5 Best Practices to Keep Your Virtual PBX System Secure

The telecommunication requirements for startups and large enterprises vary due to size, features, equipment, etc. But there’s one thing both types of business share in common: the need for a reliable and secure communication system. With the popularity of virtual PBX (Private Branch Exchange) systems, businesses now more than ever need to take measures to ensure their system is safe to avoid being vulnerable to various security threats inherent to web-based technologies.

Virtual PBX security threats are diverse and varied, but one of the most common include PBX hacking. This is where criminals penetrate your PBX system to make unauthorized calls. This can result in substantial call charges being incurred on your account.

So how can you protect yourself from PBX hacking and other more damaging security threats? Take note of the following security measures to keep you and your business safe:

  1. Use strong passwords

One of the easiest yet often overlooked security measures is setting strong passwords. Using weak passwords (such as birthdays, names, and default passwords) is like opening the door for hackers since it requires almost no effort to hack into the system.

To make sure you’re not making it easy for cyber-criminals, use strong passwords in your PBX phones and accounts for both users and administrators. This means using a password that contains a minimum of 16 characters that include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Also remember to change default admin passwords regularly, especially if you’re using modern IP PBX servers that can be configured through a web portal.

  1. Use a VPN for remote workers

If your PBX system supports a large number of mobile devices (especially if you have remote employees or staff who are constantly on-the-go), then encrypting traffic through a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a wise move. With a VPN, users can access a private network securely and send and receive data remotely across shared or public networks.

  1. Monitor usage

In order to avoid fraud and to detect network-based attacks on your IP PBX system, it’s important that you monitor usage and actively track call logs and history.  Attacks on a PBX system are usually known to create an unusually large amount of network traffic, so blocking international call access to countries you don’t usually dial is a good idea.

  1. Keep your software up to date

Another way to safeguard your PBX system and your business is by keeping your PBX software updated. Typically, the most recent version of a software is often the most secure (bugs and other potential exploits are found and fixed).

When updating your PBX, remember to do a complete backup of your system (although performing regular backups of your entire system is also recommended). Also notify end users of the update, in case it will lead to some downtime.

  1. Talk to your service provider

Finally, talk to your PBX service provider. Be sure to ask about security issues such as how data is stored and transmitted, and the measures they have established in case of a network attack. This is something you would want to do even before you choose a provider.

Final Thoughts

Virtual PBX systems offer a host of benefits to startups and growing businesses, but when not managed properly, cyber-criminals can use your phone system as an opportunity to commit fraud and gain access to your confidential company data. That is why security should always remain a priority for organizations.


Hosted PBX VS SIP Trunking: Which is Right for Your Business?

For companies that are hoping to save money and streamline business communications, the decision to choose a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system is a smart move. When compared to traditional telephone services, VoIP is far more customizable and feature-rich. Plus, the ability to scale at will on top of the system’s increased reliability make VoIP highly attractive.

It’s important to emphasize, though, that VoIP is not a single solution. Rather, it’s an umbrella term that covers any form of voice communication that is carried out over Internet Protocol (IP) networks. When implementing a VoIP solution, there are various options businesses can choose from. Two of the most common solutions are Hosted Private Branch Exchange (PBX) and SIP Trunking. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at each service to help you decide which option is most suitable for your business.

What is a Hosted PBX?

Also referred to as an IP PBX or virtual PBX, a hosted PBX solution is a telephone system that provides PBX functionalities (such as call conferencing, automatic call distributions, call forwarding, do not disturb, etc.) to businesses but without the need to own or maintain any onsite equipment. With hosted PBX, the call platform and its features are hosted or handled by the VoIP service provider in the cloud. It is no longer the business’ responsibility to own, operate, secure, maintain or upgrade the necessary hardware. This allows companies to focus on their core competency, as well as enjoy significant cost savings through limited required equipment.

What is SIP Trunking?

With Session Initiation Protocol (or SIP trunking), users are able to continue using their existing telephone system or PBX equipment, but without the exorbitant costs of connecting to the PSTN. SIP trunking replaces traditional phone trunks with the internet; which means your phone calls will be routed through the internet instead of traditional phone lines. This solution requires an IP-enabled on-premise PBX and a VoIP gateway that connects your PBX to the cloud.

So Which Solution Should You Choose?

As with any business technology, the decision depends on the needs of your business. You need to consider various factors first before making the switch. The following are only some of the things you should weigh in order to make an informed purchasing decision:

    • The size of your business – For startups and smaller businesses (with anywhere from 5 to 20 employees), hosted PBX is usually the better choice as it provides all of the standard and advanced VoIP features at a lesser cost. SIP trunking, on the other hand, is ideal for larger enterprises that already have an existing PBX in place and simply want more affordable calling.
    • Scalability – As a business expands, so do their communication requirements. Both options are highly scalable, but with SIP trunking you would need to purchase additional on-premise servers (and thus spend more money) to be able to add new phones and users to your phone system.  A hosted PBX service, on the other hand, would only require a notification to the provider or a few changes in your account’s web portal, which can be completed in a few simple steps.
    • Maintenance – If you’re choosing SIP Trunking solutions, maintenance issues must be handled by your IT staff. They are responsible for the upkeep and must ensure that your software is up-to-date. This can prove extremely challenging for some businesses, especially if they don’t have highly skilled and knowledgeable IT personnel. With hosted PBX, on the other hand, all of the necessary upgrades and maintenance will be taken care of your VoIP service provider.

Assess your business’ wants and needs and choose the most appropriate VoIP service solution today!