A Short Guide to Web Conferencing

With a halt to the Covid-19 lockdown not looking like it is coming any time soon, most of us will just have to continue working from home and communicating via web conferencing for the foreseeable future.

By now, it is likely that you have worked out some of the initial glitches when it comes to web conferencing but there are still some serious challenges to consider.

Zoom

Since the beginning of 2020, Zoom has seen an increase in users from 10 million to 200 million.

There aren’t many of us who haven’t used Zoom for business and personal calls over the last two months. There are, however, some surprising security concerns with Zoom.

  • The privacy policy on Zoom may not follow UK specifications. Zoom is an American company and therefore data could be stored somewhere without the same GDPR laws as we have in the UK.
  • Zoomjacking became a ‘word’ when random people started joining meetings as they had the meeting ID. This became a concern when the UK Prime Minister tweeted a screenshot in which the meeting ID was visible.

When using Zoom there are some security precautions to ensure your data remains safe.

  • Use a unique email address just for Zoom.
  • Clear cookies and browsing data before and after each call.
  • Use a virtual background or have a plain wall behind you.
  • Be careful what information you share via Zoom.
  • Set up Zoom meetings with passwords or a waiting room to prevent zoomjacking.
  • When using screenshots of Zoom meetings for Social Media be aware you could be breaking GDPR laws, and potentially putting other attendees at risk if they have windows or doors in the background of their screens. Always best to ask first.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams was originally created as a replacement for Skype for Business which is due to be retired in 2021. It is not as popular as Zoom but still has as many as 44 million daily users.

Teams is perfect for team communication enabling

  • Video conferencing with other team members.
  • Document sharing.
  • Team calendars and task lists.
  • Chat Channels.

Whilst Teams does the job of keeping people connected, has a number of available plug ins and can all be controlled from a central hub, it is not as flexible or intuitive as Zoom and doesn’t have the breakout room options.

Additionally, whilst calls can host up to 250 people only four are visible on the screen at one time, meaning it is better placed for smaller team discussions rather than large meetings.

There are, however, alternative options to Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

Avaya Spaces

Avaya Spaces is a similar option to Microsoft Teams in the sense it is a cloud-based video conferencing tool which allows file sharing, and convenient ‘spaces’ to meet.

These ‘spaces’ can be created for specific projects or common discussion topics and team members can enter to meet with others, share content or to message each other.

So, what are the benefits of Avaya Spaces;

  • Depending on which package you chose, Avaya Spaces can host between 200 and 500 users.
  • Everything is encrypted in transport between your PC and their servers, then decrypted so it can be shown on participants’ feeds.
  • They do not store any audio or video feeds on their servers unless the host requests the meeting is recorded. 

Whilst video conferencing is the new norm in our day-to-day working lives, it was something that had to be adopted by a large group of people very quickly.

Security Considerations

If you hadn’t thought about the security aspects of using video conferencing before, now really is the time. Here are some questions you should consider;

  • What country manages the video conferencing software, and therefore where will your data be stored?
  • Are you able to access the data they hold?
  • Is the connection encrypted? And if so, is it reliable?
  • What are the privacy policies held by the company?
  • Always enable security elements if available, such as passwords and waiting rooms.
  • Don’t discuss or share information which could be data protected or sensitive over a video conference.

You should also ensure that your PC has up to date anti-virus and anti-malware software installed as well as multi-level authentication to ensure all your online activities are as risk free as they can be.

For further advice about security and video conferencing why not contact SupportWise today?