In its efforts to cure the negative perception keeping it out off most large business networks, Skype has released a client version especially for business, another version also in Beta is a Skype for Windows which includes MSI installation.
The two versions, available for download now are designed to make Skype more palatable to network administrators who have so far largely spurned Skype, complaining that it poses a threat to security and management on corporate networks.
The enterprise friendly versions, according to the company, address one of the main concerns previously expressed by administrators of corporate and enterprise networks – namely control.
The new versions allow IT Administrators far greater control over the behaviour of Skype across the network and with the introduction of Skype For Windows, a way to install the software on multiple machines.
Supporting Group Policies as a way to support centralised management of policy settings for Skype clients across an enterprise,you can control the behavior of the Skype client for a given set of targeted users or computers.
The Skype client’s behavior is determined by registry values indicated in an administrative template (.adm) file. This way, you can manage Skype’s features and settings through registry-based policy.
Skype also says the version has increased security. The MSI version helps maintain security because software can be installed in an approved configuration without having to grant administrative rights where they would not otherwise be needed, explains Skype.
One of the advantages of an MSI version for Skype is the familiarity most systems and network administrators have with the Windows installer. It makes is easier to deploy software on to multiple machines, and allows the software to run as a Windows service while allowing administrators to deploy Skype enterprise-wide through the use of Active Directory and Group Policy Objects.
It also opens up a way for administrators to upgrade, modify, repair, or even remove the client software if required.
Other features for the business version is support for multiple accounts with what Skype calls the Business Control Panel.
The version allows for most of the standard ‘consumer’ Skype functionality and allows for conference calling with up to four people and group chat up to 100 people.SkypeOut, SkypeIn and forwarding all also supported.
Skype’s advice and guidelines for network managers is available in its network administrator’s guide.