When it came to business meetings, people once met exclusively in person or by telephone. Over the last decade, there began a shift to virtual meetings as it was cheaper than business travel. In 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, nearly all meetings went online. Business leaders were quickly tasked with selecting a video conferencing platform without giving much thought to the benefits and drawbacks of each.
While there are many options for businesses today, the two prime contenders in the virtual conferencing space are Zoom and Webex. ORAM Cybersecurity Advisors examines several factors for both video conferencing solutions from call recording and meeting transcription to mobile apps and security in order to make its recommendation for your team meetings.
High-Quality Video Conferencing
Zoom and Webex by Cisco are both high-quality video conferencing platforms offering many features for use by individuals and businesses alike. They provide easy meeting scheduling and include key features such as desktop and file sharing, live group and private chat options, and the ability to assign user permissions and roles.
Video conferencing solutions need to be easy to use for workers with a variety of technical skill levels when it comes to technology. Zoom and Webex are both incredibly user-friendly for even the most technology-challenged individuals.
Cost, Capacity, & Duration
The best part of these platforms is that Zoom and Webex both offer free and paid plans. Free versions are a great option for small to medium enterprise businesses with smaller budgets and workforces. The paid plans on both platforms are comparable for what they have to offer though Webex is more flexible with customizable options.
Zoom has three paid plans ranging from $14.99 to $19.99 per month per license. The Zoom Pro plan starts with meetings of up to 30 hours and 100 participants. The Zoom Business plan allows meetings for up to 30 hours and up to 300 participants. The Zoom Enterprise plan also extends to 30 hours but includes a maximum of 500 participants. Zoom’s paid plans allow you to expand participant capacity for up to 1,000 people starting at $50 a month with its Large Meetings option.
Webex offers four paid plans ranging from $15 to $25 per month per license. The Meet Plan has premium, high-definition online video-based meetings and can host 200 people for up to 24 hours. Webex Call offers a unique cloud-based phone number for each license with premium calling features for up to 50 minutes and 100 participants. Webex Meet + Call offers online video meetings and telephony services for the electronic transmission of voice, fax, or data between parties. This plan features up to 200 participants for up to 24 hours. There is also a customizable Webex Enterprise plan for businesses seeking specific features for custom meeting durations and participant capacities.
The duration of free and paid meetings does vary slightly on both video conferencing platforms. For Zoom, free plan meetings can last up to 40 minutes. Webex offers free meetings that can last up 50 minutes.
Both Zoom and Webex offer unlimited group and one-on-one meetings, multiple breakout rooms, and private and group chats. Audience polling is available on both as well, but only Webex provides this feature on the free plan.
Other important features include whiteboarding to share ideas, application sharing, and screen sharing. Both platforms allow this on their free plans. Team leaders can also live stream meetings and trainings on Facebook with paid plans on both platforms but Zoom also allows live streaming to YouTube and third-party platforms as well.
Cloud storage for recorded meetings is available at 10 gigabytes per month on Webex’s paid plan. Users only get one gigabyte per month on Zoom’s lower-tiered paid plan and, depending on what plan you have, can go to unlimited storage.
Background manipulation is also available on both platforms as well as a telephone-only dial-in option for employees or clients that aren’t able to get to a computer. One feature Zoom has that Webex doesn’t offer is touch-up filters for lighting and appearance.
Software and App Integrations
As for integrations, Zoom offers more than 1,000 such as Zapier, PayPal, and Salesforce. Webex offers fewer integrations (more than 100) including Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, Microsoft Office Suite 365, iOS, Samsung Smart Signage, and Workplace from Facebook.
Security features are incredibly important for online meetings. This is especially true given the number of online events jumped by 1,000 percent since the pandemic hit, according to Forbes.
When the pandemic started and employees were suddenly sent home to work remotely, Zoom was not prepared to handle the surge. Zoom users experienced serious, widely-publicized security problems as meetings were disrupted throughout 2020. The platform has since shored up security gaps and hacks on the platform are much rarer today than they were two years ago.
Now, both Zoom and Webex offer private meeting space for your business needs. The platforms both provide user and participant authentication. This means users enter a waiting room so the host can admit participants one-by-one after their identity and permission to enter have been verified. This is important so you know who you’re letting into meetings and that a hacker can’t just jump in.
There are also controls for participant roles and permissions. This means the meeting leader can determine who speaks at what time to better control the flow of information and the length of the meeting. Hosts and meeting administrators also have the ability to add or revoke participant access at any time in the event someone becomes unruly or a stranger manages to make their way into a meeting.
Zoom offers TLX encryption to launch meetings, which encrypts communications between the client and server, primarily web browsers and websites or applications. It also added AES-256 encryption for real-time content and password-protected meetings. This type of encryption supports the largest bit size and is the strongest encryption standard making it practically unbreakable by brute force attacks.
Webex has a great reputation for security when it comes to video conferencing. The platform offers a zero-trust security system with end-to-end encryption so data is protected while in transit and in storage using the Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol (SRTP). You can also manage who has access to or who can view data. Webex features locked personal room meetings along with password-enforced meeting connections. Users can customize their security with idle time-outs, forced PIN locks, and remote wipes of Webex content. You can even choose the region where your data resides in the cloud and encrypted cloud recordings protect meeting records. Finally, all translation, transcription, and real-time captures stay in-house. And, like Zoom, Webex uses AES-256 encryption standards, making both platforms HIPAA compliant for the Healthcare industry.
ORAM’s Video Conferencing Recommendation
When it boils down to it, the IT and cybersecurity experts at ORAM recommend Webex by Cisco over Zoom. This is because Webex has many of the same features as Zoom but offers more customizable plan options with equivalent security. You also get a little more on the free plan with Webex in terms of time and features. Furthermore, Webex doesn’t have a history of security flaws seen in Zoom during the first year of the pandemic.
Regardless of which product you decide to use, you simply have to install the software on your computer or mobile device. Be sure to do so from a trusted source such as the company website or from the Google Play Store.
For more information about virtual conferencing platforms, information technology, or cybersecurity for your business, visit ORAM Cybersecurity Advisors online or call (617) 933-5060 today!