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April 19, 2018

The 7 Biggest Security Issues in Unified Communications

By Special Guest
Costea Lestoc, Technical Writer, Author and Blogger

How to Guard Against These 7 Major Unified Communications (News - Alert) Risks

Unified communications (UC) has the power to drastically increase the efficiency of your organization, and make life easier for the individuals within it. With integrated communication methods, you won’t have to worry about messages getting lost between mediums, or about important communications getting unnecessarily delayed.

However, UC isn’t perfect. Assuming you’re working with an external provider or are creating your own internal solution, there are some significant security concerns you’ll need to overcome if you want to make the most of these services and still protect your enterprise.

The Biggest Security Threats

Pay attention to these critical obstacles if you want your UC strategy to keep your business’s security intact:

1.       Data center vulnerability. Most UC services rely on a data center to provide ongoing services as well as storage of your most valuable communications. But what happens when that data center is threatened? Regardless of whether you’re outsourcing the work or running your own servers, you’ll need to take measures to ensure your data centers are backed up and regularly maintained, so you aren’t affected by a potential disaster.

2.       Messaging encryption. All your messages should be protected with some level of encryption, and some of your documents are going to require additional layers of privacy. Messaging encryption doesn’t come as a default with every service, so you’ll need to either choose a vendor who can offer it, or employ additional levels of security to your incoming and outgoing messages.

3.       Demand spike protection. Your business’s communications won’t unfold at a consistent, level rate. Inevitably, there will be spikes, where a sudden burst in demand puts an excessive burden on your systems. Is your system equipped to support these unanticipated spikes? If not, you could lose calls, or suffer dramatically reduced quality in your communications.

4.       Security controls. Each employee will have an independently running application to help them manage their communications. Having master-level security controls is important to help protect these individual instances from being fraudulently accessed. For example, you should be able to enable multi-factor authentication, or mandate that employee passwords meet specific minimum criteria for password strength.

5.       Network flexibility. How will your employees use your UC system on other networks? Chances are, they won’t be relying on your office’s network for 100 percent of their communications. Being able to protect against the inherent risks of external networks (when employees are mobile) is vital.

6.       Fraud prevention. VoIP fraud is becoming increasingly common, targeting small businesses and organizations specifically. If your business isn’t protected, your UC services could be hijacked for long-distance calls and other expensive communications you didn’t approve.

7.       Employee errors and vulnerabilities. Don’t forget that your employees could be the root of the problem as well, choosing weak passwords or succumbing to phishing schemes and similar tactics. Your best prevention method here is education; keep your employees up-to-date on the latest security standards, and help them contribute to an overall safer environment.

Investing in Protection

Ultimately, all of these security issues can be overcome, but there are two important things you’ll need to overcome them. First, you need knowledge of these security issues, inside and out—where they come from, why they’re dangerous, and what you can do to beat them. Second, you’ll need to be willing to invest sufficient resources (i.e., time and money) to prevent them from becoming full-fledged issues. If you can do that, your UC services can offer your business sufficient protection, and you can keep communicating both efficiently and securely.

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