In many respects, the best hosted VoIP services can be considered safer than the on-premise variety, for the simple fact that proper vigilance of a VoIP system requires continuous monitoring, which an outsourced hosted VoIP vendor should ideally have the resources, equipment, and personnel to do.
However, the crux of this premise lies in determining that such a hosted VoIP service provider is adequately prepared (and willing to indicate so) to deal with the myriad threats to which hosted VoIP is vulnerable. Additionally, there are other security measures users of hosted VoIP can employ to ensure their networks’ safety.
What are the Risks of VoIP?
While the prudent application of security measures by both hosted VoIP vendors and their users dramatically decreases the likelihood of security breaches, it should be understood that hosted VoIP faces many of the same malicious intrusions that on-premise VoIP does.
Hosted VoIP services can be subject to many security risks, such as the following:
Malware and Viruses
Viruses, malware, and worms are common threats to hosted business VoIP networks, just like other devices in your office. Since hosted VoIP rely on your internet connection, they are just as susceptible to cybersecurity risks such as malware and viruses.
Phishing is the attempt to steal sensitive data disguised as a reputed organization. Hosted VoIP services can be abused by phishing attempts and get users to reveal sensitive information while seeming more trustworthy than they appear.
Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks
DoS attacks are carried out by overwhelming the hosted VoIP network with redundant SIP trunking and call signaling messages to prompt premature drops in calls. Usually, DoS attacks are carried out to overtake the administrative tools of a hosted VoIP system and consume all available bandwidth. This malicious attack can be a nightmare for your call center or collaboration services your hosted VoIP system provides.
Without proper hosted VoIP security features, your system can be susceptible to eavesdropping attacks where hackers can listen and eavesdrop on sensitive information such as passwords, usernames, phone numbers, and other crucial data. These cybersecurity threats can also infiltrate your voicemail, tamper with phone conversations, and reroute calls to malicious forwarding services to steal data from your hosted VoIP service.
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How To Secure Your Hosted VoIP System
Several ways can augment such hosted VoIP service provider security methods that end-users can utilize. Anti-virus software can always be purchased and implemented by hosted VoIP users. A particularly effective way of supplementing vendor security measures is to separate voice and data traffic into their own LANs. By utilizing virtual networks to transmit information from a single physical network into respective ones for data and voice traffic, users can hone in on voice data more effectively to monitor specific activities that may pose threats.
Multifactor Authentication methods and user-based hosted VoIP roles can also ensure better VoIP security within your hosted VoIP system.
Regular Call Log Reviews
Call analytics to review average call duration, average call hold time, the number of incoming/outgoing calls, and total duration by users can help detect any irregularities in your hosted VoIP usage. Having a good idea of the baseline usage of your business’s hosted VoIP system can help spot anything out of the ordinary and exercise the necessary measures to secure your hosted VoIP network.
Geo-Fencing/Disabling International Calling
If your business operates an international call center, it is essential to ensure that you use the proper security measures in countries with high-security concerns. Geo-fencing can ensure that your hosted VoIP network doesn’t receive calls from outside regions to further enhance security.
Limit Physical Access to Network Equipment
An easy way to secure your hosted VoIP network would be to ensure that your network equipment cannot be tampered with by unauthorized users. Measures such as security cameras and other monitoring methods can be effective to secure your hosted VoIP equipment.
Encrypting call processing data is crucial to operate a secure hosted VoIP system. Most hosted VoIP vendors offer end-to-end encryption services to make sure that any lurkers cannot access sensitive information.
One of the most crucial steps to ensuring hosted VoIP security is to educate the users of your hosted VoIP system to use the system the right way. This way, even your average employee may be able to detect any irregular activity. Your staff should be trained on the importance of data privacy to ensure that sensitive data is not shared unintentionally to aid criminal activity.
hosted VoIP security training sessions should be commonplace within any organization to ensure that the staff is always up-to-date on the current security threats and the remedies.
Prevent Ghost Calls
Port scan requests can prompt a hosted VoIP phone to ring and gain access to the network. This can be prevented by allowing incoming calls only from the hosted VoIP system’s own server instead of outside servers.
As procuring and employing security sufficient to monitor a good VoIP service from external and internal threats effectively can be expensive, it is frequently to the user’s advantage to pay for this service as part of its monthly fee for utilizing hosted VoIP. However, it then becomes prudent to determine that the vendor selected has the best VoIP features and tools and the wherewithal to adequately protect the interests of its customers from security violations.
Hosted VoIP providers should have tools such as firewalls with added functionality specific to VoIP and sophisticated intrusion-prevention systems that can be configured for VoIP threats. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) can also allow voice traffic to be encrypted and transmitted over secure pathways. It may be helpful to have vendors share an audit trail from an independent auditor to prove the security of their systems.
Many hosted VoIP vendors also automatically apply security patches to guarantee that your system is protected by the most updated security protocols. To compare the best hosted VoIP vendors with the most up-to-date security systems, visit our phone systems software page and compare the security options offered by competing vendors.