Unified communications as a Service (UCaaS) delivers a wealth of advantages in productivity and collaboration by integrating voice, chat, video/audio conferencing, faxing, and email. These benefits, though, come with several security challenges and often include mandatory industry standards that must be adhered to.
When an organization begins moving their communications to the cloud, security should be one of the top considerations when choosing a vendor. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), “because of the integration of voice and data into a single network, establishing a secure VoIP and data network is a complex process that requires greater effort than that required for data-only networks.”
To ensure compliance and security requirements are being met, layered-defense countermeasures are the best protection. In addition to any industry-specific considerations, organizations ready to transition to a UC solution should also consider the following overall security factors when selecting a vendor:
1. Secure Data Center
As with other cloud solutions, a UC provider should have a technology infrastructure housed in facilities with strong physical protections, redundant power, and tested disaster recovery procedures. The highest levels of security and reliability should be backed by independent certifications; credible cloud service providers can provide evidence of verification and frequent validation by independent auditors.
2. Data Encryption
All data that passes through the provider’s network should be encrypted in transit and at rest. Voice traffic needs to be encrypted to prevent any kind of hacking or eavesdropping during the flow of data.
3. Communication Encryption/Protection
It is imperative that UC data (calls, messages, etc.) is encrypted not just in storage, but while in transit. Are there any industry regulations that need to be considered when deciding on the level of protection data requires?
4. Strong Network Security
The ideal provider can combine a dynamic UC solution with a stable and secure data connection and/or SD-WAN overlay. Encrypted calls, messages, videos, etc. are transmitted over a QoS-enabled and SLA-backed design, boosting performance so that crucial voice calls aren’t competing against general Internet traffic for bandwidth. This also allows maximum control of vital network and UC functions via the modification of security and firewall policies.
5. Account Access And Administration
Providers give the administrators of the UC solution a way to control user access, including the ability to define user roles and permissions. The solution should have provisions to instantly demote or revoke access and or permissions; this is critical in preventing potential data loss when an employee is terminated or leaves the company. A strong password policy and, when possible, two-factor authentication should also be offered by the vendor. Rigorous authentication and authorization guidelines are critical to protecting sensitive information and aligning to regulatory standards.
6. Continual Upgrades
As with any cloud-based solution provider, one of the chief benefits is the service provider’s ability to continually update not just software versions, but also security patches. Find out what a UC vendor does to ensure that the environment is continuously secure and ensure that their policies are inline with your expectations.
A successful UCaaS implementation is comprised of far more than getting all your communication and collaboration systems into one solution. The selection of a UC provider requires that the solution is securely designed, operated and unified.
Get more information on UCaaS solutions here.
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