Voice safety and VoIP security: Best practices

At Nice Network, our VoIP strategy involves teaching you everything you need to know about IP systems - including how you can protect them...

The digital world in 2019 isn’t always a safe place.

In 2016, The IBM Security Intelligence group warned the world that VoIP attacks would become increasingly common in the years ahead. Since then, we’ve seen countless issues with data theft and toll fraud among IP phone strategies.

VoIP has emerged as the ultimate way to achieve reliable, cost-effective calls. Unfortunately, this means that criminals are doing everything they can to hack the IP phone system. A thief with the power to eavesdrop on valuable business data can potentially destroy a business and harm its customers in the process. Even hacking voicemails can be lucrative if they expose private business information.

At Nice Network, we deliver future-focused telecoms solutions. Our VoIP strategy involves teaching you everything you need to know about IP systems – including how you can protect them.

VoIP security best practices

VoIP is the future of calling for most companies. With Voice over Internet Protocol, companies can connect with colleagues and clients around the world, without excessive cost. Additionally, VoIP delivers reliability and consistency that’s difficult to achieve with the “POTS” or “Plain Old Telephone System.” At Nice Network, we can introduce you to the benefits of things like VoIP cabling, fixed line communication, and enhanced Direct Internet Access solutions.

However, it’s essential to ensure that you also have your VoIP security best practices in place too. The average estimated loss from global toll fraud each year is approximately $46.3 billion. Whether you’re using a hosted IP service or an on-site VoIP system, achieving secure voice is similar to protecting your data environment. Depending on the nature of your business, and the compliance requirements that you have in place, your security policies may be complicated. However, they’re also necessary.

VoIP risks extend beyond toll fraud, to eavesdropping, voicemail hacks, and even data network hacks. IP phones can act as entry points into your business network, which means that a simple call could bring down an entire business.

Fortunately, you can improve your VoIP security.

How to secure your phone system

Whether you’re running your phone strategy in the cloud or on-premise, the first thing you need to do is research the person providing your telephone system. Evaluate the services that you get alongside your minutes and bandwidth allowances. VoIP security best practices always begin with due diligence.

For instance, find out whether you have access to VLAN configurations, user authentication for each layer of your team, and end-to-end encryption. Depending on your industry, it may also be necessary to check for things like HIPAA, PCI, and SOX compliance.

If you are hosting your VoIP strategy on the cloud, then you’ll also need to consider how the data you collect through each conversation is being stored. Does your secure phone system send encrypted packages of data to a safe place? Is the information protected, but still available so that you can access it for GDPR purposes if a client exercises their right to be forgotten? This is a conversation you can have with your phone service provider when you start setting up your system.

Protecting your phone system

To some extent, ensuring that you maintain secure calls involves choosing the right provider to deliver your phone system, as well as the proper support to set your strategy up. However, you’ll also need to take advantage of the features on and around your VoIP system that may boost security. For instance, you can control access to your voice network by device certificates or user names and passwords.

There are also physical forms of protection that you can add to your VoIP security best practices. For instance, you can:

  • Implement Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) to filter and monitor VoIP traffic, and track any unusual activities in your environment.
  • Lock your physical servers and implement two-factor authentication. 2FA or multi-factor authentication makes it harder for people to break their way into your VoIP systems.
  • Ensure that you regularly update your operating systems and avoid using any software that isn’t approved.

If employees are tapping into your VoIP system from their mobile devices, make sure to use MobiControl features too. Nice Network offers SOTI MobiControl for MDM solutions to safeguard your data on all remote or mobile devices.

VoIP security best practices: Additional steps

Some VoIP phone systems also come with support for things like encryption for voice traffic. You can add encryption by device, user, or segment. Remember, sometimes, encrypting your entire technology stack can lead to unnecessary complexity. Most industry leaders recommend starting with encryption at the signal level at your Internet Gateway with SIP over TLS (Transport Layer Security). You can also encrypt media packages using protocols like SRTP.

What’s more, remember that even the best encryption and firewalls won’t work if you don’t implement the right policies with your users. Your day-to-day employees need to understand the built-in security features included on their phones. Make sure team members apply strong passwords to voicemail inboxes, and report software anomalies immediately.

Here at Nice Network, we know our way around secure calls and VoIP security. Contact us to find out more about our phone solutions.