Video Meetings Tips and News

Blog entry by Phil Reed – Technical Director, Comtec Enterprises

With the spread and ongoing threat of Covid-19 forcing everyone to socially distance themselves, the business landscape has changed.  For many home working is now the norm. Video conferencing from your laptop, desktop, tablet or smartphone is the new standard for meetings.

Cisco Webex Teams

Currently, there is an unprecedented increase in remote work happening around the world due to circumstances resulting from COVID-19; as a result, Cisco have expanded their Webex free trial.

Customers new to Webex can now experience hassle-free video conferencing for up to 200 participants free for 90 days and may also qualify for free loan meeting room hardware



New Microsoft Teams Features – 9 people on screen

With Teams video usage exploding across the world because of the COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown, Microsoft has decided to accelerate the rollout of some much-needed features to help remote workers and schools hold better video calls.

Microsoft has responded to calls from Microsoft Teams users who want to see more than just four participants on the screen, and has now promised to support up to nine people simultaneously.  This will be rolled out by the end of April.

Bringing up to nine faces simultaneously moves Microsoft Teams a little closer to video-conferencing rival Zoom, which allows 49 users on screen at once. Cisco WebEx, which is also popular in the enterprise, allows users to see up to 25 participants. Hangouts in G Suite supports up to 25 people on a video call.

Microsoft is also planning to roll out multi-window chat support by the end of the month, too.

Zoom – How to keep secure.

The success and rapid expansion of Zoom over the last few weeks has also highlighted many of its security inadequacies such as the use of substandard aes128 encryption instead of the industry standard aes256.   This has led to some unsavoury incidents such as classroom classes being interrupted with porn images as the low life of the world make their mark.   Here are a few tips to enable Zoom to be used as it was intended:

  • Protect your meetings with passwords

It seem obvious but the simplest way to prevent unwanted attendees and hijacking is to set a password for your meeting. Sign in with your account at the Zoom web portal. Go to “Settings” tab and enable “Require a password when scheduling new meetings”, this will ensure a password will be generated when a meeting is scheduled and all participants require the password to join the meeting.  Also when creating an event only allow signed-in users to participate.

  • Lock down your meeting

Once a session has begun, head over to the “Manage Participants” tab, click “More,” and choose to “lock” your meeting as soon as every expected participant has arrived. This will prevent hackers from joining.   If someone does get into your meeting you can kick them out by hovering over their entry in the “Participants” tab, clicking “more” then “remove”.

  • Turn off participant screen sharing

No-one wants to see pornographic material shared by a Zoom hacker, and so disabling the ability for meeting attendees to share their screens is worthwhile. This option can be accessed from the new “Security” tab in active sessions.  Valid screen sharing can be allowed by the host during the session.

  • Use waiting rooms

The Waiting Room feature is a way to screen participants before they are allowed to enter a meeting. While legitimately useful for purposes including interviews or virtual office hours, this also gives hosts greater control over session security.

  • Avoid file sharing

Be careful with the file-sharing feature of meetings, especially if users that you don’t recognize are sending content across, as it may be malicious. Instead, share material using a trusted service such as Box or Google Drive. At the time of writing, Zoom has disabled this feature anyway due to a “potential security vulnerability.”

  • Always Update

To ensure you have the latest version and fixes.  Click on your profile in the top-right, and select “Check for updates.”

Comtec can provide a number of products and are available to advise on the best solution that fits your business’s situation.  Contact us or call 01737228100.