The cloud has been revolutionary for companies worldwide. It has its merits but comes with security concerns. Companies moving their communications systems to the cloud must ensure adequate data security measures are in place.
The cloud is a useful resource for companies of all sizes. There are numerous applications, platforms, and services that can harness big data for business.
Cloud-based tools are improving critical areas in business and IT operations. Vast quantities of data pass through cloud environments, and companies must secure that information.
In recent years, companies have started turning to the cloud to handle business communications. Some use voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services, while others prefer complete unified communications as a service (UCaaS) solutions. The merits of this are lower costs, the ability to operate from any location, scaling, and network reliability.
A significant challenge in adopting a UCaaS solution is data and network security. According to IEEE, when comparing the public-switched telephone network (PSTN) and VoIP, it’s true that VoIP provides better flexibility and lower costs.
However, security assurance can be more complicated. When considering migrating your communications to the cloud, you must take security concerns on board.
UC Security Features
As a result of business communications moving online, companies host vast quantities of data in their centers. This data serves to make a company competitive in the market.
Data breaches can put companies in precarious legal situations and impact their level of trust among the public. Whether your company wants to host its own UCaaS solution or subscribe to an external one, data security is essential.
Below are seven security features your unified communications as a service solution needs.
1. Protected data centers
Digital services hosted over cloud networks require data centers that run effectively. These data centers must be secured and protected using a variety of techniques.
Physical data centers need strong physical protections that increase security and ensure reliability of service. Hardened data centers with redundant power will guarantee runtime even in the event of a catastrophe. By having multiple data centers in different geographic locations, you ensure smooth service even when a nearby center is damaged.
Engineers need to understand various security fields as data security is more complex when maintaining a VoIP or UCaaS platform. Balancing physical security with expertise in cybersecurity and regulatory compliance can improve the safety of your UCaaS.
Regular security audits and digital tracking, coupled with 24-hour monitoring, enable a company to maintain high security standards. You must collect the appropriate security certificates and follow privacy regulations to establish PCI compliance.
Secure data centers mean your service will be reliable and consistent. That security will increase the trust customers have in the company.
2. Secure voice
It can be beneficial for a person to intercept phone calls and access data. IBM’s figures show a data breach costs an average of US$3.86 million. In healthcare, a breach can cost up to US$7.13 million.
Similarly, accessing data from corporate communications channels can be lucrative. It was awkward to plug into older PSTN lines. However, with enough skill, a hacker can attack VoIP on public networks.
Companies need to secure their voice communication channels. A company should ensure that nobody can eavesdrop or access call data when using a VoIP phone service.
VoIP uses the internet to pass calls as data packets over a network. Employees and customers use this method to share confidential information over the phone.
You can incorporate secure real-time transport protocols (SRTP) into your VoIP channels to encrypt all voice calls. Encrypting voice calls lowers the likelihood of a hacker causing a data breach over a VoIP channel. Encrypting voice calls also helps your company with privacy regulations.
3. End-to-end encryption
Due to the development of Internet of Things technologies, mobile devices are abundant across various public networks. Your UCaaS solution should ensure the safety and confidentiality of any data that passes through its service. At the office, this will mean securing proposals, client briefs, a customer’s financial information, etc.
As DevOps and cloud come together, more devices will interact with each other throughout your company network. UCaaS providers will need to encrypt the data that flows between data centers and web devices.
End-to-end encryption means that only the users in a designated chat, voice channel, or online video call can access the messages or calls they share.
4. Fraud detection and prevention
A company must protect itself and its customers from fraudulent behavior due to significant legal and financial risks. Every reliable UCaaS platform should have built-in protection against this.
A company should adopt a UCaaS solution with various fraud protection tools already incorporated into the service. The company can avoid toll fraud if the UC service has in-built geolocation and address verification services. Blacklisting ensures a company can track and record users that abuse the communications service.
Credential theft poses another risk to businesses. There are a variety of ways UC service providers can limit opportunities for credential theft. Your UCaaS platform can protect users from this by incorporating biometrics or device fingerprints into their security.
5. User access controls
UCaaS providers need to be sure the correct users are accessing the proper accounts on their service. Passwords are the easiest method to offer a user access to the service but user trends show password fatigue is on the rise.
Many sites require long passwords with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Users wish to avoid creating new passwords for every service or site they use.
To avoid risks stemming from password fatigue, many companies have adopted single sign-on (SSO) authentication. SSO can be effective in establishing the identity of a user. However, SSO challenges exist.
Any SSO provider’s service interruption can remove a user’s SSO capabilities. Multi-user computers pose a risk as any user can access the account. Security risks increase with SSO’s convenience.
This is why companies have started to adopt two-factor or multi-factor authentication. Both approaches to user authentication prioritize account safety. When a user looks to sign-in, they’re required to provide additional codes to verify their authenticity.
Your provider should consider mobile optimization, as users can use different devices to access UCaaS services online.
6. Account management
A company must have the ability to give and revoke access to its UCaaS solution. This way, they can provide access to crucial data on a need-to-know basis. Employees in high-level positions may require administrative privileges that other employees and users do not. Have you ever had a disgruntled, demoted, or terminated employee? Think about what might happen if you do not restrict their access.
A company can mitigate internal security threats by restricting access to company data. The company should offer out accounts and credentials to employees. These employees can then customize their log-in credentials to ensure they have unique log-in details. Administrators can set permission levels to ensure the UC service is operating as intended.
Administrator permissions can set specific call destinations and blacklist users you should not interact with. Account management is a valuable security feature that protects customer contact information.
Administrators and managers can use effective performance management tools to determine the work of employees. Should an employee be demoted, account management protects your customers.
7. Network security
Employees use a variety of devices to complete their work tasks. It’s common for employees to work on a laptop, a desktop, or use mobile phones and wearables. With this development, company networks can become vulnerable to cyberattacks.
For that reason, a UCaaS provider should take network security measures that protect company and customer data.
Adequate network security will include a range of features that insulate the company from data breaches, fraud, and service disturbances. To gauge how a network is operating, IT teams can monitor a network using anomaly detection engines. The IT department can quickly recognize changes in the UCaaS when watching with this.
UCaaS providers must protect data that passes across various channels, including telephony, instant messaging, audio/video/web conferencing, etc. Session border controllers (SBCs) can regulate communication flow and protect service packets by hiding the network topology.
A secure network adds layers of protection against fraud and service theft and adds encryption to any communication.
Security and Reliability
Unified communications as a service solution must emphasize these key security features. A company remains competitive because of the data it handles, but customers only lend their data with the expectation that it will be secure. Adopt these seven security features to comfortably migrate your communications to the cloud.