Voice Mail Security

Voice mail is an excellent, convenient communication tool for today's mobile professional. Commercial and home use has grown rapidly. The success of many business ventures has been decided by the ability to leave that one critical message.

As voice mail continues to develop into a common communications tool, those using it must be conscious of security issues surrounding the use of this time saver. Often voice mail is used to quickly share information restricted to a specific audience. The effects of such information being distributed to the wrong audience at the wrong time could be devastating.

As the owner, you should protect accessibility to your voice mail mailbox. Your voice mail password is the key to personal and sensitive data that could impact your ability to conduct business. Technology allows us to access data anywhere, at anytime, and by almost any means. It's up to us to practice secure voice mail techniques, and use the tool wisely.

Following the suggestions and tips listed below will help tighten the user related security exposures with voice mail:

• New users should receive training on the use of voice mail.
• Remember that telephone units with displays reveal all numbers entered, some include your voice mail password - beware of "shoulder surfers."
• Change your password often - at least every 30 days.

Learn how various store, display, and redial functions operate on the telephone model you use:

• How many numbers does it store?
• How many numbers can it redial?
• How many numbers can be recalled from memory?
• Exercise caution if you access voice mail over cellular telephones - your messages and password can be monitored easily with current wireless "snooping" equipment.
• Use discretion when leaving messages on voice mail systems. Preface messages containing sensitive information on voice systems with the message: "Do not transmit over a cellular system."
• If you are a cellular phone user with a voice mailbox, DO NOT listen to messages marked private over your cellular phone, and precede sensitive voice mail messages with "Don't listen to this message via cellular phone."
• When leaving sensitive voice mail for someone, initiate the message from your voice mail mailbox. Do not leave the message if you have been forwarded via a third party.
• Use the privacy feature when appropriate - by marking a message as private, it cannot be forwarded to anyone else.
• Most business voice mail systems provide a phone number in order to access the system when offsite. Do not distribute the voice mail system access phone number - the voice mail system access phone number could provide hackers an avenue to obtain free telecommunication service.
• Keep your mailbox clean. Do not archive messages, especially confidential ones, for long periods of time.

By following the tips above, you can significantly reduce the risk of compromising a voice mail message or voice mail system.

Remember, voice mail responsibility begins with the user.