The spread of COVID-19 is causing law firms to adapt to working remotely. Such a quick shift in operation can put a strain on the workflow and increase the stress levels of firm employees. One big step towards making the transition smoother is getting your firm on the same page when it comes to communication technology.
There is no need to go through the hassle and expense of installing top-of-the-line software for what will be a temporary situation. To help you narrow down the vast array of choices, we’ve outlined the five best video conferencing software programs and their basic features and cost.
1. Microsoft Teams (Formerly Skype for Business)
Skype is transitioning into full integration with Microsoft products; what was once called Skype for Business is now called Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams is offered as part of two of the Microsoft Office 365 packages. Microsoft Teams accommodates video conferencing for groups as large as 10,000 and allows team members to share and edit documents in various Microsoft programs such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
For $5 per user per month (with an annual commitment), you can get the Essentials package which includes Microsoft Teams and all web and mobile versions of Microsoft apps. For Microsoft apps on desktops, in addition to Microsoft Teams, the cost is $12.50 per user per month for the Premium subscription package.
Microsoft is keeping abreast of the ever-changing situation with the increase in businesses communicating online. The vice president shared a security update on April 7th outlining Microsoft Teams’ security protocols including the ability to use multi-factor authentication (MFA).
2. Zoho Meeting
Zoho Meeting is a platform that primarily focuses on its webinar services but can also be used for video conferencing. It offers a free plan that allows up to three meeting participants or up to 10 webinar attendees with screen sharing, polls, customized registration forms, and encrypted transmissions.
The pricing for additional features starts at $8 per host per month for the “Meeting” subscription billed annually. It allows for 100 participants and offers storage for up to 10 recordings. The webinar subscriptions go up in price from there, based on attendee numbers.
3. Zoom Pro
Zoom Basic is free to use and can accommodate up to 100 participants. The drawback of the free membership is that it has a 40 minute limit on group meetings. To upgrade to Zoom Pro it costs $14.99 per host per month. This not only removes the time limit but offers additional admin controls such as enabling encryption, 1 GB of cloud recording, and user management. Additional plans with more options and features go up in cost from there.
4. Cisco Webex
Cisco Webex has changed some of its plans and features in response to the pandemic.
The free plan is similar to Zoom’s, but the 40-minute limit has been removed and the number of participants has been increased from 50 to 100. The upgraded Starter plan costs $13.50 per host per month, and it offers additional features such as 5 GB of cloud storage and recording transcriptions.
While each of these conferencing programs offers security features, BlueJeans pays particular attention to privacy and data protection, dedicating an entire page to covering its various security features such as encrypted recordings and two-factor authentication.
There is no free version of BlueJeans, and the standard subscription price is $9.99 per host per month when billed annually. With the standard subscription, meetings can host up to 50 participants and have 5 hours of recordings.
Multiple Offerings, One Choice
It can be easy to get lost in all of the various features each software offers. Focusing on the features most essential to your firm will help you narrow it down. All of these programs are relatively simple to use and are compatible across various devices and operating systems.
These systems all offer teleconferencing, screen sharing, and a baseline of security features. It may even be possible to choose a few key members of the firm to have host accounts on your chosen platform for team meetings, while other employees that don’t need to hold large conferences can use the offerings of the free versions for their one-on-one conferences.
If you’d like to learn more about technologies you can utilize to continue to grow your law firm’s capacities, download our complimentary eBook: 6 Technologies/Tools Every Law Firm Needs to Elevate Their Client Intake.