Why Businesses Need to Secure VoIP Hardware
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services are predicted to grow 10 percent every year until 2020. With experts predicting only six percent of the United States population will be using a landline f...
VoIP statistics like these are readily available online. More businesses migrate to VoIP for its significant benefits including cost savings, increased flexibility, and productivity. The benefits are great if businesses take the right steps to secure their VoIP hardware.
Voice over Internet Protocol allows you to make calls using virtual telephone lines instead of traditional hard lines. Companies like Skype, Google Voice, and Facebook continue to change the communication industry with products and updates that open the door to making calls anywhere there is an Internet connection.
Utilizing the Internet for calls opens a door to risks that we only needed to worry about with our computers and cloud-based information like hackers and breaches. If not managed and secured properly businesses risk losing money, time, and confidential information. Luckily, securing your VoIP hardware is not as complex as you think. Secure these common hardware types associated with your VoIP services.
- Gateways. A gateway device converts telephony traffic to travel over the Internet. Depending on your service, you may need different types of gateways – MGCP or ALG. The best security step to take is to keep your voice gateways separate from other networks. This limits access from outsiders and traffic that is not welcomed.
- Firewalls. The firewall keeps unwanted traffic out of your system. The biggest mistake businesses make is utilizing an existing firewall not compatible with VoIP services. Firewalls need to be VoIP-aware to properly look for and block suspicious activity. Melissa Coen outlines additional technical measures to consider in her article, Building Security into Your Hosted VOIP System.
- Use private addresses
- Avoid NAT
- Each network trunk needs its own ID
- Disable VLAN 1 as it is more vulnerable to attacks
- Place all unused ports in a VLAN outside of all in-place networks and disable those ports
- Enable 802.1X authentication for the ports on all switches
- Implement Access Control Lists (ACLs)
- Switches & routers. The two most popular security measures for switches and routers are Secure Shell (SSH) and Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS).
- SSH- Authenticates and secures data transferred between devices over the Internet. This option is popular when systems are managed remotely.
- HTTPS- Utilizes Secure Socket Layer (SSL) under HTTP. According to TechTarget, this measure protects against man in the middle attacks and eavesdropping.
Maintain security over time by installing patches and security updates consistently. Overlooking security maintenance opens your business to hackers.
VoIP is here to stay and more businesses are updating their communication strategy to take advantage of the benefits. Protect those benefits by securing these vital pieces of hardware.