The unified communications and collaboration market is booming, and we can only expect the numbers to grow. Businesses are focusing on creating immersive and user-friendly experiences for their staff. As a result, they are investing in the kind of tools that consolidate their communications effectively.
Unfortunately, today’s businesses are dealing with a severe influx of information and technology in this sector. It can be costly and time-consuming to constantly switch between different communications tools to connect with everyone involved in a company, from customers and prospects to internal employees.
Using a single all-in-one UC platform is an excellent way to keep your teams on the same page without the mess. Still, you’ll need to ensure that such a platform is secured and that you have the right processes in place to keep your company’s information safe. Let’s break down some tips for improving UC security.
1. Have a Password Policy.
All modern unified communications systems offer access to services via a password-protected web interface or a mobile app. Having a firm password policy in place should be your obvious focus. Far too many companies don’t have strict password policies in place, allowing their employees to opt for short, guessable passwords that never have to change.
The best way to ensure that your workforce is only using complex and challenging passwords is to introduce a rigid password policy within your UC platform. In general, we recommend implementing a password policy that follows these criteria:
- Minimum of 8 characters long
- A mix of capital and lowercase letters
- Include symbols, special characters, and numbers
- Must change every 3 to 6 months
- May not reuse previously used passwords
In addition to password policies, you should also have a policy governing what can and can’t be discussed over email, company phones, etc. Among other things, the policy should address the sharing of passwords, sensitive customer information, etc.
2. Use encryption where possible.
Many companies are dealing with remote work now. Much of their UC has been spread far and wide rather than on the business premises. Unfortunately, not every location an employee might be accessing your platform will have the best security. It’s also difficult to control where your clients and employees are logging in from.
Most unified communications platforms offer encrypted voice communications between supported modern IP phones over a TLS/SRTP protocol. You must also pay attention to making sure that your messaging applications use encryption.
Sometimes, however, you will come across an older IP phone or messaging application without built-in support of encryption. An excellent security measure would be to implement a Virtual Private Network to protect your employees’ communications that log in from connections at home.
3. Deactivate unused devices.
Clean up your UC and save money in the long run by periodically deactivating unused devices and licenses. When an employee leaves your company, or you implement new company-wide devices to be used, you’re going to end up with a lot of unused devices. Removing such unused devices monthly could significantly improve your UC security.
4. Get your staff to buy-in.
You can offer your employees excellent technology and an all-in-one UC platform, but you’ll still need to enforce those annoying security policies within your business. Any security professional will tell you that security has some degree of negative impact on productivity.
Indeed, it takes little time to log into your applications when using login credentials saved in your browser. The same goes for the password you had memorized and used over the past three years.
Getting your employees to understand the reasoning behind your security policies will make them disinterested in circumventing them. That change in thinking will certainly impact not only your corporate but also their personal information security. We recommend training for newly onboarded staff, in addition to periodic training sessions on an ongoing basis.
5. Always update your UC client applications.
Your modern IP phones are, in essence, computers running voice apps. Other unified communications tools are your software apps that run on desktop and mobile devices. Always keep your apps at current versions and audit your endpoint profiles periodically. You might find quite a bit of success by using UC service management tools for tracking end-to-end communication. This is an excellent idea if most of your workforce operates remotely.
With good monitoring processes and tools in place, you can identify areas of your UC that need attention. You’ll also address security problems remotely, which is very convenient and makes it possible to tackle security issues before they become serious problems.
6. Use automatic provisioning for your IP phones.
Avoid manually configuring IP phones or applications and disable the web interface on all IP phones or analog telephone adapters when manual provisioning is your only option. This strategy will significantly reduce the likelihood of any endpoint hardware or software becoming compromised.
How was our quick guide to improving your UC security? Tell us which tip helped you secure your business the most in the comments section below.