Safe and user-friendly: Video conferencing “Made in Germany”
Since the start of the pandemic, some banks have been relying on video solutions such as Microsoft Teams or those from other U.S. providers. It is becoming increasingly clear, though that this is risky business, for instance, where data protection is concerned. The video conferencing software from Snapview, based in Munich, is an option that may be a better choice for banks and insurance companies.
Snapview’s video conferencing platform was developed specifically for the German insurance and finance industries and is used by banks, large financial services providers and insurers. First and foremost, it meets the industry’s legal and regulatory requirements. Since August 2020, coinciding with the time when FinVermV* took effect, the solution has been recording audio, video and screen channels in a MiFID II-compliant manner. Microsoft Teams, on the contrary, is neither specialized in one industry nor any particular application and can only marginally implement the industry’s legal or regulatory requirements. An audit-proof recording or “taping,” for example, is complicated and expensive to implement.
- Snapview impresses with its very easy operation. It allows customers to join consultations via the browser window – without the need to install anything. All its functions and processes are tailored to consultations with customers.
- Snapview operates its video conferencing platform exclusively on servers located at German data centers. And since the company is based in Germany, it meets all data protection and security requirements.
- Companies can adapt the platform to their corporate identity and design (CI/CD), while the Snapview brand remains invisible to their end customers.
- Now a part of BSI, Snapview is pursuing the vision of an integrated product portfolio. Its video conferencing solution is designed for real-time communication.
The Snapview platform is a solution that focuses specifically on communication with customers, and we have made sure that all functions needed for sales consultations are available. At the same time, we have deliberately sidestepped any unnecessary features. Working with the solution is perfectly straightforward.
For instance, all one needs to participate in a Snapview conference is a browser, and the virtual line between advisor and customer is established in seconds. Two clicks of the mouse. Done. Nothing to download. Nothing to install. The program is web-based and modular. In addition to the meeting room, the core element, modules are available for booking appointments, signing documents electronically and recording.
The insurer Debeka is an example of a company that relies on Snapview: During the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic, the company rolled out the video conferencing solution corporate-wide within six weeks, which included the company’s legal and IT departments and the Debeka Academy. Patrick Schneider, Head of IT Frontend, explained the impression he had of Snapview: “They can do it in this short amount of time.” On the one hand, concluding legally compliant contracts successfully via video conferencing with electronic signatures was challenging. On the other hand, Debeka had to develop adequate training concepts for 8,500 employees and convey the content via e-learning. In addition, the project goal was to create “a digital consulting experience for the customer” with the selected software solution. According to Mr. Schneider, this would not be possible to the same degree with Webex or Teams.
This is exactly where the fundamental difference lies between Snapview and Teams along with other tools that offer generic teamwork solutions. Neither their functions nor their processes are tailored to customer consultations. Rather, at the core are chat channels for employees of the same organization or groups of selected employees that were expanded to include online meetings and video conferences that permit internal and external participants. In addition, the program has features that are irrelevant to customer consultations and make using it more complicated. In addition, Microsoft wants users to download and install Teams by default before using it. Browser-based access is optional.
What speaks against a mandatory installation is that it is unnecessary. That’s because customers who would like a consultation can do so via their browser window. In addition, every download comes with a risk and can delay participation. Firewalls and virus scanners know this, too, and block the download or frequently make the customer activate the Teams software first. Plus: The electronic signature, which is essential every time a sale is closed, is absent.
Data protection & IT security
Besides the server location selection, who can access the data stored there is essential for data security. While Snapview operates its platform exclusively on servers located at German data centers, the solution can also be independently run on a company’s own servers or in a dedicated environment (on-premises or private cloud). On top of that, as a company based in Germany, Snapview meets all data protection and security requirements. In terms of IT security, Snapview follows the advice of the German Federal Office for Information Security and observes BaFin** guidelines. As part of the contract with a customer, Snapview can even incorporate the rights of control, audit and instruction required by BaFin.
In contrast, Microsoft, the tech company based in the U.S., operates its servers in many countries. Data protection specialists know that the U.S. laws CLOUD Act and Patriot Act are completely at odds with the GDPR. Also, its software cannot implement the rights of control, audit and instruction for outsourced business processes required by BaFin. As a result, it is only marginally reconcilable with European data protection principles and cannot currently ensure a legally secure collaboration.
In her “Information about providers of video conferencing services,” the technical expert and Data Protection and Freedom of Information Commissioner of the State of Berlin gave Microsoft Teams a “red light” rating. “There are deficiencies that rule out the legally compliant use of the service,” the Commissioner wrote.
Matching a company’s brand
With Snapview, on the other hand, companies can customize the platform to display their own corporate identity and can therefore welcome and support all their customers in their “own” rooms while the Snapview brand remains invisible to the end customer. They can host the participant site under their own domain and design it with their own logo or corporate color. In addition, they can display customer-specific communication and obtain consent on the participant page. Furthermore, the platform can integrate its own applications (e.g., CRM systems, application forms, consulting software) via the Snapview API to map a seamless consultation process.
From a single source
At Snapview, we share BSI’s vision of an integrated product portfolio, a key differentiator compared with programs such as Teams and others. Our video conferencing solution is designed for real-time communication. It goes without saying that we provide implementation support, including process optimization consulting. We also have a proven track record in developing utilization concepts. Training and ongoing coaching of sales organizations are a given. Through open communication with users and by specializing, we are continuously aligning our video platform with customer needs. This is a yardstick a publicly listed, global companies cannot come close to.
* FinVermV = Ordinance on Financial Asset Broking Services [Finanzanlagenvermittlerverordnung]
** BaFin = German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority [Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht]