Using Skype in a Business Environment

This page is under revisioon to reflect the status in June 2011.

Once you and your colleagues have some experience with Skype you will want to exercise management discipline over who uses Skype, purchasing Skype Credits, assigning Skype Calling plans and SkypeIn numbers to individual users, security issues and installing Skype over your business’s network. Skype does provide tools to facilitate this management activity.

Skype’s Business Control Panel allows you to:

  • Add new users,
  • Purchase and allocate Skype Credits,
  • Purchase and allocate SkypeIn numbers,
  • Use Auto Credit to maintain minimum balances for each user, and
  • Check individual user calling activity reports

Skype Business User Report

The Business Version of Skype is a Windows Installer (“msi” ) file which allows your IT administrator to install Skype on user PC’s accessible across your network. You can elect to also install Skype Toolbar for Outlook and Skype Toolbar for Office at the same time. The “msi” file launches a Wizard which guides you through the Skype installation process.

Security: Skype securely encrypts all your voice and chat conversations, knows how to deal with firewalls such as to keep your protection, includes anti-spam features and takes measures to meet enterprise and national security mandates (more details here). However, you also need to ensure appropriate steps have been taken to ensure that your entire PC operation is secure:

  • Keep your Operating System updated – ensure that you have installed the latest Windows operating system updates from Microsoft. You can set your WIndows installation to perform automatic updates via Start | Control Panel | Security Center; these updates normally occur within a day or two of the second Tuesday of each month – also known as “Patch Tuesday”.
  • Install a complete Security Software Suite – Skype has arranged for a minimum 30% discount on Norton software such as Norton 360 (recommended) or Norton Internet Security; however, Skype also interacts with McAfee, Trend Micro and other brands of security software to provide anti-virus, anti-spam and other protection. Of particular note is that when you perform a Skype File Transfer, the incoming file is first checked by your security software to ensure it contains no virsuses, spyware, etc.

Important Tip: at a recent McAfee presentation the author learned that the most vulnerable feature of all security software is the failure to make the annual renewal required to insure your PC against the latest viruses and other malware threats. Over 750 malware threats appear daily and they are becoming more sophisticated; when those renewal warnings start to appear, best to heed them and renew.

More information on your PC’s security can be found at Get Safe Online.

Skype Partners’ Business Solutions: Finally Skype’s partners have developed a range of solutions that facilitate various Communications Enhanced Business Processes. Business grade conference calls, call center and unified communications, document management, collaboration services as well as call management and archiving tools are amongst the solutions available. Click this link for more details about Skype Business Solutions.

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