Companies today face a constantly evolving cyber threat landscape. It has put security at the top of most corporate agendas, as a breach or attack can result in significant disruption or even devastation. As more corporate conversations and decisions take place on video, this mode of communication must also be safeguarded.
To boost the security of their video meetings, organizations may opt to self-host their video conferencing platform, which gives them greater control over their conversations and important data.
At Pexip, we’ve been securing video conferences for more than a decade, and we see self-hosting as a key part of the security equation for companies everywhere.
What is hosting in the video conferencing world?
When you host a video conference, there are certain backend responsibilities that are critical to the meeting. This involves the technical infrastructure for the video conferencing platform and the functionalities inside the meetings. These tasks are typically handled by a service provider or platform administrator, and they involve managing the servers, security measures, data storage, integration with other platforms, and more.
What is a self-hosted video conference?
Self-hosting a video conference platform is a specific way to host the software. It means that the organization sets up and manages their own video conference infrastructure on their own servers or cloud resources – rather than relying on third party support. This gives the organization full control over the technical aspects, configuration, as well as the data privacy and security of the video conferences they host.
What are the different ways to self-host a video conference?
There are many ways to self-host video conferences securely. You can self-host a video conference on cloud infrastructure, offered by various service providers, giving organizations the scalability and flexibility they need.
You can also opt to host the video conference solution on-premises, which means that the platform is hosted on the organization’s on-premises equipment, which offers complete control over all data.
Another option is to take the hybrid approach, which combines self-hosted solutions and third-party services. This enables the organization to use different hosting options depending on the nature of the meeting.
How to host secure video conferences in the cloud
The first step is to choose your cloud provider. Providers of cloud services include Microsoft Azure, Amazone Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and private or government cloud platforms. Next, you need to ensure that your video conferencing software has self-hosting capabilities in the cloud. This will ensure that you benefit from the scalability and flexibility of cloud hosting, while ensuring the full ownership and control of all data generated.
Pexip Infinity is a video conferencing solution that can be self-hosted and self-managed in the cloud and it supports automatic bursting to the cloud of choice. Pexip also offers a tailored private cloud option for larger companies that have requirements related to compliance and privacy. This gives you the ease and scalability of a shared cloud service with the control of a self-hosted video platform.
How to host secure video conferences on-premises
Self-hosting your video conferencing solution on-premises is a good option for organizations with strict privacy and security requirements. This often includes government, healthcare and other organizations that require control over their data – particularly when it comes to personal information.
Self-hosting on-premises also meets data sovereignty requirements, as it allows organizations to keep the data within a certain jurisdiction. It also helps to minimize external risk exposure, as the video conferencing system remains behind the organization’s own firewalls and security measures.
Video conferencing in air-gapped environments
Pexip’s self-hosted on-premises solution works for secure and air-gapped environments, which means that video conferencing is possible under even 100% disconnected circumstances to ensure the ultimate level of security. This is a need that can stem from defense organizations, for example.
How to take a hybrid approach to hosting secure video conferences
A hybrid deployment means part of the solution is hosted in the cloud and the other part on-premises. There could be good reasons to take this approach:
Scalability: Organizations can scale up by using the cloud when there's a sudden surge in demand. So, while the on-premises setup can handle the regular load, the cloud can accommodate extra users or peak loads.
Cost-Efficiency: On-premises solutions require upfront investments in hardware and infrastructure, while cloud solutions have ongoing costs. A hybrid setting can balance these out. You can keep regular meetings on-prem and burst into the cloud when needed, optimizing costs.
Redundancy & Reliability: In case of outages in the on-premises setup, the cloud can act as a backup, ensuring continuity. Similarly, if there are issues with cloud services, the on-premises setup can provide a fallback.
Data Security & Compliance: Some data or discussions might be too sensitive to be trusted to third-party cloud providers, especially if there are stringent regulatory compliances to meet. In such cases, critical meetings can be held on-premises, while more general ones can use the cloud.
Transition and Migration: For organizations transitioning from a traditional on-premises setup to the cloud, a hybrid approach can offer a gradual path, allowing them to move at their own pace and ensuring that there are no disruptions.
Self-hosting video conferences to ensure compliance
Data privacy and security are only growing in importance in this digital age, and as a result, regions such as Europe and the U.S. are moving towards a stronger regulator environment on these topics. This means that global organizations face an ever-evolving regulation landscape they must navigate, especially when it comes to deploying the communications and collaboration solutions on which they depend.
By self-hosting your video conferencing, the organization has greater control of where their data is stored and how it is protected. Protecting personal data is at the heart of the increasing number of data sovereignty laws and regulations around the world. To ensure continual compliance, organizations should choose a communications platform that ensures that their data remains in their own hands.
Self-hosting video conferences to ensure security and business continuity
Organizations today are increasingly focused on security and business continuity to minimize their risk of cyber-attack and to be able to continue operations when and if it occurs. According to Aberdeen Group, IT downtime and the subsequent loss of productivity can cost companies as much as $1.55 million annually.
Self-hosting is one way to help mitigate the ever-evolving cyber risks organizations face. While many video platforms (that are not self-hosted) are suitable for everyday calls, like friends calling friends, self-hosting is a more secure option for organizations that are exchanging sensitive information over video. Doing this requires using a platform that ensures the right protections for your confidential meeting.
At Pexip, we see three key factors in ensuring more secure meetings: The first is about where the meeting data is stored. When it’s self-hosted, the organization has the power to restrict the movement of that data and maintain control over it.
Another factor when it comes to securing your meetings is to ensure that the call detail record is protected. This is the data surrounding your meetings, which often includes names and location, which can reveal quite a bit to a threat actor. The third factor is reducing the risk of uninvited guests entering the meeting, which require advanced authentication features to restrict access.
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