When taking your company remote for the first time, VoIP security should be at the forefront of your mind.
The trained VoIP security professionals who manage the VirtualPBX Phone System have your best interests at heart. They’re here to help and make sure your small, medium-size, or large business has what it needs to protect itself and its staff who telecommute.
What questions should you ask about security in the first place? Our blog today will get you started.
Basic Internet Safety – Advice From an Expert
Len Cacioppo, the Vice President of Operations for VirtualPBX, is our resident expert in security. He’s managed complex networks since the 80’s and continues that charge now with daily development of our phone network.
He said the basics of protecting yourself on the internet are relatively straightforward:
“Avoid simple passwords. Don’t download or click on unknown links in an email. Pay attention to what you’re clicking on, and keep your awareness high.”
There are many ways in which enterprise firewalls can protect you from behind the scenes. Your vigilance as a user of the internet must take over when those protections aren’t available.
For instance, a corporate network might prevent you from visiting Amazon.co but allow you to visit Amazon.com. The first site (or a similar name change in a site) could be dangerous, which is why it would be blocked. The good news is that, as long as you pay attention, you can easily see that “.co” is different from “.com” and avoid the former case.
It’s possible that you can continue to take advantage of this network security by using your corporate virtual private network (VPN) while at home.
“Wherever they can,” Cacioppo continued, “remote employees should use their corporate VPN. If you have a large business, speak to your IT department about getting this set up at home.”
Enterprises oftentimes already have a secure network established at their offices. On-site computers and desk phones will connect to that network after your IT department sets them up. The process of connecting your home computer to that same network is simple, and your head of IT can help you reach it in a matter of minutes.
Home Networks Without a VPN
Many smaller businesses have never established their own secure networks. With a compliment of one or two employees, you may already be your company’s head of IT.
Gaining network security and VoIP security at home, however, doesn’t have to be difficult. It can make a huge difference in your protection to follow Cacioppo’s recommendations outlined above. If your passwords are secure and you’re aware of the links you follow, the internet can be traveled safely most of the time.
Your home router can also help provide VOIP security in ways that you may not have considered.
“By default,” Cacioppo said, “home routers are secure. They have good default settings to keep you protected.”
Most routers will automatically block inbound traffic from entering your home network. Although there are multiple configuration settings you can use to segment different parts of your network, this basic protection mixes well with a healthy dose of awareness.
Advanced VoIP Security
It’s possible that working from home has put your business in the thick of internet traffic it didn’t experience before.
You might have a daughter who’s watching Netflix on her computer, a husband playing online games on his phone, and a grandparent watching shows on the home television. This doesn’t leave much room for the average home internet connection to handle your VoIP devices.
The Speed Test page on our site provides a quick link to SpeedTest.net that will show you how much download and upload speed you have on your home network. That page also shows how bandwidth can be taken when other devices are used on your network – the computer, phone, and television mentioned before.
What Cacioppo stresses is that available bandwidth isn’t usually the biggest problem when it comes to VoIP call clarity. Instead, it’s a matter or prioritization. The Quality of Service settings in your router can give VoIP calls priority over everything else on the network.
“The Quality of Service settings can tell the network that traffic related to phone calls are both uninterruptable and not discardable. Calls are protected, and all the other internet traffic on your network will be alright because it’s designed to deal with fluctuations in speed and quality.”
When you begin your service with VirtualPBX, we can discuss these settings with you and determine what router setup you need. And if you haven’t spoken to us already, contact us now to get help with a remote working network configuration.
VoIP Security Checklist
This discussion ultimately leads us back to the more complicated aspect of VoIP security that are discussed in our VoIP Security Checklist.
As a quick rundown, this includes:
- A brief discussion of the network demilitarized zone (DMZ) and why it shouldn’t contain VoIP devices
- Establishing firewall and VPN settings in line with your company’s standards
- Adjusting router settings to properly manage VoIP devices – settings like enabling network address translation (NAT) and disabling universal plug-and-play (UPnP)
- Establishing secure login credentials for VoIP devices with strong passwords
This is a document you may want to familiarize yourself with before having a discussion with VirtualPBX or your corporate IT department, which are both trained to keep you secure and recognize all these elements of network security.
If you have any doubts about your network security or VoIP security as part of a remote work environment, don’t hesitate to contact VirtualPBX, your IT department (if you have one), or your internet service provider.
We all want you to stay safe on the internet. At VirtualPBX, our professionals want to keep you connected and have your Business Phone Service working well through any type of work-at-home situation. A quick discussion can help us understand your needs and get your network set up properly, so don’t hesitate to reach out.