It’s safe to say that unified communications have a range of benefits to offer the average business. From a greater range of productivity solutions to a stronger focus on efficiency, UC is transforming the business space. Unfortunately, like any technology, it comes with its own distinct range of security challenges to consider too.
UC is complex in terms of security, because it combines a range of different technologies, from video, chat to VoIP and presence. As the technology in your company grows more complex, it’s important to make sure that your security solutions are sophisticated enough to manage the new challenge too. So, what can you do?
Step 1: Start with an SBC
For business safety, start with a session border controller that’s capable of blocking all unknown traffic. Unfortunately, a lot of SMBs fail to deploy an SBC and leave themselves exposed. It’s important to remember that while some UC servers have some firewall capabilities built in, it’s crucial not to rely on these entirely.
Step 2: Go OTT
Most companies are moving to ‘over the top’ (OTT) cloud communications platforms nowadays. Public cloud providers such as RingCentral, Fuze and 8×8 deal with all the security complexities so all you need is an internet connection. That doesn’t mean you can ignore security, wise up to the risks and make an informed decision for your business on securing your UC.
Step 3: Implement Kick Ass Passwords
Companies often overlook the value of using strong system passwords. Strong passwords need to be used for every password in a UC solution. Business VoIP phones also need to be protected by complex SIP passwords. Remember that weak passwords or re-used options can make it easier for attackers to gain access to your credentials. So many companies have lost our to hackers and fraudsters due to sub-standard passwords. 1234 will not cut it.
Step 4: Monitor your Calls
Some brands find it difficult to recognise the presence of a security problem before the damage is done. If you can keep an eye on your system logs, then you might be able to notice the signs of an attack early and act before the problem goes too far.
Step 5: Remove Unused Services
If you’re not using your entire UC system, then it can’t be doing much for your business. In fact, there’s a good chance that your stagnant technology is sitting in the background, increasing your risk of potential attacks. If you’re using email, video, and voice, but not chat, then get rid of your chat functionality. This will improve security and enhance performance.
Step 6: Update Regularly
When it comes to security for almost any technology, it’s crucial to keep your software updated. As well as ensuring bug fixes, keeping software thoroughly updated can help to enhance your security. The businesses behind the systems frequently find security holes that they patch with their updates, so make sure that you have a system in place to keep you ahead.
Step 7: Make the Most of Built-in Security
Finally, one of the best ways to keep your UC devices secure is to make sure you take advantage of dedicated security solutions like firewalls and SBCs. However, there’s nothing wrong with making the most of the solutions built into your UC systems too. In fact, these can give you a stronger layer of protection. For instance, IP addresses can be blocked to help prevent access to people outside of your network.
When all said and done, listen to the experts and do the best you can to protect your business within your budget.
Rob is Founder & Publisher of UC Today, a leading news publication specialising in Unified Communications & Collaboration technologies.