As the communication requirements for businesses become more demanding, the need for a more robust and feature-rich technology is necessary.

SIP (session initiation protocol) offers businesses an efficient way to communicate without needing complicated hardware. This new method of communication uses VoIP (voice over internet protocol) technology to provide connectivity between an on-premise phone system and the public switched telephone network (PSTN).

With SIP trunks, businesses can connect multiple phone lines to a PBX (private branch exchange) system and make local or international calls over the internet using their existing phone numbers. This results in direct savings on call costs and eliminates the need to manage additional sets of long cables and wires. Also, since the calls happen through the internet, businesses do not need to manage separate lines for voice and data.

But what is more exciting about this new communication method is that businesses can easily route calls between multiple offices, irrespective of their location. Additionally, calling via the internet means employees can make and receive calls from anywhere, on any device.

What Is SIP Trunking?

SIP is an application layer that provides internet communication capability to a telecommunication line. When compared with standard wired audio connections, SIP provides numerous benefits ranging from cost savings to business-grade communication features.

SIP trunking is the interface that communication providers use to set up VoIP-based communication networks for their clients. In short, SIP is the technology, and SIP trunking is the application of that technology in real-world cases.

SIP works by routing calls through the VoIP phone system or PBX. The single point of entry facilitated by SIP trunking does away with individual incoming lines and the limitations associated with T1 lines.

Scaling your business communication network is easy with SIP trunking since the bandwidth provided by the SIP system paves the way for several connections from the same line. Additionally, the wireless capability of VoIP adds another layer of convenience to business communication methods.

How Robust Is SIP Trunk Security Against Cyber Attacks?

Since SIP connects the phone system to the internet through VoIP, it also inherits some of the internet’s security issues. Data packets from a VoIP call can be intercepted by cybercriminals. Intelligence agencies can eavesdrop on the data once they have access to the network. However, to tackle cyber attacks and handle data safely, SIP employs several mechanisms.

One of the ways SIP safeguards the information is by using encryption. This mechanism involves sending SIP data over a transport layer security (TLS) channel. Using this method, the data sent between the PBX and the VoIP phone system will transmit over a secure connection where the voice data will be split into encrypted IP packages.

This form of secure communication is called SIPS or SIP secure. These data packets can only be read using the right encryption key. The benefit of using SIPS is that, in addition to the voice data, the details of both the caller and the recipient are also encrypted. Encrypted SIP is one of the many features that set SIP apart from other telephony systems.

SIP also uses what is known as SRTP (secure real-time transport protocol), which is an extension of the real-time transport protocol (RTP). SRTP uses authentication and encryption to minimize the risk of cyber attacks such as denial of service (DoS) and protect against replay attacks. The protocol encodes communication data from the sender into encrypted packages, which can only be decrypted by the receiver via a key.

Best Practices for Secure SIP Telephony

Encrypting SIP data is one of the best ways to protect sensitive data from prying eyes. However, there are also other ways to strengthen SIP security. Here are some of the best practices that you should follow to keep your SIP system secure:

Go for tough passwords: It's no secret that a tough password increases the security on your account by a significant margin. But what makes a password tough? You can increase the strength of your password in many ways. Making it long and including special characters makes it hard to crack even for a bot designed to try out hundreds of combinations per second

Use firewalls: A firewall is a security layer that operates between the internet and your device. It constantly analyzes the transmissions to and from your device and prevents suspicious connections. Based on many factors and security rules, the firewall constantly monitors the network, keeping your sensitive information protected

TLS protection: As discussed above, TLS protection or encryption strengthens the security of the SIP system. With encryption, the data leaving the device is only accessible to an authorized node. The connections coming to the device have that same layer of security

Keep network hardware safe: No matter how secure the virtual side of your system, it’s ineffective if someone manages to access the network hardware. The best way to combat this problem is by setting up your network in a secure environment and keeping its location a guarded secret. Cloud-hosted PBX is the best alternative here, as most cloud service providers keep their systems up to date and use the highest security measures against cyber threats

Install a reliable antivirus: Antivirus systems provide many benefits to a communication line. They also include features like a firewall to keep suspicious connections away. There are ample numbers of incidents on the internet that highlight data compromises happening due to a virus or malware attack. Installing a reliable antivirus and keeping it up to date will help your system guard itself against such attacks

Use VLAN: VLAN or virtual LAN allows businesses to separate their communication lines. Once a VLAN is in place, the networks you use will be separated so that, even if one network gets compromised, it won’t affect the other networks. It's a great way to reduce the damage of an attack if one indeed occurs

Update software frequently: The software used for SIP trunking must be kept up to date. Make sure to check for updates regularly and apply them as soon as they roll out. Avoid delaying the update as it may contain critical patches to protect your system against the latest security threats

SIP security should be a major priority for businesses. Networks often hold classified information, and if a hacker gains access to it while it’s in use, the damages can be severe.

Why Choose 8x8 for Secure SIP

8x8 is a leader when it comes to safeguarding the security and compliance of communication data. Using industry-leading encryption technology and advanced cryptographic techniques such as TLS and SRTP/AES, 8x8’s encryption methods are the same as the ones used by the US government to protect and secure its data.

8x8 Virtual Office and Virtual Contact Center solutions are HIPAA- and FISMA-compliant and are certified by leading quality and cybersecurity agencies to meet rigorous privacy and data protection requirements.

We ensure high reliability and business continuity through cloud-based communications that use highly secure data centers placed at different locations around the world.

Choose Wisely When It Comes to Company Security

Given the benefits and the immediate return on investment, businesses are increasingly switching from their traditional lines of communication to SIP trunks. And, with telecom companies planning to phase out their ISDN lines over the coming years, SIP will soon become the preferred method of business connectivity.

With the growing use of cloud telephony in business, more channels through which information can be transferred are now available, from line-based communication to multimedia methods like voice, video, text, etc. The cloud will allow you to communicate with your customers, team members or vendors from anywhere, on any device. However, with multiple channels for communication, hackers or intruders will have more data to exploit.

This is why the SIP trunk service provider you choose must follow stringent security measures. With a secure SIP provider as a partner, you can rest assured that the communication lines in your company are encrypted and safe from data attacks.

Choosing the right technology is crucial to a growing business. Take the uncertainty out of the equation by choosing a SIP technology provider that can scale to meet your business' needs, whatever they may be at any given time. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out the form below to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.

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