Asterisk offers seven tips for effective UC security

Unified communications presents unique security challenges because it brings together disparate technologies. Using VoIP, video, chat and presence together has proven to provide productivity gains for businesses, but also presents security risks.

In particular, securing VoIP networks is not the same as securing data networks. Most data traffic is transported over TCP and as such, security built-in to networking devices such as routers and firewalls are built around TCP data-centric transport.

VoIP is UDP-based and time sensitive. Dropping a few packets while downloading a website is for the most part benign—the packets can simply be retransmitted.

Voice and video streams are more fragile. Dropping too many UPD packets in a voice stream can cause call quality issues. As such, securing your unified communications requires a balanced approach. You must mitigate threats while also maintaining quality of service.

Despite being in a niche field, securing unified communications as an SMB follows many of the same security best practices that are effective in the Enterprise for a variety of technologies.

The following best practices can help keep your communications flowing:

  1. Deploy a properly-configured firewall
  2. Use VPN for remote users
  3. Use strong passwords
  4. Update software regularly
  5. Turn off unused services
  6. Monitor call logs
  7. Use built-in UC security tools