Cisco may not have the same standing in the consumer arena as Microsoft or Google, but in the enterprise field, it is certainly well known. That’s why its video conferencing software, Cisco Webex, has proven so popular over the past year or so.
With the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, collaboration tools like Webex have gone head-to-head with the likes of Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and a host of others. With social distancing measures in place, virtual interactions have taken the place of face-to-face meetings.
Despite the fact that other solutions may have better name recognition than Webex, that doesn’t mean that it should be deemed to be inferior to any of the other platforms on the market. if you’re unsure of the exact pros and cons of using Webex, the following guide should help.
In particular, we’ll compare Webex to Microsoft Teams, one of the solutions that has experienced the biggest increases in popularity over the course of the pandemic. That growth hasn’t stopped Webex from gaining a formidable reputation for its market-leading features, however.
In this guide, we’ve collected all the information you need to decide whether Teams or Webex is best for your business, comparing plans and pricing, features, security and more.
Plans and pricing
While Microsoft Teams’ free offering will be suitable for many smaller businesses and individual users, Cisco Webex is really aimed at paying customers. It does provide a free plan but it is only available to a single host and provides restrictions on some of its features, including a 50-minute call limit. On the other hand, the free version of Teams comes with a slightly better 60-minute time limit on calls, as well as 2GB of personal cloud storage, and an unlimited chat service.
In terms of Teams’ paid options, users can choose from three different Microsoft 365 packages, which will deliver different levels of Teams functionality. Microsoft 365 Business Basic, for example, costs $5.00/£3.80/AU$6.90 per user per month, and gives users the ability to schedule and record meetings. It also increases the file storage capacity to 1TB per user.
The Microsoft 365 Business Standard package, meanwhile, costs $12.50/£9.40/AU$17.20 per user per month and also comes with desktop versions of Microsoft’s productivity applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint). For businesses with larger budgets, Microsoft 365 Premium incorporates advanced security and privacy features but will set them back $20.00/£15.10/AU$27.50 per user per month.
It’s true that Teams is one of the more expensive video conferencing tools on the market if you are not already a Microsoft 365 subscriber. However, if your business is already an avid 365 user, Teams is a very cost-effective option.
For Webex, the pricing plans are pretty straightforward to explain. There’s the Starter plan that is suitable for smaller teams or individual users as it comes with nine host licenses and 1GB of file storage. This package will set organizations back $14.95 per host per month.
The Business plan, meanwhile, costs $29.95 per host per month and comes with one hundred host licenses, 10 GB of file storage, and an interactive whiteboarding feature. Finally, the Enterprise plan comes with bespoke pricing but might be the best option for companies that host a lot of larger meetings or live events.
Webex’s features are easily categorized into three distinct areas: meeting, calling, and messaging. In terms of in-meeting features, users can enjoy personalized screen designs and top-quality HD video and audio for up to 1,000 meeting participants. Webex users also have a range of sharing options, including for their entire screen and well-known apps like PowerPoint.
Auto-transcribing, integration with calendars, and in-meeting personalization are also nice features. Both group and one-on-one messaging are available (even when out of a meeting), and there are a number of useful integrations, including Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, and Salesforce.
Regarding Teams, features include screen sharing, call recording, live captions, background blur technology, and chat functionalities. The ability to integrate with other Microsoft applications is perhaps its most useful feature, however.
Unsurprisingly given Microsoft’s pedigree, Microsoft Teams comes with a range of security features, including the encryption of all data within Microsoft data centers. Microsoft Teams also requires multi-factor authentication to defend users and businesses against unauthorized account access.
Cisco Webex also takes security extremely seriously. Encryption is again provided for all cloud recordings, and meeting passwords should help prevent any unwanted meeting attendees. Paid versions of Webex also benefit from HIPAA and BAA compliance.
While Microsoft Teams comes with a robust formal support offering, including online webinars and live chat support. However, one of the support features that has received the most praise is actually nothing to do with Microsoft . Because of Teams’ extensive userbase, a community has developed that is always more than willing to help out anyone that may be encountering challenges.
Webex’s support includes video tutorials and free training programs, in addition to daily demos and live events. Although the fact that the free service only comes with online support is slightly disappointing, the Enterprise plan comes with a dedicated rep, which means you should get your issues resolved extremely quickly.
Cisco Webex is a video conferencing tool that certainly comes with a strong pedigree. Although individual users are more likely to go with technology brands that they recognize from their everyday lives - such as Google Meet or Microsoft Teams - enterprises are bound to appreciate some of the high-level offerings that come with Webex.
In particular, the Enterprise plan has some really nice touches, including the offer of your own rep for support. That kind of service really makes a customer feel valued. In terms of features and security, the two platforms are also evenly matched, so deciding whether Teams or Webex is right for your business is a difficult call.