The threat to security is real and often ignored by a majority of users. Though we have been hearing about security threats to data networks connecting our computers, VoIP networks can also be affected by outsiders with malicious intent. VoIP networks are known to be easier to attack. After all, what can I lose, you may think. Quite a lot actually. Someone can listen on to your calls and use it for industrial espionage. One can insert a virus into your VoIP networks just to irritate you. Someone can block a large percentage of your connectivity making it impossible for you to make calls. An e-thief could latch one to your VoIP network and use that to make his own calls. You could have a disgruntled employee making calls and harassing your clients.
VoIP Network Security Methodology
If you are serious about protecting your VoIP network, the best way to do this is to take the help of your VoIP provider. They have professionals who have experience in VoIP networks, possible threats and proven ways of protection. At the same time, it does make sense to understand the ways you can protect your VoIP network.
One of the most common and foolproof ways of protecting your VoIP network is to use a firewall. The concept of a firewall is simple. It works on understanding an incoming or outgoing IP address and decides whether to allow connectivity to or from that address. A firewall blocks an IP address based on multiple factors. One is your own configuration wherein you have listed the sites or IP addresses as good or bad. All bad IP addresses will be blocked. Secondly, the firewall has its own database of malicious sites and uses that to block IP addresses. Third is “intelligence”. Here the firewall watches the activity of the IP address when it connects. If the site does something suspicious such as searching your network or trying to inject a virus, that IP address is immediately blocked.
Types of Firewall
There are 3 types of firewall. The most common is the software firewall. A software firewall is more commonly used for protecting a particular computer. It starts along with the booting of your computer and watches all your Internet activity. It does and can protect the usage of your complete network also. Software firewalls work through content filtering, intrusion detection, and a community driver database of blocked URLs. Software firewalls are available to protect small networks of 50 users or less to huge networks with 1000 or more users. As the number of users becomes large, stricter policies of network usage have to be enforced. One of the biggest disadvantages of a software firewall is that it must be installed on each computer connected to a network. This may make it an expensive affair for networks with large number of users. It will also be difficult to enforce policies as an intelligent user can fiddle with his own firewall and tweak it to suit his requirements.
A hardware firewall sits between the Internet and your routers or switches. It watches each and every data packet and examines the header of a packet to understand its functioning. It compares this with a database and decides whether to allow the data packet or simply drop it. Again, like software firewalls, hardware firewall use databases, intrusion detection, and content filtering to decide its course of action.
In both software and hardware firewall, some amount of internal knowledge is needed and you need an IT person to decide and set policies.
There is a third firewall that does away with this requirement – managed firewall. In this, a hardware firewall is installed in your network but completely managed by a cloud-based system. The system watches your network 24/7. You can also add your own surfing policies, but generally, the cloud-based firewall is quite robust in protecting your VoIP Network.
About One Call Communications
One Call Communications is a leading provider of phone systems in North Carolina. We serve thousands of clients across Greenville, Rocky Mt., Goldsboro, Smithfield, & Wilson. We sell, install, and service business telephone equipment, voicemail and, voice and data network cabling. Our installation and service includes premium quality products from Toshiba Telecom. We serve both commercial and industrial clients.
Call us today for your networking and communication requirements.