By Sharla Sikes
The benefits of VoIP have been much trumpeted, for individuals as well as small and medium businesses. But there are drawbacks, as well.
VoIP security issues have plagued the industry since it became popularly accepted. Since it is data, it is hackable, with results ranging from simple malicious mischief to identity theft and other crimes.
To small and medium businesses, the cost savings that make VoIP attractive may be eclipsed in the long run if security issues arise.
VoIP communications requires controls set up by network managers and Internet service providers to keep a companyâ€™s communication safe. Whether a hacker taps into a confidential phone call or listening in for customer information such as banking or Social Security numbers, the dangers should be addressed.
But security is overlooked, according to some.
“People love the notion of reduced calling costs. VoIP is a great way to reduce costs, but security costs extra. But users don’t always want to pay that. Often companies look at reduced calling costs and fail to put security on top of that,” Scott Montgomery, vice president of global technical strategy for Secure Computing, told TechNewWorld.
Many VoIP users think of their phoneâ€™s security similar to how they think of their e-mail.
“This has the exact same vulnerabilities as any other wireless or wired connections. So all the traditional security concerns are present,” Scott Palmquist, senior vice president of product management for encryption provider firm CipherOptics, told TechNewsWorld.
“When sending VoIP over the Internet, it is a Wild, Wild West environment. We have no idea of anybody listening in. VoIP over corporate backbone is clearly a level of more security, but the threats are identical.”
An added complication is that VoIP phones are not designed with a way to monitor the security of the call.
“VoIP is based on the concept that it is easier to make it work than to make it work securely. None of its inventors had security in mind,” said Montgomery.
Tomorrow weâ€™ll look at some different types of security measures.
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