The most common oversights in communications tech - TEO Technologies - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
A great unified communications system hinges on its ability to seamlessly connect disparate employees in far-flung offices so they can collaborate and work together better. Unfortunately, convenience in the digital world often comes at the expense of security. No matter what line of work you do, ensuring privacy and safety in your communications runs directly against your simultaneous desire to conveniently connect with colleagues.
As you build out your UC environment, take note of some of these common blind spots where gaps can develop in your security practices and risk mitigation procedures:
Passwords and management
The most common causes of the biggest hacks or data breaches in any industry tend to cluster in a handful of soft targets: passwords, email and communications devices. Locking these down as much as possible will reduce the bulk of the risk faced by almost any business related to cybercrime, or simple carelessness.
The easiest way for a criminal or unscrupulous client to do damage to any organization is to exploit password vulnerabilities. All it could take is just a single lucky guess or a dedicated hacker running a brute force attack to unlock an entire network of systems and confidential documents stored by one business. The prevalence of data breaches at large corporations recently only emphasizes the imperative of using strong passwords and managing them throughout an organization.
- Follow best practices for password length and content. Generally, that means making them at least eight characters and a mixture of numbers and symbols.
- The best passwords are incoherent as words or numbers that could be guessed. They also are completely unique from any password used before within the company.
- Unfortunately, these guidelines make it difficult to remember passwords, let alone manage them for an entire company. Invest in an enterprise password management service to make it easier to generate, change and manage passwords across all devices and software.
Within any one business, there could be thousands of emails being sent and received each day. Without following the best security practices and adopting the right tools, every one of these messages poses a potential risk of fraud, digital theft and more.
The first step to making email safer for everyone in your organization is to set strict standards for its use. These need to be adapted to the unique and evolving needs of employees to answer some important questions, including:
- How should personal and business email account use be combined, if at all?
- What is the correct way to safely open an email attachment?
- Are employees aware of how to spot phishing emails or suspicious messages forwarded from a coworker?
- Should there be limits or restrictions on sending and receiving emails from people outside of the organization?
- Are there procedures in place to close accounts and change passwords after employees have left the business?
To go the extra mile in pursuit of email security, according to Marconet, businesses should utilize encryption like the SSL standard to protect their email servers from prying eyes. In addition to SSL encryption, look into enterprise spam filtering services to prevent malicious emails from ever reaching your inbox in the first place.
Devices in the field
Applying best-practice security standards to every device, for every employee and across all networks is no doubt an exhaustive, labor-intensive approach to reduce the risk of loss related to cybersecurity incidents. The importance and sensitivity of this task is constantly being highlighted, however, as in this recent report from Trend Micro on newly unearthed vulnerabilities in certain UC networks.
In particular, Trend Micro found that pagers, still in wide use throughout health care, law enforcement and other fields where workers need to be on-call, continue to display serious security flaws without intervention from security experts.
Modern-day pagers are usually connected to an SMS or email network - a supervisor or automated system can send a page from anywhere and ensure it is delivered to its recipient almost instantly. But even when these messages are sent over secure channels, the opportunity to take advantage of them for malicious purposes still exists:
- Someone could intercept page data to gather passwords, access codes or even textual information that could aid in the development of an attack.
- Or, someone could pose as a legitimate authority and send a fraudulent page directing that worker to unknowingly commit a dangerous or harmful action.
These findings are relevant even in UC networks that don't use pagers, since they involve tactics known as "social engineering" that rely on the inherent difficulty of verifying someone's identity remotely. The prevalence of social engineering as a means to commit digital fraud only underscores the need for robust security in not only UC environments, but throughout all business systems.
Contact Teo Technologies to learn more about building a safer communications network for your business.
Publish Date: November 28, 2017 5:00 AM
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