Skype for Business Compliance Highlights: From Compliance Blocking to Conference Recording

By March 7, 2015 December 23rd, 2020 Skype for Business

This week we would like to focus on two features of our Skype for Business recording solution, one that solves a technical challenge and another one that solves a legal requirement for our customers. Load Balancing provides dramatic availability and scalability potential, while Compliance Blocking allows you to block calls if recording is not available for any reason.

Honestly, our Compliance Blocking almost became unnecessary by the time we were ready with Load Balancing… all jokes aside, let’s see how these work.

Compliance Blocking When Skype for Business Recording is Down

If you are legally obligated to record phone calls, you want to make sure all calls are actually recorded. In our trading room solutions it is a standard feature to show the status of the recording system on the phone. Traders are not allowed to make calls when recording is not available in order to stay compliant.

With this feature, we are bringing Compliance Blocking to Microsoft Lync. Our Lync filters (the ones that are coordinating recording on the Lync Front End servers) are constantly monitoring the health of all Verint/Verba Recording Servers, and if no servers are available for any reason, or all servers are overloaded, a new call that needs to be recorded can be automatically blocked. Non-recorded calls are not effected by this solution.

Load Balancing for Skype for Business Recording

The central part of this solution is the routing intelligence we are placing into the Verba SfB Filter, that is installed on all SfB Front End servers. It makes decisions about how each call should be recorded.

Let’s take a look at what the SfB Filter does to give you high scalability, redundancy and low impact on your network and SfB traffic:

  • scalability – recorded calls can be sent to as many Verint/Verba servers as necessary, their performance is added up (a typical server will handle at least 400 simultaneous calls, load balancing will multiple that with the number of servers)
  • redundancy – since multiple recording servers are participating, the loss of one server does not lead to recording outage (the filter will watch all recorders and will send recording traffic only to healthy servers)
  • geographical routing – this will help you make sure your calls are not travelling long distances just to get recorded, you can send calls to recorders placed nearby

This last point is worth more explanation.

Geographical routing of recorded Skype for Business calls

When you are using our proxy recording technology, the media streams of your Lync calls are directed towards Verint/Verba recording proxy servers. It very important to minimize the distance this redirection adds to the travel of your calls.

Think of a scenario when calls inside a New Zealand office campus and are sent to proxy servers in Europe, just to get recorded. An Auckland – London trip takes 60 milliseconds even for light. It will take considerably more time for a  data packet that although travels almost at the speed of light, enters and exists many switches, routers along the way each adding buffering and processing times to the latency budget. The more hops the higher the chance of packet loss along the network. Many hops also lead to higher jitter, which increases the necessary length of dejitter buffers in the audio codecs on both sides.

To cut a long story short, call quality will seriously suffer if your voice needs to do the Auckland – London trip twice to reach your colleague in the next building.

By installing a Verba recorder proxy in the same office, in Auckland or even in the region (say e.g. Melbourne), you can improve voice quality dramatically.

 

The Missing Lync for Skype for Business Conference Recording

One of the world’s largest asset management companies is using a Skype for Business recording solution from Verint/Verba to record conference calls. When the company moved to Microsoft Skype for Business, it sought  a centralized conference recording solution that would fit into its business processes.

Conference calls form a vital part of a company’s business processes, from kick-off calls to market updates. Conference calls are recorded and recordings need to be distributed to participants.

The Requirements

Conference call recording requirements can become surprisingly complex in a large organization. There are certain goals:

  1. Recording a call should require minimum effort
  2. Recording must be reliable
  3. Recordings should be distributed to participants in a secure way
  4. All this should come with with minimum administration

The Verint/Verba team addressed these requirements one-by-one. Let’s see how:

  1. Start conference recording from within the Lync Client, where your conference information is already setup based on the automatically processed calendar invite
  2. Redundant servers can be added to serve recording requests
  3. Links to the recordings are sent to the meeting participants, ready for playback through a secure web interface where users are authenticated with their Active Directory credentials
  4. It all requires very little administration, since user rights are synchronized from Active Directory

This all links together perfectly to produce an easy and straightforward conference recording process:

  1. Invite the recorder to the conference, when you set it up in your calendar
  2. Start recording at the beginning of the conference
  3. Done (the rest is handled by the system)

Let’s see how this works.

Start Recording from your Skype for Business Client

After simple administrative changes to your Lync deployment, a new Meeting Recorder menu item will appear in the SfB Client.

Lync Conference Recorder Menu

When you select that menu, a new panel appears in your group conversation window. It will already know the details your meeting if you have sent a meeting invite to the Verint/Verba recorder (e.g. meeting-recorder@acme.com). This can easily be done in Outlook, Google Apps, etc. With this simple invite you are sending a essential information to the recorder: Subject, Meeting ID, Host, Participant List. 

Lync Conference Recorder

You can start conference call recording at any time by pressing the Start Recording button. If policies allow you, during the conference you have the option to stop and restart the recording as you wish.

Personalized Recording Announcements

The solution provides recording announcements, that serve both informational and legal compliance purposes. A “This meeting is being recorded” message will be heard by all new participants of the conference, while the rest of the conference participants are not disturbed, they will not hear the recording prompt again and again. Besides the voice prompts, a recording message can also be presented at the beginning of the group chat.

Post conference emails

After the conference the Verint/Verba solution can send an email to the meeting organizer and/or all the participants. The email itself is completely customization using templates, that can contain information like:

  • Meeting ID
  • Subject of the invitation email
  • Name and email address of the participants being notified
  • Name and email address of the meeting organizer
  • Direct link to the recording

Secure access to recordings with single sign-on

The direct link in the notification email points the user to the recording, but only after proper authentication. Only the organizer and the participants will get access to the recordings. Authentication can happen using the standard Verba single sign-on solution based on a user’s Active Directory identity. If you are logged in to your PC and you were a participant on a call, you can have access to the recording.

For further information about the Verint/Verba Recording System for Skype for Business, contact one of our experts.