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Young woman looking at camera viewing other members of her team via video conferencing
4 ways to ensure your video conferences are secure

Video conferencing security for small business

Now that the professional world finds itself almost entirely online, it’s as good a time to reemphasize how critical cybersecurity is for small and medium-sized businesses. The rush to digitize workflows and procedures may have led some decision-makers to choose the most straightforward consumer-grade tools for preserving business continuity.

Why are there security and privacy issues?

Yet there may be underlying security and privacy issues with solutions that haven’t been vetted thoroughly. Considering the lightning-quick pace with which businesses had to adapt to stay-at-home orders, it’s possible not every solution was put under the microscope.

Learn about the best video conferencing & online meeting software

Video conferencing software

Video conferencing software may fall under this category. Thousands have turned to free tools to fill the collaboration and communication gap. But at the same time, businesses may be putting their operations, data, and employees at risk if they depend on video conferencing software with security vulnerabilities.

See how video conferencing is simple, seamless, and secure. With the Webex mobile app security is built right in

Top 4 tips for SMBs on securing your privacy on video conferencing platforms

Here are some tips for running secure video chats and picking the right solution to drive productivity in remote workforces — and, more importantly, to ensure security and protect privacy.

1) Control who is invited

Trolls are everywhere, and they may be targeting your business. Persons not affiliated with your company may look to do a little online gate-crashing and disrupt your meeting if they somehow get the URL or meeting invite link. They’ll be an annoying nuisance; at worst, they may spam your call with hateful messages and disruptive, insulting behaviors.

Yet you have the controls to keep the trolls at bay. Ensure that anyone you invite to a meeting is a known employee, client, or verified third party. Advise all these participants not to share the meeting link. Also, make sure to lock your video chat once it begins so that only approved invitees can join.

Locking down video conferences is an issue for internal meetings, but more so for external engagement efforts. If you’re hosting a public webinar and didn’t take these precautions, your proceedings may be derailed. That could lead to several consequences, not the least of which is damage to your business’s reputation.

Need help in Webex? Find our Cisco Webex security and privacy resources in our Help Center.

2) Leverage administrative security options

The example above is a cautionary tale, and it underscores how crucial it is for you to have robust administrative security controls. Yet, such capabilities will be sorely lacking in most consumer-grade tech; and if a tool does have such features, it is likely going to be basic and limited.

Maintaining control of security and privacy measures is essential. Most free-to-use tools are not sophisticated enough to match the needs of your business. Your wish list for security controls should include ways for you to:

  • Permit users to store their email addresses and names securely so they can quickly join in the future.
  • Require authentication for all hosts and attendees wanting to access the site.
  • Enforce various lock controls and meeting participant ejection protocols.
  • Enable hosts to customize meeting access security within predefined parameters.
  • Allow for meetings to be unlisted from public calendars.
  • Control screen sharing and recording functions.
  • Automatically end meetings after a certain time or if only one attended remains.
  • Mandate that attendees have an approved account to join.

Without at least these controls, your business may be woefully underprepared to enforce security and privacy in video conferences, putting your operations and employees at risk.

Learn more about administration security 

3) Review the privacy policy

This tip comes from the Federal Trade Commission, which has published a list of best practices for SMBs* that now rely on video conferencing. Checking the privacy policy is a must, and you really shouldn’t move on using a solution without doing so.

However, arranging contingency plans was a frenzy for many businesses, and reviewing the privacy policies of video conferencing tools may have slipped under the radar. This may cause severe issues if you assume a tool stores your data one way, but it does not meet expectations or security requirements in actuality. As the FTC advises, always check the type of data the conferencing software collects, its policy on using your data, and whether it shares information with any third parties. Read about Cisco’s promise to our customers on security in an open collaboration world.

4) Focus on encryption

Choosing a video conferencing solution with end-to-end encryption is the only real way to ensure security for your business calls and meetings. Not only is encryption an advantage for some businesses, but it’s also mandated for others in specific regulated industries like law, finance, and health care.

Most consumer-grade solutions are lacking in this department, and what encryption they do offer is far from the robust end-to-end protection your business needs.
A tool that offers features like password encryption, SHA-2 hashing, and Network-Based Recordings is your best bet for secure meetings.

In closing

Looking for a video conferencing solution that checks all the security and privacy boxes to ensure your meetings are private and productive? Cisco Webex is a leading choice among SMBs of all sectors. We place security and privacy at the top of our priorities, and with Webex, you don’t need to worry about sacrificing ease of use or user experience for security controls.

Want to learn more about Webex and all its features and the value it can provide your business? Reach out for more information or get started with our free offer today.

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citizens Bsnk
Video conferencing and technology enables cultural change within Citizens Bank
  • 191 years old.
  • 1,100 branches and 2,900 ATMs across 11 states.
  • 24th largest bank in the United States.
  • 400,000 collaboration meetings/year.
  • 75 million minutes of meetings/year.
  • $162.7 billion in total assets.*

In numbers, this is Citizens Bank. But there is much more to their story.

Customer-centric approach

Citizens Bank is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions. Their goal? To help the people they serve reach their full potential. With a customer-centric approach, they bring a wealth of knowledge to banking, insurance, and investment services.

In 2018, Citizens Bank saw a growth opportunity for their company. One that could position them as a technologically progressive bank and allow them to compete with even larger banks in their industry.

This opportunity took the form of a digital transformation project.

New collaboration experience

Eric Johnson, Head of Workplace technology of Citizens Bank, was interviewed about the plan. The objective was to select a new, consolidated and integrated collaboration experience for everyone in the company. They wanted the technology they were using, to work together. And they wanted to enable employees to work from anywhere, on any device. Things that used to be manual, like picking up the phone to have a meeting, would now be streamlined. He explained that to do this [transformation project], “they looked at the market to see who had a world-class reputation.” After evaluating vendors, they chose Cisco and migrated the entire company onto the Cisco Collaboration experience. From mobile devices, to the contact center, to desk phones. It sparked a huge cultural shift.

The meeting experience was important for Citizens Bank. It was essential that all colleagues experienced the same thing, whether sitting at a desk, a conference room, at their house, or in their car. Johnson states, “from a cultural standpoint, we ripped the Band-Aid off.” Meaning that they hit the ground running with the Webex deployment, with readily available video conferencing software and conference rooms set up so people could begin collaborating in this new way– all integrated from end-to-end, with top-notch video and audio quality.

Every meeting at Citizens Bank is now video enabled, which has created a more flexible work style and progressed the cultural shift. In addition, Webex technology has made a huge impact on how and where employees work not only with each other, but also with their clients.

Benefits and beyond

The benefits to this project have been numerous. Teams would often have to wait to make a decision until someone came into the office so they could discuss it. But now they make decisions immediately by having a video call, or sharing a file through Webex Meetings and Webex Teams. In addition, technology adoption scores are exceeding growth predications and have improved by 25% in the past quarter alone. And on top of that, hiring at Citizens Bank is no longer limited to applicants in a certain location. They can now hire the best talent for each new opening.

Going forward, Johnson says that Citizens Bank is looking forward to an even tighter integration of the collaboration experience from the branch to the contact center, and from colleagues to customers. They are looking forward to AI capabilities which will continue to streamline meeting workflows, and enable things like automatic note-taking in meetings, which can all be done in the background.

Citizens Bank is leading the way by technologically changing how they work and how they meet.

Learn more about their story and check out their video here:

*Numbers as of June 30, 2019

Try Cisco Webex video conferencing today. Check out the free offer, here.

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Team collaboration for Small Business
How to pick the best video conferencing software for your small business

Why do you schedule meetings in the first place? Most of the time, you’re probably aiming to review strategy with a specific team, facilitate training for a product/campaign, or connect with new prospects or colleagues in other offices. Too often, though, meetings don’t really deliver and instead only waste a lot of everyone’s time.

These unproductive meetings are especially costly now that teams are increasingly remote and mobile. Much of their time spent together is in collaboration software, instead of in person. That raises the stakes for finding just the right video conferencing solution, one that keeps everyone in sync with as few distractions, technical hiccups, and barriers to participation as possible.

Can video conferencing enable better meetings?

Why do so many meetings underdeliver? Start with a practice that is often regarded as a virtue but can be a real vice during a meeting: multitasking.

According to a Microsoft Workplace Analytics study, the typical manager spends more than a quarter of their weekly meeting time multitasking. Since so many meetings now occur via phone or audio conferencing tools, there are more opportunities than ever to do almost anything other than focus on the call at hand.

When someone sends an email during a meeting or can be heard busily typing while someone else is talking, it’s both a distraction and a signal that it’s OK for all meeting participants to do the same. Everyone’s productivity suffers.

Fortunately, there’s a proven solution: video conferencing software. Video conferencing tools such as Cisco Webex allow meeting rooms to be hosted and joined from anywhere with lifelike quality and fewer distractions. The results speak for themselves: Almost 90% of Webex Meetings users report shorter and more effective meetings.

That’s not to say that other modes of collaboration, including instant messaging and desktop sharing, are insufficient – only that they’re best paired with a video conferencing service that keeps participants engaged.

Plus, video conferencing tools have utility beyond internal meetups. They’re also a great way to differentiate your small- or medium-sized business (SMB) by personalizing your customer service operations, with the same benefits for focus, context, and clarity that video brings to your own meetings.

5 features to prioritize to find the best video conferencing software

When shopping for the best video conferencing software for your SMB, focus on the breadth and depth of features it offers, how they fit together, and what they can do to engage mobile and remote workers, not to mention their overall usability.

Let’s go into more detail on where a standout solution will distinguish itself:

1. Video and audio quality

Video conferencing should provide quality far beyond that of a regular phone call, but many potential issues can still mess it up. Background noise, choppy video, and various hardware-software complications are all common stumbling blocks.

You’ve probably been in a meeting or two where some participants joined in an on-site conference rooms and others connected remotely via their laptops or dialed in from their phones while in transit. The quality of these different connections and the ensuing interactions are often highly inconsistent.

To address this problem, Webex is built to deliver unparalleled video quality from anywhere. Customizing the meeting layout is easy and you can join from a wide variety of desktop and mobile devices, plus any standards-based video conferencing system.

2.  Ease of joining and participating

The common experience of an in-person meeting that takes too long to start has, unfortunately, made a seamless transition to the video conferencing world. Thanks to features such as complicated PINs, as well as the rigamarole of needing to download dedicated apps, plugins, and more, it’s not unusual for 10+ minutes to be wasted right away.

Simply joining from the device of your choice shouldn’t be the most difficult part of the meeting – and it doesn’t have to be. The best conferencing software—like Webex—puts you in the driver’s seat with options like:

  • Joining from any web browser, with no download or configuration required.
  • Having the meeting join you, with a convenient Call Me feature.
  • Scheduling, starting, and joining from your toolbar with Productivity Tools.

3. Remote technical support

If your SMB maintains several remote offices or provides online customer service, video conferencing paired with features such as Voice over IP (aka VoIP) calling provides a powerful alternative to costly on-site visits and protracted back-and-forths over email.

Video in particular offers unique opportunities for personalized and hands-on support. A representative could walk someone through a fix with the help of visual aids after getting a live look at the issue in question. Other in-session features such as desktop sharing and application access make it easier to get to the heart of the problem without any expensive travel.

Keeping internal users happy helps with morale and engagement, especially if they’re remote and perhaps concerned about receiving adequate assistance from IT.

Meanwhile, the rich real-time customer support possible through Webex leads to more of them coming back. A study published in Harvard Business Review found that customers with the best experiences spent 140% more than ones with the least satisfying interactions.

4. Use case flexibility

Video conferencing is a versatile medium. It can work equally well as a way for a small group to trade ideas and as a forum for literally thousands of meeting participants to listen to a keynote broadcast – as long as the right technology is in place, at least.

You shouldn’t have to second-guess your video conferencing platform (for example, “Will it send a correct invite to everyone’s calendar?”) when you go to schedule a meeting. To make your life easier, the best video conferencing software seamlessly integrates with the most commonly used productivity and collaboration tools. Combined with the platform’s reliable infrastructure, this broad compatibility lets you hold meetings on your terms.

Whether you’re hosting a big conference for 10,000 invitees or huddling up with a remote team, a platform like Webex lets you get everyone together as painlessly as possible. Integrations with all major calendar software in addition to tools like Salesforce make the journey even smoother.

5. Cost-effective collaboration

By itself, a high-quality video conference is a reliable way to ensure more focused meetings. When you add in additional collaboration features such as screen sharing, call recording, and social media sharing, you provide even more of the context and interactivity that make video so useful for today’s teams.

As a small business person, being able to conduct a quick presentation within video chat lets you hold productive, cost-effective meetings from virtually anywhere.  No need to herd cats (and invest a lot of your time/money) just to get everyone in one physical location – it’s all in crystal-clear detail on the screen.

Plus, features like call recording preserve and extend the value of the meeting. If someone missed out and needs to catch up, they can easily refer back to the Webex recording.

Ready to chart a new course with your video conferencing software?

Video conferencing can yield powerful strategic advantages to your SMB, and getting started is easy. With just your email address, you can try out Cisco Webex for free today with a 30-day trial. Visit this page for more details!

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