VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is the new face of the telecom industry. By now, almost everyone has heard of this game changing technology. However, some of you may also have heard about some major security issues that VoIP brings along with it. While all these issues cannot be falsified, some definitely can. One can adopt additional safety measures to ensure that his telephone line is secure and protected.
While some of you may be pretty familiar with the concept of VoIP, others may not know about it. So before we go into the details of whether VoIP is safe or not, for the benefit of those who do not know what it is, let us learn a little about the VoIP phone system.
What is VoIP?
As mentioned earlier, VoIP can be expanded as Voice over Internet Protocol. VoIP networks use digital signals to transmit data as opposed to the traditional phones which use analogue signals. It is a hosted phone service that uploads all your data on the cloud and manages it from a single database. All calls and data usages are transferred over the internet.
Since it uses the cloud and works on the internet, it brings an array of exciting features and benefits with it. Ordinary phones are unable to match the efficiency and feature set of VoIP phones. The biggest advantage of VoIP is the connectivity that it offers. One can use any device with a working internet connection to make VoIP calls of seamless quality. It also leads to a significant reduction in cost of both domestic and international calls.
So now that we all have a basic idea of how VoIP works, let us look at the security part of this internet based phone system.
Why is VoIP considered to be unsafe?
Now that we know about the features and advantages of VoIP, let us see why it is considered to unsafe. The answer lies in the fact that VoIP is an internet based phone service. All we all know that the internet is lurking with many hackers and criminals, waiting to get into your system and access confidential data.
Since all VoIP calls and messages are sent through the internet, there is a certain amount of risk involved when it comes to privacy and confidentiality. There are many unethical hackers out there who would benefit a great deal from the confidential call records of your company. And VoIP makes it easier for them to get hold of it as compared to traditional phones.
As technology advances and grows, so do ways for people to misuse it. It has been statistically proved that 45% Americans have put a check on their online activity for fear of compromising their privacy and safety. This is exactly what concerns most businesses when they think of switching to VoIP. No business, big or small, can afford to have company information leaked.
Is VoIP really unsafe?
Well, the answer is no. Even after all the security risks that I listed above, VoIP phones can be 100% trusted. Think of it this way. You know that the internet is not a safe place and that it is full of hackers. Well so does your service provider! VoIP providers know the amount of risk that is involved in their system and hence they take sufficient precautions to prevent any data leaks. VoIP phone service risks can always be mitigated and connections installed from trusted professional service providers are highly secure.
Security is one of the main reasons why one should be extremely wary while choosing a service provider for his business. CallHippo is the trusted VoIP service provider of several business in over 50 countries across the globe. Come join us and get your business a safe and secure VoIP connection in under 3 minutes. Sign up now!
VoIP vs traditional PTSN calls
So many people randomly throw around statements like “The traditional PTSN phones are more secure than the new internet based network” without knowing the actual facts. Let me clear it out for you.
PTSN phone lines are almost as insecure, if not more, than VoIP networks. Here’s why. PTSN transmits calls using analog signals. Somebody who is really intent on tapping into the network can simply tap into the wires carrying these signals. It requires physical effort and special equipment, but it is very much possible and even prevalent in many cases. Securing such lines is a lot more difficult because one has to physically secure their building or the transmission wires.
Thus, one can conclude that VoIP is a relatively better network option for you. Methods like encryption have made it easier to secure VoIP networks as compared to the traditional PTSN lines.
Did you know?
What we think of as traditional PTSN calls are also routed through the internet, at least partly. You may think that since you are using a “more secure” traditional phone line but in reality, your calls are diverted mid way and then routed through the internet.
Why so? This is because VoIP often acts as the primary connector between various networks. So chances are that if you called your bank, your call was transferred through a complex series of VoIP networks, though it may have started on a PTSN network.
What can you do to make your VoIP connection even more secure?
Your VoIP service provider will do everything he can to keep your data protected. However, instead of simply relying on your VoIP provider to keep your phone lines secured, you can implement a few security measures on your own. Let us see what they are.
1. Choose your VoIP service provider wisely
This is the first step to establishing a secure VoIP connection. It is upto you to choose a service provider for your business and thus, you need to thoroughly research and study various providers before settling on one. In this case, it is not advised to go for the providers your friends or acquaintances may be using. This is because different service providers implement different security measures that are better suited for different industries and purposes. You need to find a VoIP service provider that matches your security requirements and fulfils the needs of your business.
2. Implement end to end encryption
After choosing a secure VoIP service provider such as CallHippo, you need to make sure that your internal connections and data is secure as well. VoIP integrates all your data and hosts it on a single cloud. Thus, all your data is inter linked and a security breach in one sector could compromise all your data.
You need to encrypt and secure your internet connection which might otherwise be exposed for hackers to dig into. Implement end to end encryption to make your internet safe to host a VoIP phone system. You should encrypt all your company data on as many levels as you can. Avoid using any public or unprotected wifi to access your VoIP system.
These encryption are absolutely essential if you are planning to get a VoIP phone system. They go a long way in keeping your business information secured.
3. Implement common user security methods
User security refers to security measures that can be taken by the employees and staff members who are using the VoIP phone service. Set strong passwords for your VoIP system that are hard to crack or guess and encourage your employees to do the same. Avoid using the same password for your VoIP system that you use for any another account. Change your passwords every year to enforce additional security. And never, I repeat, never use default passwords.
Assume that even after all the security measures that you have implemented, someone has managed to hack their way into your VoIP phone system. What to do then? Educate your staff to stay alert and be on the lookout for any abnormalities in their system. This could include new voicemails already being played or some old ones being mysteriously deleted. Hackers almost always leave such abnormality trails and if one is alert enough, one can catch hold of these.
4. Keep your system and firmware up to date
VoIP calls can be made from any device with an active internet connection. Even so, a lot of offices provide their employees with special VoIP handsets. Even though these look like your ordinary telephones from the outside, they have a lot of complex software inside them. And any software driven device is prone to hacking or unauthorised intrusion. The only thing that stands between hackers and your data is the security firewall of your handset.
This is why it is of utmost importance to keep your phones updated at all times. Regular updates are released by manufacturers to cover any vulnerability that is discovered. Thus, if you do not keep your phones updated, the chances of a hacker getting into your system increase manifold.
5. Closely monitor your call logs
Security measures are not just about preventing hackers from getting into your system. You also need some back up security measure to help you out in case a hacker does manage to find a way into your system. The longer the hacker stays inside your system, the more data he can collect and the more damage he can do. Thus, detecting intrusions is a very important part of securing your VoIP phone system.
Analysing your call logs and keeping an eye open for any unusual activity is the best and fastest way to detect any intrusions into your system. Logs reveal a lot of information about the ongoing activity in your VoIP system including the number of calls made, the duration of the calls and also the location to and from the calls are made.
How does one analyse the log information to check for hackers? For example, if your business is entirely based in the United States and someone is making a large number of calls from say, Russia, then you know that you have an intruder. Call logs also show repeated failed attempts to access the service thereby alerting you of a possible break in or an attempt to do so.
Thus, we can now conclude that VoIP phone systems are in fact pretty safe to use and that you can make it even more secure by implementing some simple in-house methods. I hope that by now you have understood all the facts and dismissed any baseless rumours that you may have heard about this game changing technology.