Is Your Business Information Safe On Skype?

It’s so easy, just set up a username and password and you can save your small business thousands upon thousands of dollars in travel costs for meetings and events, just by using a Voice Over I.P. (VOIP) service like Microsoft’s Skype. And even better yet, it’s free!

And although Skype’s privacy policy states that the company, “is committed to respecting your privacy and the confidentiality of your personal data, traffic data and communications content.” That appears only to be the case until the federal government intervenes and requests information.

Recently it’s been reported that the National Security Administration (NSA) was given access to data and information from calls and videos over Skype. The Government reportedly did this using a process they call “PRISM” which is essentially the NSA’s process of collecting private information from major technology companies like Microsoft, Google and Facebook through the Patriot Act. It’s a process being defended as, “a circumscribed, narrow system directed at us being able to protect our people.” President Obama said in June.

Microsoft defended the release of the information in a statement, saying they give out information, “only in response to government demands and we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers.”

But despite Microsoft’s sensitivity regarding the release of private information, the process of using these video VOIP services raises some new concerns for organizations that are looking to keep their sensitive company data private.

But what should those businesses do now if they need those services to do business?

The easiest solution right now is to turn to another service provider like Vonage, Go2meeting, or RingCredible. These providers are offering services that are protected with what’s known as “end-to-end encryption,”. This is a process that protects the confidentiality and integrity of the information being sent over the internet by encrypting it at the original location and decrypting at the eventual destination. But keep in mind that while these other providers offer a safer alternative for now, they too could also become a target of the NSA and the PRISM process at some point in the future.

 

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Amy Post

Amy is a former news reporter who currently works in marketing for a large technical college. In her spare time she enjoys writing, running and spending time with family and friends.

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