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.


5 Alternatives to the Traditional Fax Machine

Despite the undeniable migration towards cloud-based communication technologies, many organizations still cling ferociously to their fax machine. Businesses (especially those in older industries such as law firms and medical labs) see fax machines as efficient, secure, and reliable equipment that helps them get a document from point to point.

Without question, fax machines indeed enabled fast communication. But in the 21st century, why keep your bulky, noisy, and painfully-slow fax machine when there are already far better options available today?

Below, we take a look at some of the best alternative services to the traditional fax machine and how they can best serve your faxing needs.

Vonage Paperless Fax

Vonage offers an affordable fax solution for businesses. For only $14.99 per user/per month, users can send and receive faxes from their desktop or mobile (and eliminate the hassle of wasting paper, purchasing toner, or maintaining a clunky fax machine in the office).

This Paperless Fax features also offers convenience to employers and their staff, as each user can have individual fax numbers, meaning there’s no need to stand in line to fax something. Incoming faxes are also sent straight to the recipient’s email, making it easier to manage important documents from a single inbox.

RingCentral Fax

Another excellent internet faxing solution is RingCentral Fax. Bridging traditional faxing and modern, cost-effective internet communications, RingCentral Fax lets businesses send and receive faxes as emails from anywhere and from any internet-connected device. You can even choose to keep your existing number or get a new one.

The best thing about RingCentral Fax is that it moves beyond basic fax and comes with an array of great features. These include SMS fax alerts, online accounts, fax logs, secure incoming and outgoing faxes, and cloud storage integrations with Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box, among others.

Businesses can also choose from four plans:

  • Fax 500 – starts at $7.99 per user/per month, with free 500 pages included monthly
  • Fax 1000 – starts at $12.99 per user/per month, with free 1000 pages included monthly
  • Fax 2500- starts $49.99 per user/ per month, with free 2500 pages included monthly
  • Fax Unlimited – starts at $39.9 per user/per month, with unlimited pages

VirtualPBX Online Fax

If you’re subscribed to a VirtualPBX plan, then you no longer have to worry about keeping bulky physical equipment because every VirtualPBX plan already has online fax capability. You can conveniently send and receive faxes from your account at no extra cost. Most plans let you send 100 fax pages every month at no cost (and only charges 5.9 cents for excess pages). Nevertheless, you can also customize it to increase your faxing capabilities.

Nextiva vFAX

Another excellent online faxing solution is Nextiva vFAX. Like other virtual faxing options, Nextiva lets users send and receive faxes from work, from home, or on the go through email. You can easily manage your faxes through their online portal that is accessible using any web browser. The best thing about Nextiva VFAX is you can take it on a 30-day free trial to find out if it’s a good fit for you.

They currently offer three plans:

  • Single user – starts $4.95/month, and includes 500 pages per month
  • Small business – starts at $12.95/month, and includes 1000 pages per month
  • Business pro – starts at $29.95/month, and includes 3000 pages per month

All three plans come with standard features such as Fax by Email, Fax Machine Support, Fax with Mobile Device, Access Fax Anywhere, Online Portal, and more.

Jive Virtual Fax

Jive also offers a virtual fax service that’s integrated on all Jive plans at no extra charge. Using this feature, you can quickly send and receive unlimited faxes, and view faxed documents straight from your inbox. To start sending and receiving faxes, you can simply set up an extension for it. Users can also configure fax settings in real time through Jive’s online portal.

No matter what plan you choose, if you are a small business or have a home office you should definitely considering upgrading to virtual fax!