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Given the fact that there’s so much emphasis on security today in both the business world and for ordinary citizens, it’s worth considering whether VoIP phone calls are more secure than regular phone calls. It’s no secret that corporations and even governments are very interested in obtaining all possible information about you, and phone calls are one of the ways that can be made possible.
There are almost daily announcements about security breaches which have occurred in companies, where some criminal-minded individual has hijacked the personal data of thousands or perhaps even millions of individuals. For that reason, it’s worth taking a look at the security of VoIP systems versus regular landline configurations.
VoIP vs Public Switched Telephone Networks
Technically speaking, both of these systems are vulnerable to eavesdropping and interception by third parties, especially by the providers themselves, or possibly by government agencies. This is the essential reason that most countries insist on requiring an official warrant before allowing any wiretap on a phone line, and this holds true even for law enforcement agencies.
The big difference between PSTN networks and VoIP, is in the manner that data is transmitted and stored. Calls which are placed via land lines are analog in nature, and they travel through circuits where it’s fairly easy for someone to listen in with basic eavesdropping equipment, assuming they have physical access to the wires.
VoIP calls on the other hand, are digital in nature and are transmitted over the Internet. This means that in theory at least, hackers could eavesdrop on any of your phone calls even if they’re situated on the far side of the globe.
All that’s really needed to accomplish this is some fairly easy to acquire software and the technical ability to pull it off. This doesn’t make VoIP phone calls any more risky than regular phone calls, and in fact most experts agree that when a VoIP system is properly configured, it’s more secure than a typical landline.
Securing Your VoIP System
With the tremendous emphasis on security these days, most companies have finally begun to take notice, and are not leaving security on the back burner of their task list anymore. Most serious companies have finally allocated the attention to security that it deserves, and are being proactive about securing their company data, as well as their phone systems.
As new security threats become known in the business world, patches are constantly being prepared to combat them. As long as these patches and security fixes are faithfully applied, and in a timely manner, your VoIP phone system should remain secure against breaches.
More Tools Available
Given VoIP data’s digital nature, it can easily be stored and retrieved later for whatever usage is necessary. Unfortunately, that means criminals can also capture data packets and retrieve them at some later time for their personal perusal. If any employee in your company unintentionally reveals a password in some kind of phishing scam, your entire phone system could be at risk of being breached by a hacker.
The good news is that businesses now have more tools available to them to protect against such data breaches. A few examples of this are securing all endpoints, frequently changing passwords, and perhaps most important of all, end-to-end encryption. If all of your employees are also instructed about how to carry out safe computing, that can also go a long way toward keeping your system secure.
Segregating VoIP Traffic
Some people worry that VoIP is less secure than regular phone networks, because VoIP calls travel over the Internet. Even though regular phone calls are subject to the same kind of hijacking that VoIP calls would be, there are still a number of options available to you for securing your VoIP calls.
First of all, you have the option of segregating your VoIP calls from all the rest of your business activity by using VLAN’s. This will have the effect of segregating your VoIP calls from your business data packets, and it will make it much easier to determine if your data packets have been hijacked by a third-party. It also means hijackers can’t access your VoIP phones by hacking other systems to gain access.
Some companies have even gone to the lengths of establishing an entirely separate network for their phone calls. This will allow you to have total security for your phone calls, because whatever might be happening with other networks won’t necessarily be happening with your VoIP system. This is not possible in any way with regular land lines, so it’s a security measure which can make your VoIP system more secure than a regular phone system.
Should You Upgrade to VoIP for Better Security?
The truth is, there is no phone system in existence today which can provide total security for your phone calls. Any provider who claims that their system is 100% secure is either uninformed or exaggerating the truth. Even if all the technical considerations could be managed to make a phone system completely secure, there’s always the possibility that the real weak point in any company, i.e. the employees, would provide a data breach that hackers could exploit.
Therefore, your chances of maintaining a completely secure network for all your phone calls is at least as good with VoIP as it would be with the regular system. It’s probably not worth converting to VoIP just for the security aspect, but there are some other tremendous advantages available to VoIP phone users.