We’ve all heard of Skype – it was one of the first widely used video calling tools used across the world by friends and family to keep in touch, in fact you’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t used the program at some point in their life. In fact, Skype was created for use at home and for small businesses of up to 20 employees.
But for larger businesses Microsoft created Skype for Business, which lets you add up to 250 people to online meetings, provides enterprise-grade security, allows you to manage employee accounts, and is integrated into their many Office apps.
But with the advent of Microsoft Teams, Microsoft has announced that Skype for Business is going end of life as of September 2021 (that’s at the end of next month!).
What does End of Life Mean?
End of Life means that Microsoft will no longer update or support Skype for Business after a particular date – in this case, some point in 2025.
But what does this mean for your veterinary practice if you’re using Skype for Business? It means you need to start thinking about finding a replacement.
- There will be nobody to fix it when it inevitably goes wrong, causing unnecessary downtime. This will not only affect your team but your ability to look after the animals in your care.
- Out of date software leaves you extremely vulnerable to cyber attacks which can damage your practice’s ability to function as well as your reputation.
- Out of date software runs slowly, so it’s likely that your system’s performance will be impacted, affecting your team, your clients and your patient care.
- Your practice may not be compliant with GDPR, as this requires up to date software. Being revealed as non-GDPR compliant can get you in trouble with both your clients and the ICO.
And whilst we’re on the subject of GDPR…
Veterinary systems are full of data; client names, addresses, phone numbers and bank account details. Under the GDPR regulation it is your responsibility to protect this data to the best of your ability, but did you know that it goes against GDPR to use end of life software? This is because:
- End of life software no longer receives support, so it cannot be fixed for you if it goes wrong.
- End of life software no longer receives updates and patches so quickly becomes old and insecure.
- End of life software is a major target for hackers due to the degrading security.
Ultimately if you continue to use Skype for Business your practice will become an easy target for cybercriminals as well as the ICO (Information Commissioners Office) for not being GDPR compliant.
What are your Alternatives??
Microsoft stopped developing Skype for Business some time ago, and has instead poured their attention into creating a spectacular offering in the form of Microsoft Teams.
Teams is a chat-based collaboration platform which you can use for video meetings and document sharing, along with loads more features that we wont list right now. As part of the Microsoft 364 Suite of course integrates with all the other Microsoft Apps as well as many, many more.
Even better – if you already have a Microsoft 365 Subscription Teams is included as part of the price – which means it wont cost you any more money than you are already paying.
However, if you are currently using Skype as a Telemedicine Platform, then you might want to check out our Telemedicine Comparison Guide where we have listed the platforms available and highlighted their key features so that you can make an informed decision.