Private VoIP – Security in Verbal Communication

Posted by Tobias Eichenseer Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:55:00 GMT

With the recent revelations by the controversial whistleblower Edward Snowden about surveillance on both digital and phone communications, people have started questioning the security level (or lack thereof) of traditional communication channels.

VoIP Recap
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is an alternative to traditional telephone systems (Public Service Telephone Network systems, PSTN). VoIP converts a voice-signal into data packets (IP) and uses the Internet to transmit these data. In our last blog on Voice over Internet Protocol, we discussed the advantages of VoIP versus PSTN - VoIP offers cost-effectiveness, higher flexibility, more features, an intuitive interface and better security. However, there are several ways to set up a VoIP connection: by means of the freely accessible worldwide web, referred to as the public VoIP network, or via a secured private or internal network.

Public vs. Private VoIP
In terms of telephony, the public networks pose disadvantages and risks, whereas private and secured IP networks offer safe and high quality VoIP communication. Public Internet telephony is subject to significant security risks, including eavesdropping, hacking or the theft and abuse of private data to conduct other crimes, such as identity theft. Companies seeking alternative telephone solutions should not overlook these risks.

Furthermore, the introduction of “free” calling services, such as Skype and Google Hangouts, are also sources of potential problems; these services utilize the Internet and the resultant connection quality is subject to the same problems as any other “public” connection. When using such services, apart from no guarantee of security, one must be aware of the vulnerabilities that are associated with third-party products, such as viruses and other attacks.

When communicating with business contacts or (potential) clients around the world, the highest priorities are optimum bandwidth utilization, high audio quality and security of the communication channel. However, when using the public VoIP network, these are precisely the factors that are put at risk. Data loss or theft can severely damage the corporate image which could result in immediate and long-term loss of clients and revenue. Conversely, when using a VoIP service via a private network, the voice packets remain on the private Internet, and no voice traffic travels over the public Internet. This enables a provider to offer an IP-based voice solution that eliminates all the concerns of quality and reliability.

With traditional VoIP services, hackers with access to packet sniffers and similar tools are able to monitor pertinent call location and transmission details, or eavesdrop on confidential conservations. However, with a VoIP over a private network, voice packets are routed securely over a private and safe network, thus abolishing security threats.

Flexible and Secure Communication: HOB Phone
Many companies have high requirements on both security and the quality of their communications that they cannot use services from a free-provider. To this end, HOB has developed HOB Phone: a purely web-based Voice-over-IP client. HOB Phone allows phone communication from different locations around the world through the Internet over a virtual private network. It enables a secure, encrypted voice communication so that calls cannot be intercepted. The great advantage of the HOB solution is that there is no need for an installation or administration rights on the client side.

Meeting Modern Business Needs
A great benefit of VoIP is that the service can be used to make and receive calls from any location. VoIP renders the management practice of telework (remote working) possible as it provides service and number mobility, which is not possible with traditional phone technology. Using a private VoIP service, a user can use the same number from virtually anywhere, as long as it has proper IP connectivity.

A VoIP connection over private networks provides higher quality and security than those that function strictly over the public Internet. The VoIP client HOB Phone connects over a virtual private network to the enterprise telephone system without intensive software installation.

Author: Hazel Farrugia

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