Data security vulnerabilities often sound like something that would happen to someone else’s business; however, that’s a dangerous assumption. Every business needs to take data security seriously, especially those with VoIP communication systems. Why? In this article we will break down the VoIP security best practices for businesses and why every business should follow them.
- Always keep user credentials and other network information in a safe and secure space.
- Develop a security plan and update it regularly.
- Work with a trusted provider to help stay ahead of VoIP vulnerabilities and updates.
VoIP Security Best Practices
Secure user credentials
There are many facets to securing user credentials related to your VoIP security. Your system users need to be educated and informed about the importance of data security. Be sure to implement strong password policies and require two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) for every system. Take advantage of encryption methods, store all credentials securely, limit access to credentials, making them only available to those who genuinely need them, and educate your employees on the importance of strong and secure user credentials as they relate to VoIP security.
Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication
If you still need to do so, enforce strict password policies which require complex and unique passwords. Users should routinely change passwords to minimize the chance of a security or data breach. Another layer of security is setting up 2-factor authentication on your users’ accounts. Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security system that requires two distinct forms of identification in order to access information.
Implement credential management policy and periodic password updates
Always securely store VoIP security credentials. Consider using encryption to protect your users’ credentials. This safeguard includes Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol (SRTP) for VoIP calls.
Regular Call Log Reviews
Importance of reviewing call logs
Regularly reviewing call logs may seem tedious and unnecessary, but implementing this best practice can help you detect problems that may otherwise fly under the radar. Reviewing call logs can tremendously help with incident investigations and quality control that ties back into employee performance and client satisfaction.
Detecting unusual call activity and identifying potential gaps or misuse
Call log audits can fill in missing pieces of the puzzle if a VoIP security incident happens, which helps solve problems between all parties involved. They can also determine the extent of a security breach, identify the parties involved and the methods used by attackers.
Disable International Calling or Enable Geo-Fencing
Use geo-fencing to prevent connections from high-risk countries
Geo-fencing helps create virtual boundaries around specific geographic areas. When used with VoIP security, it can help block or limit access to your company from specific locations considered high-risk. This process involves establishing geo-fencing rules (defining regions where connections are deemed safe and high-risk), applying geo-fencing policies, and continuous monitoring. Cybersecurity is a practice that is subject to routine monitoring. When reviewing your geo-fencing practices, it’s essential to look out for patterns and potential threats. It’s also important to adjust your geo-fencing rules as your business expands into new regions or if threat levels change.
Block unwanted calls from specific countries or phone numbers
When you establish geo-fencing rules, you can block unwanted call traffic from specific countries or individual phone numbers. This blockage will help cut down on unnecessary threats and allow you to control your VoIP network security–protecting your staff and business.
Utilize SaaS for VoIP Calls
Outsource VoIP services to a SaaS provider
Consider outsourcing VoIP services to a Software as a Service (SaaS) provider. This outsourcing will contribute to the ease of use for your company – especially one without a dedicated IT team in place. Because SaaS VoIP solutions usually have lower upfront costs than traditional systems, there’s no need to purchase, maintain, or upgrade hardware.
The SaaS pricing also makes it easier to plan your budget. SaaS VoIP services are very scalable, allowing your business to easily modify the system according to periods of growth or downsizing. Your SaaS provider can also help keep you updated with the latest system features and updates, taking another item off your plate.
Many providers also use mobile apps and features like call forwarding, which makes your system genuinely virtual. In addition to the features listed above, a qualified SaaS provider will enhance the reliability and security of your VoIP system so you can focus on other aspects of doing business.
Benefits of using a reputable provider with built-in security measures
When you choose a reputable provider with built-in VoIP security measures, you can rest assured that they have your company’s security in mind. This process will save you time and effort when constantly monitoring the system in-house and wondering if updates or additional security expenditures are necessary.
A reputable provider will keep you up to date and can ensure the safety of your system at all times, giving you confidence in the integrity and reliability of your chosen communication systems.
Stay Up to Date on Security Patches
Importance of updating firmware on VoIP phones
Much like your personal and business computers, staying up to date with the firmware on your VoIP phones is essential. Updated firmware will ensure that your phone systems are running to maximum capacity while remaining protected against potential security threats or data loss. With timely updates, you maintain the functionality and performance of your phone system.
Incorporate firmware updates into regular network device updates
Having a plan to regularly update your firmware should be part of your company’s overall maintenance and cybersecurity strategy. Staying on a schedule to update your firmware will help enhance security, improve performance, fix bugs, maintain compliance, and optimize support and compatibility. You can easily remain consistent if you plan to update the firmware when you do your regular network device updates.
Use a Router with a Firewall
Connect IP phones through a router with a firewall
Using a router with a firewall to connect your VoIP phones will add a layer of security to protect against attacks. A firewall will control device access and prevent unauthorized use. A separate firewall will also help protect your other business data and resources if your VoIP system is compromised. It’s important to know if your business must meet any communication regulations. Firewalls will also help meet regulatory compliance in some areas.
Enable firewall features to monitor and block suspicious traffic
Enabling firewall features to monitor and block suspicious traffic is a fundamental security best practice that helps protect your network, systems, and data from various threats. Firewall protection will enhance your overall security landscape, reducing the attack surface and providing a crucial defense against unauthorized access, malware, and other malicious activities.
Limit Physical Access to Networking Equipment
Secure networking equipment in locked rooms or cabinets
Securing your VoIP equipment is as vital as securing all other systems and information. Be sure to keep your equipment in a locked room or cabinet. Consider using a lock with recorded digital key access to record who enters your server room/VoIP access in real-time. These types of locks can also be easily changed should you have a change in staff or management.
Install security cameras and maintain access logs for auditing
Security cameras are also of the utmost importance when it comes to monitoring usage of your devices. Consider using a system that integrates with your VoIP system. The more interoperability you have between systems, the better.
Restrict User Permissions
Secure web interfaces and user credentials
As referenced above, it’s essential to keep your VoIP interface secure and only accessible to those who need it. You can do this by ensuring your web interface enables HTTPS to encrypt communication.
Always require strong user authentication with complex passwords and multi-factor authentication. Require regular password updates and include that in your security policy.
Additionally, update your software regularly and take the time to implement a user account management system. This security will enhance the organization of adding and removing user accounts and maintaining a list of authorized users. The account management system will also help you revoke access to employees who leave your company or change roles.
Assign user permissions to limit access to VoIP system features
Assigning user permissions is vital and will limit access to specific features and functionalities based on roles and responsibilities within your organization. Setting permissions at a granular level will reduce the risk of unauthorized access and misuse by aligning user permission with job roles.
Partner with a VoIP provider that offers end-to-end data encryption
Encrypt network traffic to protect against unauthorized access
Encryption is a critical element of network security. It provides a secure way for transmitting sensitive data across networks, including the Internet.
Encryption converts data into coded form; only someone with the credentials and decryption key can read it. Encryption enforces confidentiality, ensuring data is unreadable during transmission even if an interception should occur.
It verifies the integrity of the data since only the keyholder can modify the data. It provides a means of authentication by confirming each party’s data, and it ensures receipt by using specific methods of non-repudiation (like digital signatures).
Importance of user education in VoIP security
Just as you train your users to recognize malware and phishing schemes, it’s equally important to help educate your team on VoIP security. This education will build awareness and add a layer of control when keeping data safe and sound on your network.
You can educate your users through regular training sessions. The training should be user-friendly and not overly technical. Consider simulating real-life threats to ensure your users know how to respond appropriately.
After you’ve conducted the initial training, consider regular quarterly or annual refreshers, as cyber threats are constantly evolving.
Train users on security credentials, quality of service, and potential threats
As you put a training plan together for your users, you will want to do so as part of a more extensive comprehensive VoIP security policy. This policy should outline:
- the dos, don’ts, and roles and personal responsibilities of each team member
- updates on password security
- 2FA or MFA authentication
- what to do if an update is needed
- how to report VoIP security issues
- immediate actions to take should there be a compromise
Prevent Ghost Calls
Understand and prevent ghost calls
Ghost calls are a type of call that can occur within VoIP systems. They typically don’t show on caller ID, don’t leave a message, and when you answer, you’ll likely get no response. These calls can come any time of day and often happen repeatedly, causing frustration and a disturbance in the workplace.
These calls are often automated by hackers looking for vulnerabilities in VoIP systems. If your VoIP system is poorly secured, it may reveal information that an attacker could use to exploit your business. If you’re receiving calls like this, it’s critical to ensure your system is tightened up and protected from any potential hackers trying to access your system.
Configure IP phones to accept calls only from connected servers
Accepting calls from only trusted or connected services will help enhance the security of your VoIP system. You’ll experience fewer interruptions in your day, and the quality of calls will improve. This configuration is an essential step in your VoIP security best practices that will help improve your phone service, network, and prevent ghost calls.
Implement Intrusion Prevention Systems
Use intrusion prevention systems to monitor and balance VoIP system performance
Using an intrusion prevention system (IPS) helps to monitor and regulate VoIP system performance. Intrusion prevention systems are critical players in identifying and mitigating potential threats and suspicious activity within a network.
When the IPS monitors traffic, it can detect and prevent unauthorized access attempts or malicious activities that could compromise your VoIP system. It also helps monitor bandwidth usage, traffic congestion, and service quality to ensure everything is going as expected.
Collaborate with the IT department for available tools and security patches
It’s essential to work directly with your IT department to utilize all tools and security patches necessary to keep your VoIP system running well and up to date. Failure to do so could leave your network open to vulnerabilities that can compromise your network.
This type of collaboration requires clear communication channels, clearly defined objectives, regular meetings and discussions, clarifying expectations, and an implementation plan that consists of ongoing collaboration and updates.
In the digital era, where businesses are increasingly interconnected, the need for secure, reliable, and efficient communication is paramount. At VerCom Systems, we recognize that your VoIP solution is more than just a convenience—it’s a lifeline that keeps your business running smoothly.
Understanding and implementing VoIP security measures might feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Let VerCom Systems be your trusted partner in ensuring your communication infrastructure is robust, secure, and tailored to your unique business needs. Our team of professionals has the experience, knowledge, and commitment required to help you navigate the complexities of VoIP security. Call or contact us today.