Data breaches are in the news every day. When large businesses like Equifax, Target, and Uber are being infiltrated, it is hard to be confident that the technology that you use is secure and that your information is safe.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has become a business communications standard. Small to medium businesses, enterprises and the government have adopted this technology because of its reliability, functionality and scalability. The information exchanged via VoIP is often important and sensitive. 

So are VoIP and hosted PBX phone systems really secure?

Any phone call – whether made from a landline or from a mobile phone – can be ‘tapped’. VoIP calls are no exception, but because its technology uses digital signals, the techniques to monitor calls are very different. In order to intercept data packets, they would need to be captured as they travel between your network and Internet Service Provider (ISP). Listed below are several reasonable precautions to secure your network and VoIP system:

  • Firewalls and Virus Protection: maintaining a firewall with up-to-date virus software is the most effective way to keep your data safe.
  • Encryption: this protects data while it’s in transmission. Use a third-party encryption product and ask your service provider about secure phone sets, gateways and proxies with built-in encryption.
  • Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN) or Virtual Private Network (VPN): these provide a secure tunnel for voice traffic.
  • Manufacturer’s Security Protocols: enable as many as possible, adapting them to your own specifications rather than using the standard manufacturer’s defaults.
  • Access Controls and Authentication Protocols: establish protocols to ensure that only legitimate users gain access to the VoIP network.
  • Password Security: build strong passwords and change them often. For more information on setting strong passwords, read this blog. (link to password blog)

As with any security measure, user education and vigilance is key. It is important for users to be aware of the security measures in place. They should also be encouraged to avoid suspicious websites and to refrain from clinking links in phishing emails. Also, if in doubt, they should report any strange activity to your IT managers immediately who can work with the company’s service provider.

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About Comtel

Comtel Communications, a telecom/technology consulting agency based in Richmond, Virginia since 1991, provides best-in-class solutions and unbiased counsel to a diverse group of small, medium, and enterprise-level businesses, totaling more than $18.2M in annual billings. Leveraging unique access to 350+ national and international providers, Comtel benefits its clients through competitive quotes from multiple sources, to ensure their business goals are met with current and dynamic telecom and technology services. Acting as a partner, long after contracts are signed and services are deployed, Comtel offers superb back-office support to manage upgrades, track orders, and provide training to clients.

Author: Mike Martin