Controlling Skype for Business Interactions

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Skype is a global communications powerhouse owned by Microsoft. Here are some mind blowing statistics:

  • There are at least 300 million Skype users globally
  • It is estimated that 1.4 trillion minutes of voice and video calls are made on Skype annually
  • On an average day, there are 49 million active Skype users
  • In 2013, Skype accounted for 40% of the total voice telecom traffic globally

With the launch of Microsoft Skype for Business enterprises of all sizes can connect to this global base; a very powerful, yet dangerous feature. The good news is that people in your business can instantly be connected to anyone in the world with a simple click of a button. The bad news is people in your business can instantly be connected to anyone in the world with a simple click of a button! With the ability to conduct voice and video calls as well as execute file transfers, this can be a nightmare for any business that needs to protect the privacy of information.

It makes sense, for example, to allow certain groups of people to use these features while restricting it from others. You may want to put a button on your web site that lets customers contact you via Skype. You do not, however, want to allow credit card numbers to be transferred over Skype. In a hospital setting, you may be very concerned about the transfer of HIPAA regulated Protected Health Information via Skype and you may want to allow a compliance officer to chaperone those sessions.

That is where granular control comes in. With the right application and processes in place, you can control exactly who can communicate with whom. You can decide who can use IM, who can use voice, who can use video, and who can transfer files. You can even look for and block common patterns within instant messages. For example, if you see NNN-NN-NNNN you may block it since it is most likely a Social Security number.

While all this may sound draconian, regulated industries have to worry. In healthcare, HIPAA violations can be assessed up to $50,000 per individual violation with maximum total of $1.5 million. For FINRA regulated brokers and dealers, enforcement and disciplinary procedures can result in fines of millions of dollars. Finally, in virtually every industry, there is a need to protect trade secrets and confidential information.

With all this exposure, it is critical that control be an essential part of your collaboration strategy. How are you controlling your Skype for Business implementation? 

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Mitchell Weiss joined ISI in 1994. He holds a Bachelor's Degree Management Information Systems from the University of Illinois and a Masters in Business Administration from the Stuart School of Business in Chicago.  He is an industry leader in all phases of managing Unified Communications.  At ISI, Mr. Weiss is responsible for the vision, strategy, and implementation of a suite of Unified Communications products including Voice and Video Recording, SIP Trunk Management, and Traffic Management.  Mr. Weiss also brings his knowledge of Cloud Computing to ISI, allowing the company to create new cloud based models for its software and services.

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