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 Voice over IP (VoIP) technologies and solutions have been widely adopted by consumers, businesses and service providers since the mid-2000s, but the rising popularity of remote work means businesses of all sizes are even more rapidly turning to VoIP for voice calls.

 In addition to reducing telecommunications equipment costs and operating expenses, VoIP enables the use of sophisticated voice, messaging, and collaboration capabilities that meet the needs of employees and customers in today’s work environment.

 With enterprises around the world quickly shifting to remote work in 2020, systems that were once housed inside a secured office setting are now distributed and cloud based. One result of this transition away from on-premises systems is the growing risk enterprises face as bad actors are looking to take advantage of potential  blind spots in cloud-based VoIP networks. This makes it imperative for enterprises to include the risks associated with VoIP networks and services in their overall approach to cybersecurity.

 Voice network security breaches can be highly damaging. While no device, be it a smartphone, traditional office phone or IP desktop phone, can ever be fully protected from all security threats, identifying the most common vulnerabilities and adopting analytics to detect and mitigate security attacks can go a long way, helping enterprises avoid costly disruptions to their real-time communications.

Building an Effective Security Solution to Protect VoIP Infrastructure from Attacks

 One of the most common form of attacks is a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, which can be used to overwhelm VoIP services by flooding servers with traffic, effectively preventing a business from utilizing its VoIP network and severely disrupting day-to-day operations. With the number of these attacks continuing  to rise, enterprises’ critical systems are at risk.

 Utilizing existing firewalls and security or monitoring software is NOT sufficient for enterprises to stop malicious attacks on VoIP networks and services. Rather, they must leverage the value of behavioral analytics and machine learning technology, to drive security applications which can analyze network data and proactively identify security risks. When adopting a comprehensive voice analytics solution, enterprises should consider one that encompasses the following attributes:

  • Pattern Recognition: With machine learning models, enterprises can utilize network call data to detect both unknown and repeat threats by analyzing normative network traffic behavior and establishing predictive patterns of activity. Working directly with the data and consistently refining to understand normative activity, it’s possible to flag abnormalities and identify potentially malicious calls or bad actors.
  • Reputation Scoring: Reputation scoring leverages machine learning models and utilizes multi-dimensional input data to determine whether a call is likely  malicious, providing a real-time score for enterprises to determine accurate policy decisions during call setup.
  • Policy Enforcement: An effective policy enforcement function mitigates attacks on VoIP services before they cause harm to the enterprise. Policy enforcement can easily be accomplished using a session border controller (SBC) that is likely already in place. This SBC is either a dedicated software application, or a hardware appliance, that governs the manner in which phone calls are allowed to come into an enterprise’s contact center or corporate network and how they are allowed to terminate in a VoIP network.
  • Threat Visibility: Lastly, enterprises must prioritize a solution that provides visibility to VoIP threats with dashboards and reporting. These features should cover high-level aggregate information, as well as offer the ability to analyze more detailed information for investigation and troubleshooting. Threat visibility ensures the solution is working as designed and quantifies the success in stopping malicious attacks.  

The Value of Securing Real-Time Communications

 Threats to enterprise VoIP networks and services, which are likely made up of a mix of vendors operating within a hybrid cloud / on-site locations, are difficult to address. Historically, assets operated within a secure domain and attackers had to penetrate an enterprise’s perimeter to attack servers, networks,  desktops, or user’s phones. Now, with a combination of distributed, remote and cloud-based networks, an enterprise’s attack perimeter and overall network exposure has significantly increased.

 To identify and mitigate threats to their VoIP network and services, enterprises must implement a comprehensive security solution, built on analytics and machine learning. If VoIP is not secured, it leaves open an avenue to bad actors which risks customer trust and satisfaction, and ultimately the ability for an enterprise to protect their business from data and revenue loss. With the rise of security attacks, it’s vital to take steps in order to avoid becoming the next enterprise dominating headlines with yet another security breach.

About Ribbon

 Ribbon Communications (Nasdaq: RBBN) delivers communications software, IP and optical networking solutions to service providers, enterprises, and critical infrastructure sectors globally. We engage deeply with our customers, helping them modernize their networks for improved competitive positioning and business outcomes in today's smart, always-on and data-hungry world. Our innovative, end-to-end solutions portfolio delivers unparalleled scale, performance, and agility, including core to edge software-centric solutions, cloud-native offers, leading-edge security, and analytics tools, along with IP and optical networking solutions for 5G. We maintain a keen focus on our commitments to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) matters, offering an annual Sustainability Report to our stakeholders.

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