Avoiding unified communication network threats with managed IT services


A communication and collaboration solution that leverages a unified network infrastructure can provide serious business value for an organization, reduce communication friction and simplify network management. However, integrated voice and data networks are also becoming an increasingly attractive target for attackers. To ensure that a unified network infrastructure simplifies IT and improves business processes rather than introducing new threats, organizations should leverage the expertise of a managed IT services provider like FlexITy with a dedicated network operations centre.


Unified voice and data networks without the right mitigation tools are susceptible to targeted denial of service attacks, in which malicious systems from the internet flood phone lines and overwhelm business networks. A 2010 report from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation suggested that TDOS phone attacks were also a popular diversionary tactic, used to flood contact centres during fraud incidents to prevent companies from helping customers whose information had been stolen. Last year, researchers at Arbor Networks found that hackers were advertising TDOS-as-a-service.


These attacks are also intensifying. According to a recent study, TDOS incidents have increased in frequency and severity over the past two years and will continue to do so, GCN reported. With free software, IP telephony technology and tools such as botnets at their disposal, attackers can generate a large volume of robocalls in the same way they would create any other type of data flood.


Increasing security with a managed services provider

Such threats can be a major challenge to a company with a unified network but limited expertise in network management or DOS mitigation. Once voice and communications tools are part of a network, they require the same security attention as other infrastructure, wrote GCN’s WIlliam Jackson.


“There is little an agency can do to prevent keep attackers from launching attacks,” he explained. “But as a potential target, phone DOS is one more problem to keep in mind. If your voice system is integrated into your data network, remember that VOIP needs to be managed like all other services … Pay attention to volume and capacity and be aware of unusual patterns that degrade your quality of service or even shut it down completely. Ensure that your analysts, service providers and security providers are ready to identify and track these activities and have the ability in place to block malicious traffic.”


One way to ensure proper security measures are taken is to work with a managed IT services provider such as FlexITy. Equipped with DDoS mitigation partners and staffed by leading network administration experts, FlexITy has the tools needed to catch and reduce the effectiveness of attacks. Additionally, FlexITy’s 24/7 network operations centre provides continuous monitoring and an immediate response to unusual activity, enabling companies that have implemented a unified communication and collaboration solution to know that communication is not coming at the expense of reduced network performance.


A unified voice and data solution should help empower businesses rather than introducing new threat vectors, and a managed services provider will help ensure this is the case.