Ruth Mitchell

Businesses ?at risk from VoIP?

52% of small businesses are considering using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) instead of conventional phone lines, according to research from IT and Telecoms firm Comtact. However, business and technology consultants Waterstons are warning businesses that unless proper security measures are implemented, switching to VOIP to slash big telephone bills could leave them vulnerable to disruption or attack.

VOIP streams voice calls over computer networks through a broadband connection. It is increasingly popular with businesses anxious to cut the cost of traditional telephone systems.

Mike Waterston of Waterstons commented: “The benefits of VOIP and ‘always on’ broadband technology means that voice traffic is traveling over Local or Wide Area Networks, and should be ring fenced and properly protected just like any other mission-critical computer application. “Companies that fail to realise and deal with the dangers are leaving themselves open to massive disruption and intrusions such as voice spam, worms, viruses or unauthorized users being able to access sensitive information or eavesdrop on phone calls.”

Companies are advised to make sure that the VoIP system is not directly accessible from the Internet by giving the IP PBXs a separate domain from servers, and restricting access to authorised users.

Mike also advised organisations to incorporate their VoIP systems into business continuity plans. “If disaster strikes then you need a fall back system in place that replicates your communications system so that everyone can keep in touch. “Although reported attacks are still at a low level, as the technology becomes more widespread it’s only a matter of time before attackers latch onto the ease in which they can gain access to sensitive information.”

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