Hackers love to take over VoIP phone systems to blast out calls, and it can cost companies thousands of dollars before they realize there’s an issue. When you manage your phone system in-house, VoIP security and encryption are a constant battle.
But you don’t have to do it on your own. Hosted VoIP providers can help protect against common security issues and keep your company’s information protected. As long as you’re following basic cybersecurity practices, your chosen provider will take care of ensuring your data is secure, encrypted, and out of the hands of hackers.
With Hosted VoIP, Security and Encryption is Not Your Problem
The way to beat hackers is simple: don’t manage your phone system alone. Hosted VoIP providers specialize in making sure transmitted data is securely encrypted and free from eavesdropping or unauthorized access.
Using a hosted VoIP is easy, and unlike traditional phone systems, it doesn’t require any hardware. This means you won’t need a room filled with tech like Private Branch Exchange (PBX) systems, Session Border Controllers (SBCs), or other networking equipment.
Your employees can start making calls as soon as they log into the system. Of course, even though the VoIP provider takes care of the heavy lifting on the security front, you’ll still want to make sure your team is following basic cybersecurity practices. You should have protocols in place to ensure your employees choose strong passwords, delete old accounts to prevent unauthorized access, and regularly update software to ensure the system remains secure.
So how exactly do hosted VoIP providers keep data secure and encrypted?
- Firewall configurations—Your chosen VoIP provider will set up and manage firewalls. These firewalls monitor and control incoming and outgoing network traffic based on specific security rules.
- Intrusion prevention systems—Your VoIP provider will also employ systems that actively monitor the network for malicious activities or policy violations, and they can take automatic action if something’s wrong.
- VoIP traffic encryption—VoIP providers ensure that your voice data is encrypted by using protocols like Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol (SRTP) to prevent unauthorized access.
- Regular security audits—They’ll conduct regular reviews and audits of your system to identify and fix potential security risks.
- Monitoring and alerts—They’ll also implement monitoring systems that provide alerts for suspicious activity. This means they can respond to potential security threats before they become a real problem.
- Security patches and firmware updates—And finally, they’ll manage and apply any needed patches and updates to address known security vulnerabilities and ensure your VoIP system runs the latest, most secure version of its software.
For most businesses, this is enough to keep your important information protected and secure. However, if your company has particular security concerns, you may need special security or networking equipment. A good VoIP provider will collaborate with you to ensure all setups are configured correctly to meet your business’s specific security requirements.
Common VoIP Security Issues
Like any other technology, VoIP systems aren’t perfect, and there are some common security issues you should be aware of when choosing a provider.
- Eavesdropping and call interception—Cybercriminals can tap into unprotected VoIP communications, which can allow them to overhear private discussions and gain access to confidential data.
- Service disruption via DoS and DDoS attacks—They can also flood VoIP systems with traffic to disrupt service.
- Spam over IP Telephony (SPIT)—SPIT contains prerecorded messages sent on VoIP phone systems, carrying risks like viruses, malware, and other malicious software.
- Man-in-the-middle attacks: These occur when a hacker places themselves between the VoIP system and the intended call recipient. This gives them the ability to potentially reroute and potentially infect calls with malware.
- Toll fraud—This is when hackers make excessive international calls from your phone system to get a portion of the revenue that the calls generate for themselves.
Let’s take a deeper look at a few of these security issues.
Eavesdropping and Call Interception
Eavesdropping and call interception pose a direct threat to the confidentiality of your business’s sensitive information exchanged over VoIP calls. Whether it’s a business strategy discussion or sharing protected health information (PHI), it goes without saying that the breach of confidentiality can have severe consequences.
To avoid this, make sure you choose a reputable hosted VoIP provider with solid encryption protocols like TLS and SRTP. These measures can significantly reduce the risk of eavesdropping and call interception, keeping your business communications safe and secure.
Denial of Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks
DoS and DDoS attacks aim to overwhelm the VoIP system with traffic to disrupt the service. This affects the availability of your communications system and can lead to financial loss and damage to your company’s reputation.
Security measures such as firewalls and intrusion prevention systems can mitigate the risk of DoS and DDoS attacks. You also want to make sure you have an incident response plan in place. Partnering with a VoIP provider that offers DDoS protection can help minimize the impact of such attacks.
How VoIP Encryption Works
VoIP encryption converts audio data into a coded form, making it indecipherable to unauthorized users. This is critical for confidentiality, data integrity, and regulatory compliance.
Here are some key technologies involved in securing VoIP:
- Transport Layer Security (TLS)—TLS is a protocol that ensures privacy between communicating applications and internet users. It encrypts the packets during the signaling phase of the communication process, ensuring that the call setup information remains secure.
- Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol (SRTP)—Unlike TLS, SRTP is designed specifically for real-time protocol (RTP) communications, which include VoIP and video conferencing. SRTP encrypts the voice data, securing the call from eavesdropping and interception.
- Session Border Controllers (SBCs)—SBCs add an extra layer of security for VoIP networks by controlling the signaling involved in conducting telephone calls.
- Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)—VPNs create a private network from a public internet connection. By routing VoIP traffic through a VPN, companies add an extra layer of security and encryption, which makes it harder for hackers to intercept calls.
What Makes a VoIP Provider Secure
When selecting a VoIP provider, security should be a top priority. You should be aware of the most common security issues that could threaten your business’s data. Choose a provider that clearly addresses and protects against each of these security issues.
Here are some of the most important factors you need to consider when choosing the best VoIP provider for your business:
- SOC 2 Compliance—This is a technical audit that assesses a service provider’s systems to ensure they manage customer data based on security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy principles. It’s a gold standard in ensuring that a VoIP provider has robust security measures.
- PCI DSS Compliance—This is especially important for organizations that handle credit card transactions. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance ensures that the VoIP provider has stringent security measures to protect payment data.
- HIPAA Compliance—For healthcare organizations, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance is crucial. It ensures that the VoIP provider has measures to protect patient health information.
- TLS and SRTP: Look for a VoIP provider that supports TLS for encrypting call setup information and SRTP for encrypting the actual voice data. These protocols are absolutely vital in ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of VoIP communications.
- End-to-End Encryption: Choose a VoIP provider that offers end-to-end encryption, making sure your calls are private from start to finish.
- Military-Grade Network: If you’re tired of dealing with VoIP security and encryption, look for a vendor with a military-grade network to take those responsibilities off your plate. These vendors have stringent security protocols and infrastructure in place to ensure the highest security and reliability of the VoIP service. They design their networks to withstand serious cyber threats, providing a heavy-duty protection against attacks.