While the benefits of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems over traditional landline phones are without doubt, its popularity has made it a favorite target for cybercriminals. Cloud-hosted solutions introduce some extra security concerns, but that’s not to say they can’t still bring enormous value to your business. That’s true of many modern communications systems, which is why security must be built in by design and default.
Why do cybercriminals target VoIP systems?
Barely a week goes past without another major data breach making global headlines, but it’s important to remember the many thousands that don’t. Smaller businesses are a top target for attackers, simply because they’re perceived as being easier to hack. In the case of VoIP, this may involve the interception of calls or the impersonation of a legitimate user. These breaches can have severe and lasting impacts on businesses, such as data loss and reputational damage. Here are seven tips for preventing these outcomes:
- Enforce multifactor authentication
- Set up a virtual private network
- Use remote device management
- Keep your software up to date
- Educate employees on security
- Monitor and record your calls
- Deactivate inactive accounts
Every employee needs to log into their VoIP account before they can start using it. Because it’s such a common everyday tool for many employees, it’s often tempting to use passwords that are easy to remember, but also just as easy to crack. On top of enforcing strong password policies, you should also deploy multifactor authentication (MFA) and single sign-on (SSO).
An enterprise-grade virtual private network (VPN) encrypts all network traffic and hides your real IP address. A VPN provides a crucial layer of security for remote workers, who may use unsecured home or public wireless networks that are otherwise vulnerable to eavesdropping attacks. No employee should be able to access your VoIP system without connecting via the company VPN.
One of the greatest advantages of VoIP is that it lets employees use any device equipped with a microphone and internet connection to make and receive calls. This means you can let them use their own devices for work, which also reduces costs. That said, it’s essential to maintain visibility over your communications with remote device management, as well as the ability to remotely revoke access rights to devices reported lost or stolen.
Every computing device, whether it’s a workstation, smartphone, or an embedded system, is another potential entry point for hackers. That’s why you have to apply updates as soon as any critical security patches are released. This includes the firmware on your VoIP phones, as well as any other devices connected to the internet.
Cybersecurity is far from being just a technical problem. In fact, almost all incidents involve a human element by way of a social engineering scam. VoIP is a common target for criminals impersonating otherwise legitimate companies or even superiors and employees. Everyone on your team should be educated on the risks and learn to identify such suspicious activities.
There’s no such thing as a completely bullet-proof security strategy, but you can get close. If an attack does make it through, you need to be able to get to the root cause and remediate as early as possible. After all, it typically takes months for victims of data breaches to realize they’ve been hacked. By monitoring and recording all your calls, you can maintain a complete audit trail of all events.
Inactive accounts are a common security risk, simply because they end up being overlooked potential entry points to hackers. This applies to any inactive accounts, including email, cloud-based apps, and VoIP systems. For example, if an employee leaves the company, there’s no reason to keep their accounts open. Instead, access rights should be revoked immediately to any employee-owned device no longer used for work, and inactive accounts should be closed down.
outsourceIT gives your organization a cheaper, safer, and more efficient way to communicate with fully managed VoIP services. Get in touch today to secure your communication systems.