How to Protect Your VoIP Phone System?


Safety first. We reap the benefits of the technological progress and consider it self-evident. With that, we should not forget that modern systems we use are complex and likely vulnerable. There are some thoughts about how to keep VOIP phone systems secured enough.

With an expected market size of over $184 billion by 2027, the VoIP industry is a major force in the telecommunications landscape. The key to VoIP's success is its flexibility. The system can be used for everything from simple calls to complex conference calls, and it can be integrated with a variety of other business applications.

However, its reliance on an internet connection also makes it vulnerable to cyberattacks that can disrupt service and lead to fraud. Since your VoIP phone system is mission-critical to your business, it's important to take steps to protect your VoIP system from attackers. Here are eight best practices you should implement today:

1. Ensure Encryption of Sensitive Voice Traffic

The signaling component of your VoIP system carries information about calls between devices. This information can include the destination of a call, the length of the call, and other identifying information. By encrypting this component of your system, hackers cannot intercept and manipulate calls.

The media component of your VoIP system consists of the actual voice data that is transmitted between devices. This data is typically transmitted in packets. Ensuring encryption over these packets prevents hackers from accessing your voice data. One common protocol used for packet encryption is SRTP (Secure Real-time Transport Protocol).

By encrypting your VoIP traffic, you can make it much more difficult for hackers to eavesdrop on your conversations. If your employees need to access the VoIP system from outside the office, setting up a VPN on their phones can help keep the connection secure. A VPN creates an encrypted "tunnel" between the user's computer and the company's network, making it much more difficult for hackers to intercept communications.

2. Apply Protection Over Voice Systems

By applying physical and logical protection, you can keep your system running optimally. Here’s what you should do:

Use a firewall and Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)

A firewall is a network security system that monitors and controls ingoing and outgoing traffic based on predetermined security rules. An IPS, on the other hand, is a network security device that inspects all inbound and outbound packets and compares them against a set of criteria. If the IPS identifies any malicious or unauthorized activity, it takes appropriate action, such as blocking the packet or sending an alarm.

Both a firewall and IPS are critical components in VoIP security. A VoIP-specific firewall can further secure your system by identifying, blocking, and reporting VoIP threats. When setting up your IPS, be sure to configure it to detect anomalies specific to VoIP traffic so you can properly protect your phone system.

Lock Down Voice Servers Physically and Logically

Your VoIP system runs on IP telephony server hardware, which may include an application server, media gateway, or IP PBX. To physically secure these devices, keep them in a locked room with limited access. Ideally, only authorized personnel should have access to this room.

In addition to physical security measures, you should also take measures to logically secure these devices from unauthorized access. For example, you can password-protect BIOS settings and change default passwords for administrator accounts. Once you’ve changed the passwords, be sure to store them in a secure location.

By physically and logically securing your voice servers, you can help prevent data breaches and keep your VoIP system running smoothly.

3. Keep Software Up-To-Date

Much like any other computer system, your VoIP phone system is susceptible to data loss. That's why it's important to create regular backups of your system. That way, if something does happen, you can restore your system quickly and get back to business as usual.

Software updates are released for a reason — to patch up security holes and fix bugs. So, you must install updates as soon as they're available. Most VoIP providers will push updates directly to your system, so all you need to do is approve them. As for Softphone.Pro, you can always find and download the latest release here.

In addition, limit the number of apps that are installed on each device — only install the necessary ones.

4. Monitor Your Network

Your VoIP system runs on your network, so if your network goes down, so does your phone system. To avoid this, be sure to monitor your network 24/7 with a reliable monitoring tool. That way, if an issue does arise, you can address it quickly and prevent any downtime.

5. Encourage Your Staff to Report Strange Behavior

Since fraudsters often target businesses by impersonating employees or customers, it's important to encourage your staff to report any strange or suspicious behavior they may witness. This includes things like receiving calls from unfamiliar numbers or people asking questions that seem out of place. Encouraging your staff to report this type of behavior can help to prevent fraud before it happens.

6. Enforce a Strong Password Policy

Did you know that 80% of accounts are hacked because of weak passwords? Make sure all employees know not to use weak passwords such as "1234" or "password." Instead, require employees to use passwords that are at least 12 characters long because these are much stronger than the ones consisting of 6 characters. Include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols to create a strong password. As an added measure, apply two-factor authentication.

7. Review Your Call Logs

Many VoIP systems keep detailed records of every call made, including the time, date, and duration of the call, as well as the caller ID information. Reviewing these logs regularly can help you spot patterns that may indicate someone is trying to hack into your system.

8. Implement Remote Device Management

This allows you to remotely manage and monitor all devices that are connected to your VoIP system. This includes desk phones, softphones, and IP phones. You can quickly identify any devices that have been compromised and take steps to mitigate the threat.

Final Thoughts

Post-2020, the popularity of VoIP phone systems and video conferencing has sky-rocketed by 212% while 350 million people use these services daily. However, with this popularity also come security challenges. As a business owner, taking steps to protect your VoIP phone system is essential for maintaining optimal performance. By protecting your VoIP system, you can safeguard your business communications, prevent unauthorized access to your phone system, avoid the costly disruption of service, and offer a fraud-free and reliable service to your clients. This in turn will help you build strong customer relationships and credibility. So don't worry, be sane, and use safe software... you know what :)


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