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Hosted Phone Services More Secure Than On-Site Systems

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VoIP has remained a major topic amid the cloud conversation. with cloud phone systems growing in popularity and increasing in adoption. According to Hosted VoIP Resource contributor Mae Kowalke, businesses are seeking out these communications advancements for their high call quality, cost effective nature, flexible structure and improved functionality over traditional copper landlines.

But with these new benefits come dangers as well. Kowalke said that many organizations are not prepared for the network vulnerabilities accompanied by VoIP telephony. A lack of familiarity with a new technology is one of the biggest issues companies are facing - and it can lead to breaches in security if not properly addressed.

Using hosted VoIP systems can greatly mitigate the risks that are associated with IP telephony. By handing some of the control over to IT professionals who specialize in the cloud services being utilized, overlooked holes in protection have a much greater chance of being noticed and attended to. This allows businesses to focus their attention on the goals associated with the organization.

How Hosted VoIP Begets Security

In the midst of serious change, some details are bound to go undetected. This is definitely true of VoIP phone service. According to Jon Arnold, principal of J Arnold and Associates research firm, these tools have seen a lot of evolution, but little in the way of how they impact network security. 

"A lot still needs to be learned about the security risks not only within VoIP systems but also the risks that VoIP poses to the wider enterprise network," he wrote.

But Kowalke said that, even in light of this revelation, VoIP itself is not "inherently insecure." As a new technology, it is simply misunderstood. There has yet to be a proper precedent set for the precautions that need to be taken with a cloud based phone system. The lack of user experience has, in turn, opened countless businesses up to middleman attacks, call tampering, spoofing and even fraud.

Due to being used across the same channels as information, ChurchMag contributor Eric Dye said that traditional email and Internet encryptions and firewalls can serve as a line of defense for IP-PBX connections. There is a much stronger solution, however, in off-site services. According to Kowalke, turning to hosted VoIP providers puts some of the maintenance and security responsibilities into the hands of trained, dedicated professionals who specialize in areas that organizational information technology departments might not. This can also, among other things, free up time for companies to work on tasks more closely associated to their mission statement, allow IT to focus on policies and enable streamlined workflows.      

The Other Benefits Of Off-Site Systems

There are many other reasons to move to hosted VoIP. According to Dye, hosted cloud PBX lines, in addition to the added security they build around data, can facilitate multiple platforms of communication in one centralized location. Faxes can be sent without a dedicated connection by backing up each extension with its own separate, unique fax number. In many instances, faxes can even be sent directly to smartphones and tablets. Additionally, numbers can also be assigned directly to users or endpoints, ensuring that they stay the same in the event of a change in provider.    

Dye also said that business continuity can be positively impacted by hosted PBX services. Equipment is often backed up by batteries, ensuring that lines of communication stay open via smartphones and tablets in the event of disaster or power outages. This kind of constant accessibility can also be advantageous for businesses interested in mobile workforces. Not only does the network stay up and running in the face of adversity, but it can also be accessed from anywhere there is a data connection. This is especially important to note for businesses that wish to deploy a virtual call center. Work can be completed and goals can be met without the restrictions that physical offices can sometimes be prisoner to.  

For the advantages of VoIP to be fully realized, it is important to identify which "implementations are up to snuff," as Kowalke puts it. The best deployments are going to inherently be the ones that are hosted off-site. Just for the security benefits alone, hosted VoIP service is the most viable cloud communications solution.