Security Concerns with Video Conferencing

By Sheila Shanker
Updated: April 08, 2011

Many firms have been taking advantage of technology to conduct videoconferencing using Internet protocols (IP) these days. They can communicate in real-time with offices and clients in remote locations, saving a lot in travel expenses. However, there are certain security risks associated with videoconferencing that must be addressed.

In order to work properly, a video conferencing program must interact with other systems within your network, which can introduce security risks. Using encryption between the video setup and the rest of your network helps in minimizing any possible problem. Any browser interfaces should use SSL security.

Password-protect your meetings and give access to only those with appropriate login information. You could set up a list of participants to the meeting, and only those individuals have access to join in. The same level of care should be taken as to who can record meetings.

Using a hosted video conferencing, which uses a third party for communications, is riskier than on-premise system. Why? Because it exposes the firm to individuals who are not part of the business. This means that you must inquire about security with your hosting firm to assure that your privacy is protected.

Security threats involve the possibility of someone hacking the video conference with “denial of service” attacks, viruses, and other issues involving buffer overflow and other matters. You could consider a “session border controller” instead of your regular firewall because the controller is designed for media flows and can be used as a filter and manager between the enterprise network and the outside world.

Below is a summary of threat types and ways to control them:

  • Threats against the end-points and serves can be controlled with a public key infrastructure, also known as a PKI.
  • Threats against the control channel can be managed with the SIP/TLS encryption of signaling.
  • Threats regarding spying or modification are handled by SRTP media encryption.
  • Threats involving the SIP trunking, which is used to connect the Internet to the internal PBX, can be handled by requiring mutual authentication of all the devices in the trunk. It’s suggested to end the SIP trunks on a SIP proxy, such as a Sub-band coding (SBC).

Video conferencing is a great tool to conduct meetings, while saving a ton in travel costs. However, concerns about security with video conferences are legitimate and should be taken seriously. As technology progresses, so do security risks. Encryption and password-protection should be your first line of defense to be employed whenever possible. Be careful, but don't let your security concerns prevent you from taking part of this exciting Internet functionality.

Featured Research
  • The Hidden Costs of Video Conferencing

    When deciding which Video Conferencing system is best for your business, you need to consider the potential risks and costs. This paper covers the importance of proper security measures, the impact of video on communication, the costs involved to set up infrastructure, and much more! more

  • Video Conferencing Comparison Chart

    Whether you're looking at room-based or desktop solutions, quickly see differences between the leading brands in video conference systems like Polycom, LifeSize, Citrix and more, head to head. more

  • The Advent of BYOD in Video Conferencing

    Are you looking for ways to cut costs, improve productivity and increase employee satisfaction within your business? BYOD (bring your own device) is making video conferencing more powerful and profitable than ever before. More... more

  • Intro to the Basics of Video Conferencing

    With demand for video conferencing growing rapidly, solutions need to provide a robust, resilient, scalable, and manageable infrastructure that delivers unparalleled quality of experience. This Polycom white paper examines the basics of video conferencing and dive into technology and deployment considerations. Read more... more

  • How to Overcome Remote Collaboration Challenges

    Read this survey report sharing insights from more than 5,000 business professionals from all job levels, functions and industries: learn about their collaboration challenges and the strategies they deployed to overcome them. more