Read these 6 VoIP Security Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about VOIP tips and hundreds of other topics.
VOIP is becoming a serious alternative for business users, especially businesses that have already invested in creating local and wide area networks for their employees. VOIP calls within the network are dirt cheap and as secure as your network itself. The bigger concerns come when VOIP is used for making calls outside the network. You'll want to discuss this with your network security consultant and consider using encryption software, like a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
Should you worry about VOIP security on your home network? It's the same as any other security with data running in and out of your home Internet connection. You should be running firewall software and password-protection, to keep intruders off your network. But once your call leaves your network and is handed off to your VOIP provider, it's the provider's job to make sure its network is as secure as possible. And then the person who is receiving your VOIP call also needs to handle his own security. So the best you can do is make sure your home network is password-protected and has a firewall. Then make sure you pick a solid VOIP provider, who will explain its security protections. But really, once your call leaves your home network, you no longer have any control over its security.
You're right to be concerned about VOIP security, but worrying about VOIP security within your own network shouldn't be too high on your list. This is because most computer networks today are switched networks that run all communications through a router, which assembles Internet packets and sends them to a specific destination. So for someone to compromise your internal VOIP security, that person needs access to the router itself. And if that's a concerns, you have bigger worries than VOIP security.
Here's an easy way to deal with Voice Over IP security concerns: Let your provider handle them. When purchasing a Voice Over IP plan -- especially a business or PBX plan -- you should seriously consider using a hosted plan. Let the Voice Over IP provider run all your services for you on their server and worry about system security. All you have to do is make sure your own high-speed connection is safe.
Your VOIP calls are going to be easier to compromise than traditional land-line calls, simply because they run over an open network, rather than through the phone company's network. Encryption and tunneling can go a long way toward easing VOIP security concerns. However, encrypted/tunneled VOIP calls are going to be a lot more secure than any cell phone or wireless phone calls, which are relatively easy to intercept and eavesdrop. So if security is a concern, think carefully before making any investment in telephone products. Make sure you pick the one that best meets your needs.
If you're thinking about using VOIP, you've probably given some thought to VOIP security. After all, VOIP uses the Internet and the Internet is inherently insecure. But how insecure is VOIP? And how much security do you need?
VOIP security concerns will be different for home users and for business users. VOIP security concerns are also going to be different for anyone who is very concerned about the privacy of their communications for any reason.
Overall, here's a tip: Think of VOIP like email. You probably send email every day. It's inexpensive and efficient. And you don't usually worry about security. On the other hand, you wouldn't put your credit card number in an email. And if you're going to use email for secure business communications outside the company, you're probably going to want to use a VPN. It's the same way with VOIP. It's a great alternative for long-distance personal calls and even day-to-day business calls. But for important calls, where security is a concern, you will want to think about adding security to your VOIP network, or even using a different method of communication.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|