Generally, the simplest solution to this risk is to select a VoIP service that encrypts call data. Multiple providers offer encryption options, making this relatively easy to implement. Alternatively, you can run the calls through a VoIP compatible VPN, achieving the same goal but likely at a higher cost.
Since your VoIP system is connected to your network, a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack can affect your phone system as well as your network. Any organization that is relatively in the public eye could be a target, so it’s important to understand the risk.
There are security companies that offer services designed specifically to minimize DDoS attacks, including some specifically for VoIP systems. Depending on your current network security, the need for an additional product may not be high, but it’s worth considering if your company may be a high-profile target.
While the security threats may seem like a challenge, it can be largely overcome once the proper precautions are in place. A little security can go a long way when you operate a VoIP system, so it is wise to discuss the risks and your needs with your provider to help create a comprehensive solution that is right for you.