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The Task Of VoIP Security

Voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) is not a new phenomenon. It has been around the business community for many years. But it's increasing popularity among average citizens looking for more affordable and technology-driven options in long distance telephone service is becoming quite the phenomenon. As with any "new" technology on the forefront, often the excitement of getting the product out and available to the public precludes any real consideration for issues such as security flaws. And the consumers often don't consider such problems until it is too late, like when they have fallen victim to a hacker. Just as traditional telephone systems are vulnerable to breaches in security, VOIP has its own, more complex security issues.

There has been very little implementation of VOIP security systems to date. More than likely, this is because there has been no really dangerous attack on an IP system yet. Most customers of VOIP are likely more interested in cost and quality than security at this point, have not heard of any notable attacks. Waiting for that to happen, though, can be a costly and inconvenient mistake. It is wise to consider being proactive in securing VOIP phone systems, just as an organization does not hesitate in securing their other information networks. Though security products seem costly now, as the demand for VOIP systems continue to increase, new VOIP security products will likely be developed down the road that can be incorporated into all-in-one applications to protect entire information networks. This will make the possibility of an organization totally securing its information and voice networks not so costly or daunting to consider.

There are a few characteristics of VOIP that are particularly vulnerable to security breaches, and subscribers to the service should be aware of these. With VOIP, call information is logged on call management boxes, where the VOIP services are also put into action. These boxes are vulnerable to viruses and hackers' attacks, which could result in a loss of data that might be considered confidential to the organization. This could have a snowball effect, compromising an organization's reliability and trust with customers or clients, and cost them a lot of money down the line in data retrieval and security upgrades. That is why it is important to consider VOIP security from the outset, and make certain that any data storage is safely guarded behind a firewall.

Another potentially defenseless aspect of VOIP is the gateway from which voice data is routed between the source and the destination. These gateways are extremely susceptible to attacks by hackers looking to gain the ability to make free telephone calls. Eavesdropping should be yet another worry of those subscribing to VOIP service. Hackers use special tools to find, store, play back, and even alter voice data that they track down. This can have devastating consequences for an organization that might deal in highly sensitive or confidential information. Encrypting VOIP voice traffic, using firewalls, and restricting access by using an alternate domain for VOIP traffic and restricting the use of that domain through an access list are but a few of the ways to cut any VOIP security issues off at the pass.

Not considering the potential security issues that could arise using VOIP phone technology is not wise. Waiting for something to happen and trying to solve the problem after the fact can be costly for an organization, both for its customers and associates and its bottom line. When email was a new and exciting technology, security was not thought much of, until worms and viruses began infesting the inboxes of people worldwide. And now it seems that email security measures are struggling to keep up with the potential dangers. Knowing that there is a potential for disaster, and being proactive in trying to prevent sensitive voice data from being hacked and stolen by investing in VOIP security systems on the outset is the best way to get the most out of VOIP phone technology.

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