Video conferencing involves transferring highly sensitive data across networks. Anyone who wants to share their information must be able to do so whilst under the impression everything they show and send is kept safe. Hackers regularly target corporate networks with the intention of stealing company secrets and initiating a campaign of blackmail. All video conferencing security systems were not born equal. Whilst there are hundreds of different options, there are only two types. You have software and hardware. Let’s take a look at the right option for you. What is Hardware Security? We know software-based security involves installing a security system like Norton or McAfee and hoping for the best. Hardware systems protect entire departments. They shut off companies from the outside world and confine everything to an internal network. Most Fortune 500 companies have customised hardware security. The key to hardware is it’s customised. An installer will setup your security system in your office. Hardware defends your company against the precise threats targeting your video conferencing links. Complete Control Software solutions don’t give you the complete control needed to protect your company. You’re relying on a shared database of threats provided by the software provider. You have to wait for them to update your firewall. If they’re slow, or they don’t have a reputation for quality, you could find yourself periodically exposed to the latest threats. Hardware-based solutions give you the option to configure your settings as you see fit. This means an IT manager can give you tailor-made settings for your video conferencing activities. The problem with software solutions is you only have a limited number of options on a basic dashboard. This is perfectly fine for the individual user or for the small business with a standard broadband connection, but for anything bigger it isn’t suitable. The bigger your network the more access points a hacker could potentially exploit. What about Cost? Cost is always a major consideration for any company. Hardware security solutions will always cost more than software. This is obvious because hardware involves you having to pay for the equipment itself, as well as the benefit of having it upgraded. Software isn’t a physical entity. It’s a disc and an online community. This is why you’ll always pay less. The cost factor shouldn’t be a major consideration for you. Most of the costs associated with hardware security are to do with installation. You could lose far more capital by not having an effective security solution in place. In many cases, the top clients won’t begin a video conference with a company which can’t prove it has a top security solution in place. This is even more important if you’re collaborating with programs like Word and Excel. Any information falling into the wrong hands could leave your business with a toxic reputation. Clients won’t want to work with you if you can’t keep them safe. You have a duty of care to your clients and cost shouldn’t come into it. Maintenance Options Hardware does require more testing to make sure it’s still working. With complete control comes a great level of responsibility. Software allows you to rely on a third-party to keep your software updated against the latest threats. Whenever you use hardware, the responsibility will fall to your business. You’ll have to test it to make sure it’s still providing full protection. Generally, you will need an IT manager to change the settings. This is one of the few downsides of hardware. If you take your security seriously, however, this shouldn’t be a problem. Proven Results The bottom line is hardware offers results software can’t. Software can only protect against basic viruses and hack attempts. It can’t defend against everything. The principal analyst from Moor Insight and Strategy, Mr Patrick Moorhead said one of the main drawbacks of software is it can’t safeguard against virtual rootkits. Hardware adds a physical layer to prevent the virtualisation layer from being penetrated. A computer engineer called Christopher Tarnovsky also performed a test. He had to penetrate a TPM module. One TPM module was defended with software and another with hardware. The results were Tarnovsky eventually managed to break through the hardware, but it took him far longer. Although the above examples don’t always apply to video conferencing, the fact is if anyone takes control of an aspect of your network they can gain access to your direct video links. They can listen in and extract the information you thought was safe. Version Still Matters We’ve concluded hardware-based security is superior for business purposes. Whatever you do, make sure you investigate what hardware you’re using first. Even hardware won’t protect you against the latest threats if you’re using hardware from a poor quality provider. Quality is everything. Stick with the bigger brand names and make sure they have a reputation for quality amongst customers.