How Secure is Your VoIP Phone System
Security has long been a topic of concern for VoIP phone system users, particularly those who employ VoIP phone systems over networks with valuable customer and proprietary company information. Common threats to VoIP phone system security involve both authentication-related and privacy issues, many of which are similar to those for any sort of data transmission system and which have, for the most part, similar solutions. Denial of service attacks or network security leaks are most susceptible in areas in which specific ports in an organization’s firewall must open to permit the transmission of voice data packets, in which there are IP PBXs, and in which gateway technologies are employed.
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Open Ports for VoIP Phone System Networks
Due to the fact that a network’s firewalls must be opened at certain ports to allow transmission of VoIP phone system data, it is only obvious to worry about how secure your VoIP phone system is. However, prudent security measures to compensate for this occurrence include the encryption of the entire computer network, which will enable VoIP phone system transmissions to be encrypted as well. The encryption of internal VoIP phone system traffic should significantly reduce insider attacks, while it is useful to separate and isolate voice traffic onto a virtual Local Area Network and run the encrypted VoIP phone system traffic over a virtual private network for external communication. Another effective way of compensating for open ports is to turn off VoIP phone system protocols that aren’t currently being used by the network to seal those points of entry.
IP PBX phone systems, which are largely server-based and are used for logging call information as well as for facilitating VoIP phone system service through an internal or a proprietary operating system, are frequently vulnerable to a number of infiltrations and viruses. Hacking into these areas can result in substantial compromising of valuable information, which is why it’s best to keep such equipment frequently monitored with intrusion detection systems and securely placed behind firewalls. Other security measures for IP PBX phone systems include patching them against vulnerabilities and separating their domain from that of other servers to deny internet accessibility to them. It may even be useful to grant limited administrative access to their VoIP phone system servers.
These technologies also provide a means through which hackers may infiltrate a VoIP phone system and make free phone calls. The external use of VoIP phone system requires gateway technologies to convert data packets from the IP network into voice information which is then sent over a public switched phone network, which allows infiltrators the ability to modify, store, identify, and playback the traffic transmitted through the network. The key to compensating for this particular VoIP phone system vulnerability is to restrict access control lists and configure the gateway so that only approved users have the ability to utilize voice calls.
Tips to Secure your VoIP Phone System
Here are some proven dos and don’ts when it comes to ensuring the security of your VoIP phone systems:
- Track your usage.
- Use private VLANs.
- Include security terms in your agreement.
- Keep your VoIP phone system behind the Firewall.
Track Your Usage
All VoIP phone systems whether private PBX, cloud-based, or on-premises, are prone to be hacked. The most typical attack on a phone system is an account takeover (ATO), also called telecom fraud in which the attacker makes calls costing the owner calling charges. The best way to protect yourself against this threat is to keep a track of your VoIP phone system usage, so you can quickly identify an attack and take steps to mitigate the situation.
Use Private VLANs
A VLAN enables IT managers to have improved control over their networks, as it segments VoIP phone system traffic onto its own network. There are different ways to protect your VoIP phone system traffic from congestion caused by other app traffic running over your network. However, the best way to separate VoIP traffic is by putting it on its own network. Once you have separated your VoIP phone system traffic, your goal is achieved. This private VLA network serves as a single access point that you can use to connect your device to a router, server, or network.
Include Security Terms in Your Agreement
Most terms and conditions are decided upon at the time of signing the agreement, so make sure to include security terms in your agreement once you have chosen and selected a VoIP vendor for purchasing your solution. It is best to try to get explicit VoIP phone system security agreements and terms in written form. Do this while negotiating your contract with the vendor. Smaller businesses may experience some difficulty in getting their terms catered to, but this should not frighten them from not trying. You can always move to a different choice in your list of potential VoIP phone system vendors and decide on one that accommodates your security terms.
Keep your VoIP behind the Firewall.
A big mistake you can make that can prove to be a fatal flaw for the security of your VoIP network is not to keep it behind your firewall. Your VoIP phone system is a computing device too that is connected to Ethernet or your Wi-Fi network. Therefore, just like with any other computing device, your VoIP phone system needs to be secured behind the corporate firewall too.
While the VoIP phone system security process might be somewhat complicated for some businesses, such as those that deploy such devices in workers' homes, it is still essential to carry it out. Consider using softphones instead of regular phones as they are equally effective yet cheap, and since they are connected to a personal computer or a mobile device connected wirelessly to the home network, such softphones automatically get behind the home router's firewall. However, your IT team should ensure that every home wireless router implements a firewall in a VoIP phone system-friendly manner.