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7 UCC security risks and how to address them

Make sure customers get the message

August 09, 2019

7 UCC security risks and how to address them
Since UCC brings together a variety of technologies—e.g., VoIP, video, chat, email—it presents some distinct security challenges. These are compounded by the fact that UC technology has become more complex and more readily accessible on the internet—making business communications more susceptible to attack.
Companies must be vigilant in appropriating the proper resources to secure their communications infrastructure. It’s particularly important for your customers to pay attention to the following 7 risk factors:
  1. Data center vulnerability
    Since most UC relies on the data center for ongoing services, including storage, it’s critical to ensure the data center is backed up and properly maintained regularly and has advanced security protection in place to safeguard against a potential data breach or cyberattack.
  2. Demand spike protection
    Business communications don’t occur at a consistent rate. There are peaks and lulls. A spike in activity can put an excessive burden on the UC infrastructure. Companies need to ensure that their systems can handle these high levels of activity—without risking the loss of calls or a significant reduction in the quality of the communications.
  3. Proper messaging encryption
    All messages, without exception, should be protected with some level of encryption, and those that contain proprietary or confidential information may need additional levels of privacy protection. Keep in mind that messaging encryption doesn’t come as a default with every UC service, so it’s best to choose one that offers it.
  4. Master-level security controls
    While individual employees will have independently running applications to help them manage their communications, it’s essential to have master-level security controls such as multifactor authentication in place to protect against those instances when those applications are accessed fraudulently. Employees also need to follow minimum criteria for password strength—and to change their passwords regularly.
  5. Network flexibility
    Employees won’t always be using the company network for UC applications, so companies need to protect against the inherent risks of external network use. This should include enabling a VPN for remote users, which should be mandatory.
  6. VoIP fraud
    This is becoming increasingly common, particularly with SMBs. Without sufficient protection, companies can be susceptible to toll fraud, PBX hijacking and other infractions. Many PBX manufacturers issue software or firmware updates to continuously address vulnerabilities, so companies should stay current with the latest versions to minimize fraud risk. They should also make sure to block outside connections to the PBX so only trusted and authorized users can access it.
  7. Employee vulnerability and error
    Employees often present a major challenge to UCC security by using weak passwords or succumbing to phishing schemes. Ongoing education, while not foolproof, can help create a safer environment.
New solutions deliver better UCC security
As the demand for UCC increases, so do the innovations in security.
The EdgeMarc Intelligent Edge portfolio from Ribbon Communications, for example, delivers enterprise session border control (eSBC) functions to protect against malicious attacks such as denial-of-service and toll fraud.
The AudioCodes Universal Communications Architecture (UCA) solution enables large organizations with disparate multivendor communications systems to modernize their voice networks safely, efficiently and cost effectively. By consolidating communications silos, connecting with Session SIP trunk services and using the corporate IP network to optimize call routing, UCA delivers a highly secure voice infrastructure that’s easy to manage and delivers excellent voice quality.

Helping your customers with UCC security
Taking the appropriate precaution will help minimize security risks to your customers’ business communications, but first your customers may need additional assessments and/or technology to ensure they have the right systems and procedures in place. That’s where you and Ingram Micro can be valuable resources. To learn more about UCC security and what you can do to help safeguard your customers, contact our UCC expert, Chad Simon.