Company’s technology to cover all communications, as well as meeting room devices
Videoconferencing vendor Lifesize is putting end-to-end encryption on all group and point-to-point cloud communications and cloud-connected meeting room devices, an important step as demand for remote collaboration technology continues to grow.
The Lowdown: All paid and free subscription users will see complete encryption and authentication when Lifesize deploys the technology on a rolling basis in the third quarter.
The Details: Lifesize customers around the world will be able to encrypt any video and audio streams using the company’s desktop, mobile, or web applications or Lifesize’s 4K meeting room systems. The encryption, announced this week, will be enabled with a key that’s securely shared among the participants of a meeting.
Media from each participant will be encrypted and then stay encrypted while in transit and on Lifesize’s servers. Decryption will happen on clients that have the key. In addition, customers will have the option of managing their own encryption keys.
There will be some limitations. When the encryption is applied, meeting recordings, participants on public switched telephone networks (PSTNs), and third-party conference room devices will automatically be disabled.
In a blog post, Lifesize CTO Bobby Beckmann said other security mechanisms are on the horizon, including more traditional Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) solutions, determining the right way to join a meeting, and figuring out how the host can determine who gets the encryption key. Company engineers also are looking at in-meeting key rotation.
The Impact: Demand for videoconferencing and other remote collaboration technologies has soared in recent months as the global COVID-19 pandemic has spread and many employees are now working from home. It also has put a focus on security and privacy, as seen with the high-profile case of Zoom, which found itself the target of criticism even as user demand skyrocketed as workers relied on the technology to help get work done and consumers used it to connect with friends and family during a time of social distancing.
Many of the key players in the cloud-based collaboration space – including Microsoft and Cisco – have seen demand jump. Microsoft Teams has as many as 75 million active users a day, and Zoom has reported daily participant numbers as high as 300 million. The interest in videoconferencing also has drawn other tech players into the mix, including Google, Facebook, RingCentral, and Verizon through its acquisition of BlueJeans Network.
The Buzz: “At this critical juncture for video communication, simply acquiring security IP and retroactively force-fitting it into a massively installed application makes good headlines but is highly problematic,” Lifesize’s Beckmann said. “The security of all our customers’ data and sensitive communications, whether they are using our paid or free service, has always been a core tenet of Lifesize’s product design and engineering culture. Delivering end-to-end encryption to our customers worldwide reinforces our commitment to addressing security challenges head-on and continuing to innovate while prioritizing security and privacy right alongside usability and global scale.”