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Delivering video conferencing

William MacDonald, CTO at StarLeaf, pictured, discusses why reliability and security are vital to delivering video conferencing.

As cloud technology drives the digital workplace, IT decision-makers need to prioritise security to ensure that business operations are secure, and systems deliver the best outcomes for employee experiences and effective enterprise communications.

A StarLeaf report commissioned in January 2019 surveyed 500 IT decision-makers and line-of-business leaders from enterprises from the US, UK, Germany, and France (with over 1,000 employees), and revealed that over 96 per cent of participants ranked security as the primary consideration for choosing a video conferencing system.

Every organisation, service provider and customer alike, needs to carefully consider its own data protection and systematic controls, especially to meet strict compliance regulations, which include the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Cybercrime is a major challenge for any enterprise, whether that is data security or eliminating toll fraud. IT leadership, such as the CIO or CISO, needs to be confident that the network is secure and that systems will not be hacked. Encryption is essential to protect any form of messaging or communication, as well as the physical security of where the data is stored. Data jurisdiction is also an important consideration, especially when using any cloud-based solution. Interestingly, Gartner predicts that through to 2024, workloads that leverage the programmability of cloud infrastructure to improve security protection will suffer at least 60% fewer security incidents than those in traditional data centres.

Another growing trend is the workforce operating on the go or remotely, which presents challenges for organisations that need to scale their collaboration requirements. The ‘always-on’ economy is driving new opportunities to expand into new markets, but users need reliable and secure tools to engage effectively with colleagues and customers. Without the right architecture and robust systems in place, it becomes difficult to enable employees to communicate anywhere and from any device. Nevertheless, vendors that deliver world-class video conferencing and offer a 99.999% uptime guarantee, robust security controls, and have achieved ISO 27001 certification show that they have best-practices for information security management system and controls. With effective risk management, it is possible to improve customer and business partner trust.

The value of integration

Interoperability is a major challenge whereby legacy systems often do not integrate, or upgrades are complex, costly to maintain, and IT resource intensive. Today, businesses are seeking frictionless, cost-effective, and intuitive solutions that have the ability to integrate multiple endpoints and infrastructure with new systems, which can extend the life of existing video conferencing equipment (H323 and SIP). Many organisations will have a mixture of collaboration tools and meeting room systems across their global network. This means that the utopia of moving directly to a single platform can be difficult to achieve, even with the best intentions. Only with the help of a solution that provides a wide range of interoperability would this goal be achieved.

Integrated cloud-based solutions serve to better connect users smoothly in real-time high definition with any third-party standards-based meeting systems and deliver optimal control to allow authorised users access anywhere and from any device.

Cloud-based technology removes much of the complexity from on-premises video conferencing. However, not all cloud services offer the full reliability and security that IT leaders need to safeguard their operations from cyber-attacks and secure users’ data. Those enterprises that adopt video conferencing from vendors that use public cloud providers may believe that security is part of their offering, but insecure application programming interfaces (APIs), weak authentication, and user identity protocols can be susceptible to account hijacks. Even if AWS is supported by a cloud security posture management (CSPM) provider, does it understand and support the assessment of all 160 AWS cloud services capabilities? The risk is that even with a CSPM tool in use, there are security blind spots that you are not aware exist, creating a false sense of security.

In essence, public clouds support multi-tenancy where you rent computing power or storage space from the cloud provider alongside other tenants. The recent “meltdown” and “spectre” vulnerabilities on the Intel platform reminded us of the risks of shared cloud infrastructure.

Intuitive next-generation collaborative solutions powered by intelligent cloud architecture allow users to have high-quality video conferencing meetings at the click of a button. Crucially, decision-makers around the world are choosing reliable integrated video conferencing solutions to future-proof their communications and empower their employees to collaborate efficiently and remain secure.


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