We’re all aware of being monitored in our everyday lives, whether for security reasons or for consumer purposes. Another area where it may happen is in the workplace. As an employer, you may be wondering if you should do it and how. The easiest area in which to monitor the goings-on of the office is in workplace communication tools. One of the most popular VoIP and communication technologies is Skype. Here, we’ll discuss some of the capabilities of the app and how it can be utilized by employers.
First off, there are several versions of Skype available for use by businesses:
- Skype is a free communication and VoIP tool for consumers; it can be used by businesses of up to 25 people.
- Skype for Business is available in two versions: Skype for Business Online, which is a cloud-based version and is part of the Microsoft Office 365 Suite, and Skype for Business Server, which is the on-premise version and is meant for large enterprise organizations, utilizing a company’s servers.
Is Skype secure?
Of course, as an employer, you’ll want to ensure that all of your data – whether between employees and customers/clients or within the workplace – is secure. Both Skype and Skype for Business offer security, but of varying standards and features.
Skype is encrypted for any conversations that take place between Skype users, including instant messages, calls, and file transfers. Calls that occur between a Skype user and landline or mobile phone network is only encrypted on the Skype portion of the conversation.
Skype for Business offers more robust security standards. These standards include encryption at-rest and in-transit, threat management, and security monitoring – among others – from Skype for Business Online. Skype for Business Server offers possibly the highest level of security, including server-related security options, server-to-server authentication, and role-based access control.
Can Skype usage be monitored?
Both Skype and Skype for Business offer monitoring in varying degrees. Skype utilizes Skype Manager, which allows a company to monitor usage for things like time, date, duration, and destination of calls and conversations. However, permission is required from members first to access this data.
Skype for Business and Skype for Business Online provide more information on users’ activity, including peer-to-peer activity, conference participant activity, and reports for ‘clients used’ and ‘blocked users.’ Skype for Business Server offers the highest level of detail in monitoring.
Where are Skype conversations stored?
In Skype, conversations are stored on the user’s hard drive for a set time period. Skype also saves the last 30 days of a conversation history in the cloud, so it can be accessed from any device.
Skype for Business Online stores conversations in a Microsoft Exchange folder. The drawback to this is that employees can disable the conversation history from being saved to Outlook, which means that nothing is saved at all. To store conversation history outside of the Exchange folder, Skype for Business Server must be used. The conversations are then stored on the business server, making it easier to manage.
The verdict on monitoring Skype conversations
It’s clear that Skype conversations can be monitored, but it’s largely dependent on both your company’s policies and the privacy laws in your state whether or not you do so. Skype for Business clearly offers the most in monitoring capabilities, but ultimately, as the employer, it will be up to you which app you choose to utilize in the workplace and how much – if any – monitoring you will be doing.