Businesses that upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10 over the last few years, combined with employees working from home due to COVID more recently, have triggered many businesses to also upgrade their business phone service from landlines to VoIP (Voice over IP) for a variety of reasons. VoIP advantages include huge potential savings and greater scalability of network systems, lower costs, complete portability, and clearer voice quality to name a few. However, as with many new opportunities, there are also potential risks, and VoIP is no different. VoIP risks can be minimized by setting it up correctly. RB’s Computer Service has strategies for this, and we work with vendors that can help you set-up yours. Over the years we have learned how to help businesses minimize the risks. But, before we explore them, let’s first look at what VoIP is, then consider some of the risks, and finally highlight how RB’s Computer Service can help minimize them.
What is VoIP?
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), is a technology that allows you to make voice calls using a broadband internet connection instead of a regular (or analog) phone line. Moreover, VoIP solutions tend to offer greater function than landlines by allowing users to host video calls and transmit multimedia messages. Systems often include add-on features like voicemail, call analytics, anonymous call rejection, and voicemail-to-text transcription. Wikipedia
Since VoIP phone service is delivered using a broadband internet connection and/or cable, a phone call is carried alongside other data traveling into and out of your computer or network. As a result, VoIP equipment and software is vulnerable to viruses, worms, and malware (Staff, VOIPNETWORK, The Vulnerabilities of Using VoIP and How You Can Protect Your Business, August 20, 2017, https://voipnetworks.com/2017/08/20/voip-security-risks/#:~:text=Malware%20and%20Viruses,to%20a%20malicious%20code%20attack).
Another potential risk is a Distributed Network Attack, which is often referred to as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. A DDoS attack will send multiple requests to overload a VoIP network or device and has the ability to consume all available bandwidth (Staff, VOIPNETWORK, The Vulnerabilities of Using VoIP and How You Can Protect Your Business, August 20, 2017, https://voipnetworks.com/2017/08/20/voip-security-risks/#:~:text=Malware%20and%20Viruses,to%20a%20malicious%20code%20attack). This can lead to VoIP calls being dropped prematurely and can allow an attacker to gain control of the system administrative tools (Corey McCraw, GETVOIP, 12 VoIP Security Vulnerabilities and How to Fix Them, May 06, 2020, https://getvoip.com/blog/2020/05/06/voip-security).
Minimize VoIP Risk with RB’s Computer Service
Due to the realities of malware, viruses, and DDoS attacks, it is not the best idea to tap into the existing network cable going to your computer for VoIP. It’s a good idea to separate your data and voice traffic so that a DDoS attack on your general system won’t necessarily affect business communications. RB’s Computer Service recommends using a dedicated internet connection just for VoIP phone service. As Corey McCraw with GETVOIP notes, “use a VLAN, which is a virtual LAN that is specifically provisioned for VoIP traffic. This makes it easier to determine if any unauthorized data flows are happening. For VoIP users sharing across a wide area network (WAN), managed encryption is the best way to ensure safety from DDoS (Corey McCraw, GETVOIP, 12 VoIP Security Vulnerabilities and How to Fix Them, May 06, 2020, https://getvoip.com/blog/2020/05/06/voip-security). Lastly, to add another layer of security, businesses with VoIP phones should consider Virtual Private Network (VPN) to protect calls made through mobile/wireless networks. Using a Virtual Private (VPN) is one of the easiest ways to secure connections for your off-site or remote workers (Corey McCraw, GETVOIP, 12 VoIP Security Vulnerabilities and How to Fix Them, May 06, 2020, https://getvoip.com/blog/2020/05/06/voip-security).
RB’s Computer Service can connect you up with a VoIP vendor for that new VoIP phone system with security precautions in mind or provide some guidance with VoIP. While there are potential risks, they are manageable, and businesses shouldn’t let them prevent them from using a VoIP phone system.
In addition to VoIP phone service and VPN solutions for home and business, RB’s Computer Service sells the best commercial-grade firewall routers, best laptop computers, best desktop computers, business computers, computer parts, computer monitors, plus we provide ransomware strategies. For managed IT services, computer repair, iPhone, smartphone, and tablet repairs, contact us today! We serve customers and clients throughout central Minnesota and St. Cloud.