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The new standard for working from home

High-quality, secure video conferencing experiences are increasingly important for end-user productivity. With more users working from home and turning on video, IT must ensure company networks can handle the load. Just as important, meeting rooms often need to support Zoom video conferencing as well as Microsoft Teams video conferencing, as collaboration between in-office and remote users is the new normal, and users require both.

What is video conferencing?

Gartner defines video conferencing, often called videoconferencing and teleconference, as communication by individuals or groups using systems that support image, voice and data transfer over digital networks or telephone circuits. Recently, several video conferencing platforms for work have grown in popularity. Top platforms include Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Skype for Business.

The need for video conferencing

By 2024, remote work and changing workforce demographics will impact enterprise meetings. Only 25% will take place in person, down from 60% today.

Challenges of teleconference

The growing popularity of Zoom, Microsoft Teams and video conferencing in general is driving increased usage of room systems in organizations. These room systems exponentially increase support needs and associated costs.

Common challenges with video conferencing solutions:

  • Multi-platform management: Modern organizations typically use multiple video conferencing solutions, such as Zoom video conferencing & Teams video conferencing, and require a central management solution.
  • Actionable meeting room analytics: Are rooms over capacity? What rooms should be upgraded? Actionable insights are key to continuous improvement of the meeting room experience.
  • Integrated software and hardware: Video conferencing solutions and meeting rooms are complicated. They require the perfect connection between hardware and software, typically from different vendors.
  • Inherited video conferencing technologies: Organizations need tools to deal with legacy technologies while still meeting end-user expectations of a modern conferencing experience.
  • Room system troubleshooting: If there's an issue with a meeting room, IT needs to know. Troubleshooting guidance is important, especially when working across multiple systems, like Zoom Rooms, Microsoft Teams Rooms (MTR) and Skype for Business Room Systems (SRS).
  • Room system security: What is the best way to manage admin access to an organization’s platforms and monitor the integrity of meeting recordings? Ensuring secure video conferencing is key.

The future of remote work

According to a recent study conducted by Nemertes Research, a whopping 90.6% of companies have employees working fully remotely because of the pandemic — an increase from 63.2% pre-COVID-19. Almost overnight, companies had to send hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of employees to home offices.

Employee work habits changed to:

  • 71.8% work from home (WFH) full-time (an approximate 2x increase)
  • 50.5% WFH part-time (an approximate 2.3x increase)

Working from home with video conferencing

Pre-COVID-19 statistics showed over 70% of professionals conducted remote meetings or worked from home for at least one day each week. However, in the wake of COVID-19, whole companies are working from home, and they’re doing so 100% of the time.

The upside to this quick transition

This rapid transition to remote work showed a low impact on daily functions. Businesses reported that they experienced a number of benefits:

  1. Better employee quality of life (59%)
  2. Better environmental impact (42.7%)
  3. Reduced employee turnover rates (32.8%)
  4. More productive employees (28%)
  5. Cost savings (24.9%)

The downside to this quick transition

  1. Caught unprepared: more challenges for IT
  2. Beginning in early March 2020, the world experienced an unprecedented shift to working from home. This resulted in two significant transformations. First, organizations suddenly found themselves with the need to deploy video conferencing solutions on a massive scale. Second, the threat of video conferencing security dangers quickly became a top issue in the unified communications (UC) world.
  3. IT was not ready
  4. A recent survey found that 85% of companies believe embracing the public cloud is critical to fuel innovation. But only 40% of those who have already adopted public cloud have a cloud security management approach in place.
  5. End users were not ready.
  6. Most end users were unaware of vital security settings of video conferencing platforms. For the few who did know about them, they assumed that someone else was managing security on the backend.
  7. In many cases, the UC platforms were not ready.

The importance of secure video conferencing

With an expected 40% of businesses maintaining a remote structure post-COVID-19, secure video conferencing is a higher priority as we transition back to a semblance of normality. The key elements of security for video conferencing monitoring can be broken down into three areas:

  1. Pre-call settings and policies
  2. The difference between a “zoom-bomb” or an exposed chat thread and a secure video conferencing meeting is as simple as checking a few boxes in the settings.
  3. Call data transmission
  4. Data transmission is the most vulnerable area of security. In the wrong hands, the video conference stream can turn into a private surveillance camera.
  5. Post-call archiving
  6. Information from these virtual meetings could be sensitive, so data storage needs to be secure and separate from all other networks.

Video conferencing security loopholes

  1. Security settings
  2. Each UC platform comes with its unique list of security settings. Keeping track of these settings becomes more difficult as they’re constantly updated. How do you navigate the complexity and ensure a consistent experience across multiple platforms?
  3. Polices
  4. For emerging technologies, the conventional IT impulse is to lock down/discourage adoption until the organization fully understands the risks. However, the adoption of new features isn’t just a security decision anymore.
  5. Phishing
  6. Apart from exploiting security bugs, cybercriminals have other attack vectors when it comes to collaboration. These phishing attacks include stealing credentials and delivering malware payloads through links and attachments, just like email.
  7. Recordings exposure
  8. Any number of different security misses can inadvertently make recordings public. Lack of a complex password or default password requirements and nonexistent policies regarding recordings could lead to data leakage.

Is your collaboration platform at risk?

Cisco Webex Teams

In March 2019, Cisco patched high-severity vulnerabilities in the video conferencing platform. If exploited, these could have allowed an attacker to execute code on affected systems.

Microsoft Teams

Recently, Microsoft Teams had a security flaw that would allow a “malicious GIF” to steal user data across an entire company. Additionally, some customers are still looking for Teams video conferencing to implement some advanced security features previously valued in Skype for Business.

Both IT teams and end users need to keep a core list of security best practices in mind for both Zoom video conferencing and Teams video conferencing (see below). This renewed and hyper-vigilant form of digital workplace dexterity is essential.

  1. Monitor and track metrics
  2. Deploy policies
  3. Protect and verify meeting links
  4. Don't share personal IDs
  5. Authenticate and track users
  6. Control screen sharing
  7. Disable join before host
  8. Use waiting rooms
  9. Avoid file sharing
  10. Double-check confidentiality

Managing the video conferencing experience

Bring your users’ favorite collaboration and communications apps all under a single management framework powered by our patented technology. Tackle cross-platform issues with ease. Learn about our plans and pricing to see which is right for you. Gain access to:

  • Help desk: Reduce troubleshooting time and improve end-user satisfaction by providing actionable and prescriptive guidance regarding advanced quality issues.
  • Benchmarking: Use the power of crowdsourced cloud intelligence to compare anonymized UC and collaboration key performance indicators across multiple sites and between different users and virtual meeting platforms.
  • Usage and adoption: Accelerate user adoption for meetings, chats and calls across multiple platforms at the same time — visualize the full adoption profile of your entire enterprise unified communications and collaboration (UCC) environment.
  • Tracking: Identify and track a customized and targeted set of executives, VIPs or even conference rooms so that IT can stay ahead of any potential problems.
  • Problems and insights: Artificial intelligence and machine learning analyze platform data to create a centralized hub to view problems and insights. Our software prioritizes issues to troubleshoot and identifies system anomalies.
  • Policy management: Leverage PowerSuite’s comprehensive policy framework to implement governance covering security and workflow needs.

Learn more about how Unisys PowerSuite helps empower enterprise IT teams to manage complex WFH scenarios and optimize video conferencing solutions.

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