The teleconferencing market has exploded in the past few months, with companies across the world forced to adapt their businesses to support remote work. Some of these platforms are handling this in stride, while others – like Zoom – are struggling a bit. With 2020 being the unofficial year of remote working, we figured it’d be the perfect time to list out a few of our favorite teleconferencing options for small businesses.
Best All Around: Microsoft Teams
If we had to pick an all around winner, it’d be Microsoft Teams. This is one of our favorite all-in-one teleconferencing solutions, and it’s also one that many already have – even if we don’t realize it. Microsoft Teams comes with an Office 365 subscription, so companies familiar with the Microsoft suite will feel right at home.
- Integration with Office 365, Skype, OneDrive, SharePoint, and other platforms.
- Seamless collaboration across devices and communication channels.
- Advanced security controls for lost data, user access, information barriers, and more.
We’d absolutely recommend Microsoft Teams to small businesses, but with one caveat. In our experience, Teams is better for internal collaboration rather than teleconferences with other companies. If the company doesn’t use the Microsoft Suite, they may have an easier time getting set up with another option.
Most Flexible – And Troubled: Zoom
Ahh, Zoom. This is one platform that deserves a little extra attention.
Just weeks ago, Zoom was the darling of the work-from-home world, with companies of all kinds leveraging its great suite of features to enable remote work. In fact, we used to highly recommend Zoom as a teleconferencing option due to its flexibility and ease of use.
However, as many of us know by now, Zoom has recently become embroiled in a slew of security and privacy issuesthat should give businesses pause:
- Failure to provide end-to-end call encryption, as promised in marketing materials
- Security vulnerabilities in calls that let strangers “Zoombomb” professional meetings with disturbing content
- Bugs that may let hackers access microphones/webcams
- Poor data handling practices, including exposing user emails, data mining, and leaving call records viewable on the web
As a result, the company is currently involved in four different class action lawsuits filed by various individuals, alongside calls for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the company’s practices.
Naturally, zoom CEO Eric Yuan is a target for much of this scrutiny, but the Zoom boss affirmed a renewed commitment to user privacy in a recent interview with NPR:
“When it comes to a conflict between usability and privacy and security, privacy and security [are] more important – even at the cost of multiple clicks,” he said, later agreeing that “we’re going to transform our business to a privacy-and-security-first mentality.”
So, with all that in mind, can we comfortably recommend Zoom as a teleconferencing option?
Not exactly. We love its flexibility and ability to work across different business environments – but until these privacy and security issues get sorted out, businesses should look to more secure options.
Easiest to Use: Citrix GoToMeeting
Another great option is the GoToMeeting platform offered by Citrix. The biggest advantage of this platform is its simplicity. Without question, it’s one of the easiest platforms to get familiar with and deploy for teleconferencing, making it a nice and easy option for smaller companies.
- User-friendly controls for conference access across devices
- PIN-based security for controlling who can access which meetings
- Integrations with Microsoft Office 365, Slack, Podio, and more.
Another nice feature about GoToMeeting is its flexible pricing plans. From the free trial to enterprise-grade plans, there are five different subscriptions to choose from – making it easy for businesses of all sizes to find a plan that works within their budgets.
Best Enterprise Platform: Webex
Webex deserves a mention as well, given that it’s effectively the gold standard for enterprise-level teleconferencing. Webex offers a robust set of features, control options, file transferring tools, and protections for business users, all packaged in a reliable platform:
- Chat, collaboration, and brainstorming features across on-premise and cloud
- Webinars and webcasting for large-scale events
- Exceptional multimedia content sharing tools
It’s a strong choice, but would we recommend it to businesses? Not typically. At least, not small businesses. Webex is suited to larger organizations with more complicated teleconferencing needs, and its price point reflects that. For smaller companies, the cost is simply too high, given that there are other options on the market that enable many of the same workflows in a small business setting.
Stable and Reliable Teleconferencing Is Key
All of the above platforms have their benefits, and even though these are our favorites, they may not be suitable for every company. If you have unique teleconferencing requirements that aren’t addressed with the above platforms, it doesn’t mean you can’t get your teleconferencing goals met – only that it’ll take a little more planning. If this is the case, we’d suggest scheduling a consultation with us or with your existing IT Managed Services Provider for more specific advice.