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There are many reasons why IP phones and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technologies are appealing to businesses — they are cost-effective, offer a host of telephone features and can scale with your company’s growth.  But since IP phone systems transmit phone calls over the Internet, security is a big area of concern and with a phone system that is hosted in the cloud, it’s important to keep your information safe.

There’s no such thing as being too careful. Not only can IP phone systems be vulnerable to toll fraud, voicemail hacks and eavesdropping, but any breach of security is a point of entry into your entire business network if compromised.

To help protect your business, here are six best practices on ways to avoid a security breach of your phone system. Remember, complacency can cost you, so don’t delay in implementing these security measures today.

1. Create strong passwords

Being vigilant about your password security is one of the simplest and easiest ways to protect your IP phone system. Rule of thumb? Change default passwords and use a minimum of 16 characters that combine a variety of numbers, symbols and letters in both lower and uppercase. Don’t use a password generator and avoid repeating passwords for multiple accounts. Also, change your passwords every 60 to 90 days to reduce the risk of being an easy target.

2. Always backup your information regularly

If a data breach takes down your system, you want the peace of mind that you still have your information saved elsewhere. Backing up your entire system, keeping it up-to-date and installing any patches and upgrades on a regular basis, can help make it that much harder for hackers to compromise your phone system.

3. Track and analyze call history

Monitoring your phone system and knowing its usual patterns and usage means that you can identify when fraudulent activity takes place immediately and take action. For example, a common attack is when hackers infiltrate the phone system to conduct fraudulent call routing with long-distance calls. If you assign geo-limits to your calls and watch for abnormal spikes and set up access lists so usage is allowed for only specific IP addresses, you can quickly respond if there is a security breach.

Want to read more on IP Phone System Security? You may also want to check out our blog: Top Security Questions to always ask your VoIP Service Provider

4. Use security software 

Utilize tools like user authentication, data encryption and controlling the voice network access with device certificates to guard against attempted hacks into your phone system. Security software can protect the system as it runs in the background and restricts the types of calls allowed on the network by device, user and other criteria you set, even time of day.

5. Implement a firewall

To deter attacks on your phone system, install and maintain a firewall. The extra layer of precaution can be configured to allow VoIP/IP access to preset IP addresses. This means you have calls only made from authorized users. Also ensure your computers and equipment connected are secure. A SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) firewall regulates voice packets and can inspect them as they enter your network, filtering out any traffic that looks suspicious.

6. Emphasize strict security policies with your users

Your employees are your first line of defense and if they are properly trained, made aware of scams and know the various ways that attackers can compromise your company’s IP phone system, they can help reduce potential security risks. If everyone is on the same page, they can report any anomalies or odd occurrences, consistently delete voicemail messages and even use things like VPNs for remote network connections to protect your company’s network.

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