Unfortunately, many people don’t think about VOIP security until it’s too late. By then valuable information has been lost or large unauthorized charges have been run up on your account.
Here are some simple things you can do to prevent security problems on your VOIP system.
Make Sure Your System Is Up To Date
Check the patches and updates for your system regularly and make sure they are applied in a timely fashion. Remember that most security intrusions involves holes for which patches are available. Have a regular routine of checking for and applying the latest security updates.
It’s important that these patches be applied quickly. When bad guys strike they can do thousands of dollars in damages in just a few hours.
Just because your VOIP phone can connect to any number on the planet doesn’t mean you want it to. However VOIP systems provide sophisticated features that allow you to control who can be called from which numbers. With them you can control access to your network. Use device access features to limit voice calling by device, time of day and geographical area to be called.
It’s unlikely that your users will need to call, say, Kazakhstan in the middle of the night local time. Blocking such calls is easy and it’s an elementary security precaution.
By blocking by device you can restrict most of your VOIP devices to local calls or a limited list of area codes while leaving others free to call more widely.
If a user needs to call outside the restricted area or time, you can set it up so they can get authorization on a call by call basis.
Use VLANs To Separate Voice And Data.
Setting up a VLAN for voice traffic not only improves performance of your VOIP system, it also helps to secure it. The VLAN makes it harder for a bad guy to penetrate your voice system and you can apply different security measures to your voice and data packets.
It’s especially useful to use VLANs for network connections to remote phones since these are more vulnerable to intrusion.
Use Encryption For Secure Calls
Voice encryption is easy to enable on a VOIP system, especially if the voice calls are on a separate VLAN.
Encryption should be applied on a device or user group basis since encryption tends to produce increased latency on the VOIP system.
Set And Enforce Security Policies
As with any kind of network security, user participation is vital. Make sure the users understand the security limits on their phones, especially the numbers they can call and the times they can call them. Also explain phishing to them and how they can unwittingly compromise the security on the system.
Institute Passwords For Voicemail
Voicemail can be a fertile source of information for data thieves. Institute a program of strong password protection for your voicemail boxes. That includes requiring strong passwords and that passwords be changed regularly. Don’t let users use the same password for their voice and data communications.
Many VOIP security measures are basically the same as the steps you take to secure your data networks. Nor are the measures any harder to apply to VOIP than they are to data. However the attack surface of your VOIP system is much larger than the typical computer network. It’s important that you be security aware with your VOIP system.
By Rick Cook