In what appears to be a never-ending cycle of lockdowns and social distancing, it's video calls that bring us together for business, meetups, online dates, and the usual catch-ups.
However, not all video conferencing tools are safe. Most free meeting applications do not use end-to-end encryption, making it easy for cybercriminals to listen in on your personal conversations.
If you're browsing for safe and free video meeting platforms, here are our top ten picks that are also simple to use.
Cisco Webex is often utilised by large organizations due to its excellent security features, which raises the bar for any confidential meetings you may have. They provide Zero-Trust Security by establishing a foundation of standards-based, formally-confirmed cryptography, complementing end-to-end encryption with end-to-end verified identification, and extending support to current Webex devices and the Webex App.
Price: FREE | $18.95 and $37.95 per month
Google Meet is one of the most simple and popular video conferencing programs available - and what other organisations like to utilise because of gmail and other in-app work tools such as Google Docs, Drive, Hangouts, and so on.
This video meeting app was created specifically for corporate meetings that can accommodate a large number of users at the same time. It delivers a web-app experience, which means there's no software to download in order to use it. It also includes a dedicated dial-in number, which ensures that line quality is maintained and that calls don't drop out.
Dialpad is a versatile video conferencing program that, even on the free plan, can be integrated with tools such as Hubspot, Salesforce, Zendesk, and Slack. It provides HD-quality video, screen sharing, chat, and phone calls.
It's a member of the Cloud Security Alliance and SOC2 Type II compliant, and it uses fully encrypted WebRTC technology. It contains a PIN for each conference call as well as a meeting lock option to prevent uninvited users from joining your current meeting.
Price: FREE | $15 per month
ClickMeeting is more focused on webinars - for business and college programs. It can be linked to a whiteboard app such as Dialpad for an interactive session. It complies with GDPR and includes virus and malware file-sharing scanning. On a free trial plan, it can accommodate up to 25 people, as well as 30 minutes of video storage and screen sharing.
Price: $25 to $40 per month with custom packages
Signal was described as one of the best alternative messaging and video chatting apps if you wanted to avoid Messenger after concerns of it being unsafe and compromised (generally a less competitive messaging app to date). It offers end-to-end encryption for calls and account information, as well as an optional registration lock pin where you agree on a shared password with your service provider to verify that you're actually you when you enter into your account again. Signal, however, limits video conferencing to five people. It's great for phoning pals and holding small-group meetings for work.
Lifesize has three pricing tiers, one of which is free - Lifesize Go - a free browser-based version of the service that allows users to host an unlimited number of video calls (with screen sharing) with up to 8 participants. Lifesize Standard is designed for small teams, personal meeting support, and lone chat and support. Lifesize Plus is a premium service for small and medium-sized businesses, with additional features such as Microsoft connectivity, real-time meeting insights, and phone and email support. They operate on WebRTC technology, ensuring that all calls are encrypted.
Price: FREE | Paid tiers
LogMeIn's GoToMeetings is an easy-to-use video conferencing platform. They offer high-quality video, meeting recording and transcription, screen sharing, and webinar and conference call hosting. They have two price tiers: one for business use and one for professional use. Participants are limited to 150 in their professional plan, while 250 in their business payment tier.
GoToMeetings employs encryption technologies and protocols to secure the authenticity and integrity of data sent between LogMeIn and users. They also provide an additional layer of encryption for screen sharing data, keyboard/mouse data, and text chat information, in addition to the TLS protocol's.
Price: $12 and $16 per month
RingCentral Video includes video call scheduling and recording, screen sharing and transcription, and built-in chat capabilities. One of its most useful features is its connectivity with Slack, Microsoft 365, and Google Workspace, which allows you to arrange and start calls straight from these third-party apps. It also includes security features such as meeting lock, virtual lobby invitation, and the ability to prevent sensitive documents from leaking by changing screen sharing to "Host Only" before a video conference begins.
Price: $19.99, $27.99, $34.99, $49.99 per month
CyberLink U Meeting is a Taiwanese multimedia corporation with numerous features, such as "Perfect Cam," which adds computer-generated makeup to their faces to produce a "truly professional look." When you purchase their premium plan, U Meeting additionally safeguards sessions with passwords and encrypts chat messages on devices. The Mobile Application Security Alliance has certified their mobile app, and their servers have passed vulnerability testing from the Open Web Application Security Project and Tenable by Nessus.
BigBlueButton may be utilised for online learning webinars as well as working with students through the use of a whiteboard, shared notes, polls, and chat. It also has a virtual classroom where you can place students in breakout rooms to work on their given tasks. BigBlueButton also includes security features to ensure that meetings are not jeopardised. It encrypts all content delivered from the server to the web browser if it is installed on a server with a TSL certificate. It encrypts voice, video, and screen sharing utilising Secure Real-Time Protocol, providing your systems with a high level of built-in security.
Price: $150, $200, $300 per month
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