According to one recent study, cybercrime hasn’t just been on the rise for the last ten years – it’s positively thriving.
In 2009, there were an estimated 12.4 million malware-related cyber attacks that took place around the world. Flash forward to 2018 and that number had ballooned to an alarming 812.67 million instances. The still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has only made matters worse, as these types of events have rapidly increased in volume thanks to the large number of employees that suddenly found themselves working remotely on inherently insecure systems.
But while it’s absolutely true that the vast majority of these attacks happen via email and techniques like phishing, that doesn’t mean other elements of your business are immune. Case in point: your business cloud phone system. Without the right, proactive approach to cybersecurity, this is absolutely a vulnerability just waiting to be exploited by someone who knows what they’re doing. Therefore, to truly keep yourself, your employees and your business as safe as possible, there are a number of important things you’ll need to keep in mind.
Secure Your Phone System, Secure Your Business
By far, the most important best practice to follow when securing your cloud-based business phone system involves making sure that all of your endpoints and phones are NOT using the default login information. This is true even if they’re situated behind a firewall on your local area network.
The issue with the default login information is that it’s the same for all devices purchased from the same manufacturer. The standard username/password combination is typically something akin to “admin/password.” If someone attempts to infiltrate your system, this is absolutely the first combination that they’ll try and if you haven’t changed it yet, you’ve essentially invited them into your system – and thus the network behind it all.
For the best results, always use a unique username and a password with a strong combination of numbers, letters and special characters. Longer passwords are always better than shorter ones and if you have a hard time remembering complicated passwords, use a password manager to make it all easier.
Likewise, you’ll always want to make sure that your endpoints and phones area always running the latest firmware that is supported. Many don’t realize that firmware updates do more than just add new features – they also patch vulnerabilities and include security fixes to prevent people from entering your system undetected.
On an ongoing basis, you should also monitor your call logs for suspicious calls – particularly from callers that you’re totally unfamiliar with. You should also put a policy in place to control your international calling with PIN codes – or disable it entirely if it’s not relevant to your business.
Along the same lines, you’ll want to strictly control admin access to the system and keep your logins regularly updated. Only the people who need access to administrative functions to do their jobs should have it and all employees should have to change their passwords on a regular basis for maximum security.
Beyond that, you also need to make an effort to instruct your staff, your customers and your clients to never leave sensitive information in voice mail messages – dong so is only asking for trouble. This is especially true if those voice mails can be easily duplicated, emailed or texted back out in other formats. If someone leaves sensitive information in a voicemail that can easily be exported as a .WAV mile or a text transcription, there’s no telling where it could possibly end up. Always wait to deliver sensitive information until someone is actually on the line.
In the end, it’s important to understand that this level of cybersecurity is not something you “do once and forget about.” Hackers and other people with malicious intentions are always working to stay one step ahead of you, so you need to do the exact same thing. By following the best practices outlined above when it comes to your business cloud phone system, you’ll go a long way towards protecting you – and everything you’ve already worked so hard to build – from those who wish to do you harm.
Richard Hill is the President of SafeCall, Inc., a provider of cloud based business telephone systems, carrier services, and telecom consulting.
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