Skype for Business logoSkype for Business (S4B) is being adopted by organizations across every vertical industry, increasing the demand for  S4B recording applications to capture and replay audio, video, screen and chat. With many S4B recording options available today, there are six key things to consider when choosing your recording solution. A word of caution: Implementing S4B recording functionality is not as straight forward as VoIP or TDM call recording. There are many more factors to consider to ensure a smooth implementation.

A centralized S4B capture technology requires deep understanding of each interaction scenario and its related media flows. While common with other UC platforms, S4B does not offer a unified API which can be called to retrieve and access media streams and metadata from a central server. This requires recorders to be heavily involved within the media streams. Prior to S4B, this was unheard of in the enterprise recording space.

1. Recording Method 

The most important consideration is to ensure the Skype for Business recording method you choose to  best matches the S4B topology and call scenarios you want to record. Here are the three most common methods and when they should be utilized:

  • Edge server model (interactions are routed to edge pools for packet capture) – Best used for recording all interactions including peer to peer when all users are remote and coming through your edge server.
  • Intelligent Scenario Routing (relay model) – Also an option for recording all scenarios including peer-to-peer interactions, as well as the combination of remote and internal users or just internal users by keeping your internal communications away from your edge servers
  • Passive (front-end or mediation server sniffing) – For PSTN call recording or conference calls

2. Third-Party Software Usage 

It is important to understand which other software solutions reside within your Skype ecosystem , such as cloud contact centers or auto dialers. Make sure your recording vendor is experienced and comfortable working together with the other 3rd party vendors in your S4B environment.

3.  Media Bypass 

Many recording vendors will disable the media bypass feature upon implementation, regardless of whether or not it is being used. This disables the media bypass tag in the SIP header and takes away the feature for which you may have purchased a specific session border controller (SBC). The recording vendor may forget to tell you it’s been disabled or choose not to mention it. If they don’t tell you, you will never know until your functionality goes awry. Choose a vendor that can work with media bypass staying intact. The Edge model works well here along with port mirroring of the media bypass stream coming from the SBC. Another option is PCAP Plus which records PSTN calls by sniffing on the mediation server in conjunction with port mirroring of bypass traffic. Both models enable recording without having to turn off the media bypass feature.

ISR model also natively supports bypass but instead of disabling bypass, it reroutes it through the media relay. This poses a question of where you would like your “next-hop” to be in your bypass stream. IT Managers will have differing opinions on this.

4. Involve your S4B Systems Integrator 

Before selecting your Skype for Business recording vendor, speak with the systems integrator who installed your S4B servers and let them know that you are considering putting a recorder into the environment. You will want/need their buy in to ensure nothing goes wrong, because S4B affects so many different things. Do not simply install S4B recording in a network without taking these things into account as doing so could very easily damage your network. It is critical to involve your systems integrator prior to recording vendor selection and implementation.

5. Resilience Configuration

If you have any type of resilience S4B configuration – i.e. paired enterprise pools or paired standard additions – choose a recorder that can handle users being active on either pool at any given time. The Voice/UC manager will fail users over to any pool at their discretion. You want your recorder to support targeting of users across that resilient configuration. In addition, many times resilient pools have users registered with both pool or servers at the same time and should be correctly targeted in the pool they are associated with. This is one of the most complex considerations when installing a resilient S4B recorder and should be discussed with your vendor.

6. Location of User Endpoint   

It is critical to understand the location of a user’s endpoint in S4B. Since S4B supports multiple points of presence, choose a recorder that can capture calls regardless of their origination from a computer, a cell phone or a land line.

7. Microsoft Certified Solution

Choose a recording vendor that offers a Microsoft-certified solution to help ensure a successful, well-integrated implementation.

These are just some of the many things to watch for when considering a S4B recording implementation. Choosing an experienced vendor will result in a successful integration as they will have the knowledge to avoid unforeseen issues which may hamper your overall network.