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17 Jun, 2020|

What Video Conferencing Software is Secure?

Whilst a large proportion of people work from home during Coronavirus, businesses are having to get more innovative when it comes to keeping people in touch. A key element of this is utilising video conferencing software to replace face to face meetings.

But with the use of new or different technology comes security risk. Particularly given that cyber criminals appear to be looking to take advantage of the Coronavirus pandemic and more people working from home.

A key consideration for businesses will be which video conferencing software is secure.

What security considerations should be given when choosing video conferencing software?

When it comes to making use of video conferencing software within a business environment, maintaining privacy and security will be amongst the top feature’s businesses want reassurance on.

Some security areas to think about when choosing your video conferencing software include:

Keeping meetings to those invited – there have been reports of meetings being hijacked by hackers for example. Something which doesn’t bode well for business security or privacy. Many apps now have waiting room features which enable the host to only admit people to the meeting who should be there

Encryption – Whether there is end to end encryption of calls should be considered when deciding on software due to the security and privacy benefits

Password protection – does the software require passwords to be entered to gain entry to a meeting and do they make use of more complex solutions such as two factor authentications

Making use of solutions designed for corporate use – those designed for casual/consumer use may not come with security features that businesses deem essential

Software updates – all software updates should be made frequently to patch any vulnerabilities identified

Employee training – it’s important that employees are trained on how to best use the video conferencing software that you decide on and that they know how to maintain security and privacy at all times 

What are the most popular video conferencing software solutions?

Zoom

Zoom has grown significantly in popularity during the Coronavirus pandemic. If you’re anything like us, you have probably done your fair share of lockdown quizzes using the platform.  And may well be utilising it for work purposes as well.

Zoom is popular due to its simplistic approach making it easy to set up calls, use the platform and manage calls. As with some of the other systems there is a free version and a paid for version designed with business needs in mind.

The speed with which its popularity and user number have grown have created some concern, however. Many news reports are questioning is Zoom secure. And there have been high level calls for the platform to provide additional information around their security and privacy measures. There have been reports of many security issues linked to Zoom which the company say that they are addressing. Passwords are now required for meetings for example.

Zoom doesn’t currently provide end to end encryption. Having end to end encryption would prevent anyone but the participants being able to view the meeting. Vital if you are discussing business sensitive information.

Others have highlighted privacy concerns such as the host being able to monitor the activities of attendees whilst screen sharing and the amount of information which administrators can access from calls.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a software that is provided as part of Microsoft 365. Making it a common choice for businesses who are already working with this package of software.

In terms of the security features of Microsoft Teams, it provides 2 factor authentication processes, encryption of data in transit and rest and integrates with security solutions of other Microsoft products such as OneNote and Share Point.

Some reviews suggest the interface is less user friendly than apps such as Zoom, but businesses may feel more at ease with the security systems afforded by a company such as Microsoft.

Google Hangouts/Meet

Google Meet was formerly Google Hangouts Meet. It is Googles video conferencing system designed primarily for businesses. There is now a free version of Google Meet that anyone can access. Whilst there is also a paid for enterprise version. As with Microsoft Teams, Google Meet  integrates with the rest of Googles products.

Amongst other security areas, Google notes the following about Google Meet.

  • All video meetings are encrypted in transit by default between the client and Google
  • Support multiple 2 step verification options
  • Secure meeting controls
  • Independent verification of security control

Skype

Skype is another Microsoft owned platform. And one which has been around for many years. You are your participants all need to have a skype account to set up and participate in meetings – something which is seen as something of a hurdle given the flexibility of some of the newer systems such as Zoom.

Skype does use encryption for Skype to Skype group calls. And, as with Microsoft Teams you can set up two factor authentications to protect your account further.

Video conferencing systems are a great way for businesses of all sizes to help keep remote workers connected. Which software you choose for your business will be determined by a number of different factors – including the size of your business, the current technology that you utilise and amongst others. Do your research before deciding on the solution that is best for your business.

If you are making use of new video conferencing software, it is vital to ensure that it is secure and that you go through usual IT software governance processes. Do be aware of the increased risk of cybercrime at this time too and keep this in mind when making decisions about remote working solutions.