In this day and age, it seems as though IT security attacks have become commonplace. Every day, we seem to hear that yet another company has been hacked and its data stolen and used to exploit the organization and its customers.

This has spawned an entirely new outlook on IT infrastructure: everything from more robust monitoring and new policies and compliance procedures to new education within companies to ensure people are not taken advantage of through simple human behavior. Yet, far too many companies—for whatever reason—still ignore their IP phone systems.

It’s no surprise that we live in a digital age with smartphones, apps, the cloud, and more, having brought us all squarely into the world of digital transformation. But the complacency of the past has also become an issue that plagues many companies: the idea that phone systems are a separate entity that nefarious hackers shy away from. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

For instance, to this day, many don’t realize that the majority of major phone companies switched from traditional to IP systems years ago, meaning that every conversation you have shared with colleagues, customers, and loved ones is, in fact, a digital communication—packets of information that are transferred over a network no different from email, files, or anything else. The end result is that these conversations can be intercepted and stolen the same as any other type of data.

So, what does this mean for security? Think of the conversations you have at work every day dealing with everything from contractual details to proprietary information about the inner workings of the company, and more. Now, what would happen if those conversations were “stolen” and shared with the world? Could your customers or shareholders be placed in awkward situations? Could one bad conversation or disparaging comment topple your brand in the eyes of the world? In almost every case, the outcome wouldn’t be pleasant.

The unfortunate thing is that far too many companies that sell so-called business phone systems have little to no knowledge about security or have few security protocols in place. In many cases, users of their services are being exposed to the world through an unprotected and basic VoIP technology that can be infiltrated with ease.

It’s this paradigm that unwittingly exposes far too many people to potential security threats, a situation brought about by the apathy of telecom companies and their denial that something bad could ever happen. And though people may avoid a breach through simple luck, the Internet of Things (IoT) will open up more opportunities for the criminal world of hackers. Staying safe thanks to a luck of the draw is soon coming to an end. And VoIP will become another target, with distressing outcomes.

So, what are you do to? Don’t fall for the typical VoIP pitch. Just because a company promises phone functionality and can ship you phones that can be plugged in with ease doesn’t keep you safe. Ask the tough questions: Is your phone company operating its service on a private network? Is that private network secured with the latest in IT security technology? Is the service being monitored 24/7 for threats? And what is being done to thwart those threats?

In the end, your phone system is as vulnerable as any other IT infrastructure. It needs to be secured and monitored and to follow the right policies and compliance procedures as everything else. Don’t leave yourself exposed—no one needs or deserves to face that type of issue.

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