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
  • Phone Systems Comparison Guide: VoIP for Small to Midsize Businesses

    It was a painstaking process, but to help B2B companies start 2017 off on the right foot, we recently compiled a comparative list of the top 43 small to midsize business phone vendors. more

  • 16 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Phone System

    Purchasing a phone system for your business is a major investment. With the average business changing phone systems only once every seven years, it’s important to make the right decision. more

  • [Infographic] Top 11 VoIP Vendors

    A good VoIP provider will offer additional benefits as well, but many first-time buyers find assessing each option to be difficult. Nevertheless, this is an important step in the buying process because a substandard provider can easily waste both your time and money. more

  • The New 2017 Phone Systems Comparison Guide

    It was a painstaking process, but to help B2B companies start 2017 off on the right foot, we recently compiled a comparative list of the top 34 business phone vendors in the world. In one, easy-to-reference location, we’ve neatly outlined the information you need. more

  • 8 Common Pain Points UC Eliminates

    Many businesses rely on a collection of communication tools that they adopt to address specific needs as they arise. This strategy may seem to work in the beginning, but eventually will lead to a system that is cumbersome to use, difficult to explain to new hires, expensive, and effective in some areas, but full of gaps. more