In short the broad answer is yes, VoIP is as secure as it can be. Let's take a deeper look at how secure VoIP today actually is. Security is highly important to all businesses and every effort should be made company-wide to avoid any disruption and that includes phone line disruption. Using VoIP internally is as secure, if not more secure than traditional phone lines. This is as long as the internal IT infrastructure is secure. Calls being made within an internal system limits the entry of external hackers intercepting data. When calls are made outside your infrastructure, this is when they can be vulnerable just like any other external communication method is, such as a live website or social channel.
Although communication channels can be attacked from outside your organisation, the security around IP telephony is far greater than a traditional phone line. There are a number of controls that should be set and measured to reduce the risk of external hacks or disruption.
Here are some security areas to consider:
1. Call Encryption
Encryption VoIP offers a variety of benefits and is the first line of defence against any unauthorised use of your business phone line. Zadarma is highly recognised as a secured VoIP partner, with TLS and SRTP encryption in place. What is TLS and SRTP you may ask? Transport Layer Security, or TLS, is a widely adopted security protocol designed to enable privacy and data security for communications over the Internet. A primary use case of TLS is encrypting VoIP calling. The Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (or SRTP) is a profile that provides authentication and protection when sending data. Using this type of profile as additional security is highly recommended and allows you to enable or disable the protocols it presents. You can then customise the encryption and profile settings to suit your business needs. Therefore SRTP encryption deals with encrypting the actual audio on your call. It can be turned on for both the inbound call audio and the outbound call audio.
Put simply, with a level of encryption in place, will prevent hackers from eavesdropping on confidential information. In addition, if a hacker does manage to gain your phone data, they cannot understand what is being said and finally when calls are encrypted between both ends no one can get extra identifying details such as names and addresses.
2. Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Information secret intrusion is an idea of someone being able to monitor your calls. Multi-factor authentication increases security compared to a standard password. It means users need two forms of identification to log into the system. One factor is something they know. In this case, it is a password. The second factor should be something they have. At Zadarma we offer a simple Two Factor Authentication (2FA) through our API solution. This verifies client phone numbers via a call rather than an SMS. This verification is much cheaper, often faster and more secure over the traditional SMS authentication solution and suits most websites and apps, accessible globally. The old client registration method using email and repeated password input is not going anywhere but there is an increasing demand for businesses to verify clients using an inbound call, due to the disadvantages of SMS verification. SMS verification is more expensive and not always secure as clients can use temporary virtual numbers. This is why registration and further Two Factor Authentication via a voice call is the optimal identity verification method today. With 2FA in place, it will provide a barrier from this happening. 2FA adds an extra layer of security and makes your data and customer communications twice as protected compared to a one-step, standard login and password login.
3. Use a VPN
VPNs are widely used for computer networks, your business may already have one set up. This allows authorised users to access company data even when they’re not in the office. At the same time, it prevents hackers from entering your own network To maximise your security you can consider using encrypted VoIP calls over a VPN connection. This offers an additional layer of security.
4. Security Monitoring Procedures
There are various data protection and IT processes and policies that can be put in place bespoke to your individual business, that can ensure sufficient monitoring and data protection is maintained. Network monitoring is a powerful tool and not one available to traditional landline phones. Simple rules can be set up and delegates notified immediately if something unusual occurs. With real-time monitoring set up, you can avoid being caught unaware if a hack did occur. You can also set up call blocks and restricted hours for international calls to specific days and times. Employees can be granted separate PINs for placing calls outside the restricted times. Another obvious process is to ensure all IT systems are updated. Most businesses will have an accountable owner of such tasks, ensuring the control of the systems. The network administrator must be aware of new updates and new applications on these systems, and so focused on optimising infrastructure security.
5. Choose a well-established VoIP provider
Even before you choose a phone system, you should always ask your potential VoIP provider about their security measures. Whether you opt for hosted VoIP or SIP trunks, security is hugely important. It’s paramount to understand how your VoIP provider manages PBX security, data centres and networks to protect your calls. Make sure you ask about their security methods and be assured they have systems in place to deal with any disruptions.
It goes without saying, one of the biggest security concerns of any organisation is client data not being protected and eavesdropping into voice calls. VoIP is more sophisticated than it has ever been, with more equipped tools to protect business phone system’s security. Whether it is authentication, authorisation and encryption, VoIP appears to be far more secure than traditional landline phones. Remember that IT security is not completely secure. It is about adding multiple layers of security tools that will protect your network and communication lines. IT and network security sistered with a recognised VoIP provider who has call encryption and authentication methods in place will provide strength in your communication infrastructure.
If you would like to find out more about Zadarma’s security measures and tools including TLS and SRTP encryption, as well other security measures, feel free to contact our 24/7 online support chat.