The Benefits and Risks of Unified Communications
Whether you’re implementing a new unified communications by IP Phone system or migrating an existing one, security is a top concern. With so many access points and integration with other systems, a UC deployment introduces many potential vulnerabilities. As you plan and execute your project, you must address security at each phase, from design through deployment and ongoing management. Don’t make the mistake of only considering security as an afterthought. A proactive, layered approach is essential. In this article, we’ll walk through key security considerations and best practices to help you secure your UC deployment from end to end. Proper planning and vigilance will enable you to realize the benefits of UC without compromising your organization.
Top Security Vulnerabilities in UC Deployments
Deploying unified communications (UC) offers many benefits for an organization, but also comes with security risks to consider.
– UC centralizes communication channels – telephony, video, messaging, conferencing – into one interface. This improves collaboration and productivity. However, a breach could expose multiple channels.
– Mobility features like BYOD and remote work access provide flexibility but also increase the attack surface. Policies should restrict features based on device and location.
– The real-time nature of UC facilitates rapid communication and coordination. But vulnerabilities could enable eavesdropping, interception or denial of service.
– Integration with business apps gives users context for communications. Though it opens access to data that may require protection.
– Cloud UCaaS solutions reduce hardware costs and management overhead. But you cede control and rely on the provider’s security model.
Mitigate risks by:
– Conducting threat modeling to identify vulnerabilities in the UC architecture.
– Implementing defense-in-depth with network segregation, access controls and encryption.
– Monitoring systems for anomalies and enforcing robust password policies.
– Training users on security best practices for UC platforms and mobile usage.
– Maintaining clear security requirements when selecting SaaS providers.
With proper planning and controls, organizations can realize UC’s benefits while ensuring corporate assets and sensitive communications stay protected.
Best Practices for Securing Your Unified Communications System
Deploying a unified communications (UC) solution introduces new security risks that must be addressed. Here are some of the top vulnerabilities to be aware of:
– **Unencrypted media traversal** – Many UC solutions transmit audio, video and screen sharing across the network. This media must be encrypted to prevent eavesdropping.
– **Weak endpoint security** – Endpoints like IP phones and video conferencing units can be compromised. Keep firmware updated and use strong passwords.
– **Exposed services** – Only expose what’s necessary. Disable unused services and protocols, and implement IP address whitelisting.
– **Inadequate access controls** – Apply principle of least privilege. Limit access to admin interfaces and APIs. Use strong authentication.
– **Lack of session border control** – SBCs provide topology hiding, media encryption, DoS protection and more. Deploy SBCs in your UC architecture.
– **Improper network segmentation** – Isolate UC infrastructure and endpoints into separate network zones with strict ACLs between.
– **Unpatched servers/software** – Always keep UC servers, operating systems and software up-to-date on patches. Sign up for vendor notifications.
With proper planning and security controls, the benefits of UC can be realized while minimizing risk. Conduct security assessments and penetration tests regularly to identify and address vulnerabilities.