The global shutdown in 2020 highlighted the criticality of collaboration solutions, especially during a pandemic like crisis. Suddenly, there was this urgent need to give remote workers access to all sorts of communication tools; email, voice calls, messaging, video conferencing, you name it. This communication tool also had to be easy to use, unified, and accessible from anywhere. The idea was to keep people productive, while keeping them safe at home.
But here’s the problem, as the demand for these Unified Communication (UC) platforms shot up, so did the chances for cybersecurity attacks. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategies enabled people to use their own devices to access their work networks, often without much IT oversight. Suddenly, businesses were exposed to all sorts of threats that could mess up their communications, and bring productivity to a grinding halt.
So, while the world was “worried sick” about the corona virus on one hand, IT leaders were “fighting their own battles” against a wide range of cyber threats. This created a tricky situation for them, as keeping communication channels open and secure became a top priority.
Continue reading to learn more about the importance of implementing a comprehensive security plan for Unified Communications (UC) across the enterprise, along with the key components of such a plan.
The Need for a Unified Communications (UC) Security Plan
Today, if you are not utilizing unified communications (UC) tools or platforms, especially ones that have not been properly secured, it is just a matter of time that your enterprise “loses it’s edge” in today’s fiercely competitive landscape.
UC platforms were relatively un-familiar to many, even a few years ago. However, the adoption of these platforms has lately gained a lot of momentum. And as expected, it also caught the attention of malicious actors. They quickly realized that this surge in online communication channels also presented tempting opportunities for them.
This is why, the implementation of robust UC security measures became a “no brainer”. In fact, it went far beyond simply extending protection to the UC platform itself; it rather necessitated the development of a comprehensive security plan.
It has now become a “need of the hour” for businesses to recognize the imperative of implementing a comprehensive unified communications security plan. By doing so, they can not only unlock the full potential of UC, but also ensure the integrity and confidentiality of their communications as well as sensitive data.
Components of a Unified Communications (UC) Security Plan
Unified communications networks are prone to a wide range of cyber threats. Some of these threats include the following:-
- Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks
- Illegal and scam calls
- Session overload
- Session hijacking
- Media injection
- Protocol fuzzing
- Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks
To tackle these threats, businesses should adopt the following components as a part of their UC security plan.
Identity and Access Management (IAM)
When it comes to UC security, Identities and Access Management is a big deal. Enterprises usually want to go beyond just passwords for login, and that is where the role of dynamic solutions, like Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) comes in.
It adds an extra layer of protection, by requiring users to enter a dynamic code sent to their mobile device, after entering the correct password. And not to forget the principle of least privilege access. Enterprises should allow users access to only the resources they need to get their jobs done. With such robust controls in place, the adverse impact of a cybersecurity incident can be mitigated.
Encryption by Default
Now, let’s talk about “scrambling things up” a bit. When it comes to communication and data in UC, encryption should be the norm. Encryption is like a “secret code” that can only be deciphered or “un-scrambled” with the right key or code. It is important for businesses to make sure their communication is locked up tight, with robust encryption measures in place.
Trust in Zero Trust
In a world of remote work, it is wise for businesses to trust no one, until they prove themselves via authentication. That is the essence of zero trust, a game-changer for network access security. Instead of blindly assuming trust, you verify identity at every step of granting access to enterprise resources. This approach keeps communications and data safe from outsiders.
The Importance of Regular Patching
When vendors release patches, businesses should make it a priority to apply them without delay. These patches fix newly discovered vulnerabilities, just like patching up a hole in your main door. Without this, there are chances of inviting a lot of trouble, right at your “digital door”.
The alarming situation is that attackers even study patches, to figure out where the vulnerabilities lie. So, enterprises need to stay “one step ahead”, to keep their systems up to date, and always patched-up.
Integration with SIEM Platform
Remember, it is all about teamwork in unified communications security. So, enterprises must connect their unified communications platform with a security information and event management (SIEM) system. By integrating these platforms, enterprises can keep a close eye on any security-related issues.
This integration also allows for centralized monitoring and analysis of security-related events, and activities within the UC platform. A SIEM mechanism documents cybersecurity incidents, and also the applied remedies. This goes a long way in monitoring and analysis of UC related security incidents.
Regular Training and Education
It is no secret that employees can be the biggest security asset, or a source of high risk for your enterprise. That is why ongoing training, awareness and education are vital. Repetitive cybersecurity training sessions may not be the most exciting thing for employees, but the goal with repetition is to develop “good cyber habits”. Businesses must also include specific information about UC security, in their training programs.
The unprecedented adoption rates of Unified Communication (UC) platforms by enterprises might have initially been due to the pandemic. However, its benefits have definitely compelled many businesses to permanently embed this innovative solution across their IT infrastructure. The thing is, businesses need to be careful when considering their UC solutions provider, and prioritize security in their selection process.
When it comes to finding a reliable UC provider, ATSG stands out with its comprehensive range of capabilities. ATSG offers top-notch Unified Communications Services, ensuring seamless connectivity and collaboration across various channels, no matter where your workforce is physically located.
Additionally, ATSG’s Design & Implementation Services go beyond just assessing your current environment. Our experienced team will evaluate your IT and UC infrastructure needs, offer best-in-class industry expertise, and deliver tailored recommendations.
That’s not all, our Analytics & Insights capabilities can optimize enterprise network management, and application management for seamless collaboration as well as contact center operations. In addition, our Zero Trust Architecture will ensure that your sensitive enterprise data and resources are protected from un-authorized access.
So, what are you waiting for? Contact ATSG for highly secure managed IT services and intelligent technology solutions for your enterprise.