How Safe is Hosted VoIP?

By Jelani Harper
Updated: September 15, 2011

How Safe is Hosted VoIP?

In many respects, hosted VoIP service can rightfully be considered safer than that of the on-premise variety, for the simple fact that proper vigilance of a VoIP system requires continuous monitoring which an outsourced vendor should ideally have the resources, equipment and personnel to do. The crux of this premise, however, lies in determining that such a service provider is adequately prepared (and willing to indicate so) to deal with the myriad threats which hosted VoIP is vulnerable to. Additionally, there are other security measures users of hosted VoIP can employ to assist in ensuring the safety of their networks.

Vendor Criteria

As the procuring and employment of security sufficient to effectively monitor VoIP service from external and internal threats can be expensive, it is frequently to the user’s advantage to simply pay for this service as part of its monthly fee for utilizing hosted VoIP. However, it then becomes prudent to determine that the vendor selected has the tools and the wherewithal to adequately protect the interests of its customers from security violations.

Hosted providers should have tools such as firewalls with added functionality specific to VoIP, as well as sophisticated intrusion-prevention systems that can be configured for VoIP threats. Additionally, Virtual private networks can allow voice traffic to be encrypted and transmitted over secure pathways. It may be useful to have vendors share an audit trail from an independent auditor to prove the security of their systems.

User Security

Such service provider methods of security can also be augmented by a number of methods that end-users can utilize. Anti-virus software can always be purchased and implemented by hosted VoIP users, while a particularly effective method of supplementing vendor security measures is to separate voice and data traffic into their own LANs. By utilizing virtual networks to transmit the information from the single physical network into respective ones for data and voice traffic, users can hone in on voice data more effectively to monitor specific activities that may pose threats.

Nature of the Threat

While the prudent application of security measures by both hosted VoIP vendors and their users greatly decreases the likelihood of security breaches, it should be understood that hosted VoIP faces many of the same sorts of malicious intrusions that on-premise VoIP does. Common threats include systemically distributed denial of service attacks (in which service is inaccessible), as well as hackers tapping calls, accessing other network components, and making free calls on the user’s service.
 

Featured Research
  • What You Need to Know About VoIP Security

    No matter the industry or area of expertise, a strong VoIP system is the perfect tool for any business looking to take both its internal and external communication to the next level. more

  • Are You Using These 5 VoIP Features?

    In large part, the success of your business depends on the strength and reliability of your team’s many communication networks—this includes your Voice over Internet Protocol system (VoIP). more

  • Go Mobile and Increase Employee Productivity

    The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) tech trends now allow people to work whenever, wherever, and however they want—mobility makes it happen. more

  • [Infographic] How to Select a Phone System in 10 Steps

    Choosing the perfect phone system for your business is no small task …. Depending on the size of your company, the industry in which you work, and the specific needs your phone system will be required to meet, any number of solutions could get the job done. more

  • 2017 Business VoIP Cost Guide

    Reducing expenses is one of the main reasons that businesses switch from traditional office phone systems to VoIP technology. But many people rush this decision and end up spending more than they need to. The costs of implementing a new VoIP system can increase quickly, especially if you don’t strategically plan for it ahead of time. more