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is web conferencing risky

By john.m1 ·
Hi, we have a 30 user lan (advanced server) all win2k / office xp desks. ISDN dial-up no seperate firewall. no VPN, no static IP's.

we wish to video conference some of our desktops to the outside world e.g. to specific customers at other companies.

if we use MS Net-Meeting, we have to connect using direct ip addresses? is this correct?

should we be looking for better software?

is there a security issue in handing out our IP addresses?

any help, tips or links would be welcome here.

(treat me as a newbie please, 1 syllable words and as few numbers as possible) ?-)

thanks in advance, JohnM1

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by timwalsh In reply to is web conferencing risky

Yes, NetMeeting usually requires you to use an IP address to connect when connecting over the Internet.

While handing out internal IP addresses always carries risk, and doing so with no firewall can be downright dangerous to the health and welfare of a network, you have several things in your favor that reduce this risk.

First, you are giving a specific address out to a specific customer that hopefully you trust.

Second, since you are using dial-up, you are only vulnerable dring the time you are actually online.

Third, since you are using DHCP, you can set lease duration to a small amount of time, thus probably forcing IP addresses to change on a regular basis.

To reduce the risk even further, you might want to consider the following:

Depending on your needs, set up one or more XP boxes specifically to be used for the video conferencing. You can then enable the built-in firewall in XP to further protect you.

Other solutions:

There is other video conferencing software out there. Run a search on Google using the keywords "video conferencing software" to research the alternatives.

Use a hosted conferencing service such as Webex (www.webex.com). This would essentially alleviate your security concerns (conference participants usa a browser to access a central website to meet). Webex offers both subscription services (if you host a lot of meetings on a regular basis) or pay-as-you-go services (if your meetings occur infrequently).

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by john.m1 In reply to is web conferencing risky

Thanks "timwalsh",
your comments addto/backup what we already thought, i will check out webex as that sounds good too.
we will soon be upgrading to 2mb broadband with static IP's and cisco hardware firewall.
any further advice would be appreciated.

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by Joseph Moore In reply to is web conferencing risky

I agree with Tim to use Webex.com
I was on a web conference myself today through Webex, from a server in my server room, so the help desk of a software manufacturer could look at my server and fix an error we were having in their software.
I connected to their Webex site, put in the conference number, installed the ActiveX controlls, and then the tech support person was able to take remote control of my server, fix the problem, and all was well.
All of this traffic was possible from a server with a 198.168.x.x address in my LAN, going through our firewall. Very nifty, this Webex thing.
I recommend it.

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by john.m1 In reply to is web conferencing risky

thanks "joseph moore"

yes webex does seem to be a real solution. i will leave question open a couple more days.

johnm1

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by john.m1 In reply to is web conferencing risky

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