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6 ways to secure your UC environment without breaking the bank

The adoption of Unified Communications (UC) has accelerated exponentially over the past few years. With the upcoming copper switch off in Australia, we’ll see an even bigger spike in the shift to UC as companies consolidate their voice services with video, chat and other collaboration tools. Unfortunately, going hand-in-hand with the benefits of UC, is an unprecedented exposure to security risks as businesses move beyond services which are within their control, to services in the cloud.

Large enterprise vs SMB

While SMBs encounter similar security risks to larger enterprises, the way they manage these risks differ substantially. SMBs often have much tighter purse strings and need to work a lot smarter to wholistically secure their organisation.

So how do you work smarter? Here are some tips to ensure your UC environment is secure without breaking the bank:

  1. Passwords and User Access

Ensure only authorised users access your UC accounts and services by establishing a strong password policy, two-factor authentication and single sign-on (SSO). Using strong system passwords is a simple yet highly effective security measure to protect not only your UC environment but your entire network.

  1. Secure Firewall

Surprisingly, many SMBs either don’t have a firewall, or open their firewall ports to allow remote users, which is about as risky as not having a firewall. Instead, opt for a Next Generation firewall (there are reasonably priced firewall options that are designed for SMBs) and provide access for your remote users via a virtual private network (VPN) instead.

  1. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

VPNs authenticate users before establishing a connection, then transfer traffic between sites and/or remote users over the public internet via encrypted tunnels. VPN also encrypts voice calls, which provides another layer of security. In addition to securing your UC environment, users can also connect to other network tools via VPN, for example, shared drives and intranets.

  1. Security Updates

With malware and security threats evolving daily, it’s critical to ensure your UC environment remains secure. Software updates – which contain security patches – include the latest defenses against a myriad of threats, so make sure you’re updating your software regularly.  

  1. Activity Baseline

Occasionally, breaches will still penetrate your firewall. Often, these go unnoticed until abnormal activity is identified. Setting a baseline for your normal activity can help – for example, the amount of data consumed or average monthly call volumes. If an activity far exceeds that of your baseline, it’s often an indication that a breach has occurred.

  1. Use built-in UC security tools

Utilise any built-in security tools that come with your UC solution in addition to your dedicated VPNs and firewalls. Specialist UC security tools, for example one that blocks IP addresses with multiple failed login attempts, gives you that added layer of security and peace-of-mind. They complement your dedicated security tools but are not meant to replace your VPN and firewall.

What’s the right fit for you?

If you have or are moving to a UC environment, it’s important to ensure you have, at a minimum, all of the above security measures in place. While this may seem overwhelming for SMBs with very lean IT teams, the future is not completely bleak. Managed services providers, like Enablis, specialise in alleviating the pressure from your IT team so that all that’s left for you are the benefits. Have a no-obligation chat to us about how we can help ensure your UC environment is secure. Our job is to find a solution that is the right fit for you.

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