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Web conferencing with Ubuntu BigBlueButton vs Lync 2010

Posted on 2012-03-23
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Last Modified: 2012-03-26
I am the systems administrator and our website designer is planning to host a web-conferencing server. It would mainly be used for web-conferencing.
We are fully Microsoft and I have some security concerns. The server technology they are looking to deploy is called Ubuntu BigBlueButton (http://code.google.com/p/bigbluebutton/). The alternative would be MS Lync 2010, which we could get for a very low price. Our firewall is TMG 2010

There are two deployment scenarios being proposed:
•      Inside our LAN with all the relevant ports (80, 1935, 9123) open on our firewall
•      Outside our LAN; effectively it would be a standalone server on the internet with one of our public IP WAN addresses assigned to it and only protected by its internal firewall

Questions:
1.      Are there any known security concerns with Ubuntu BigBlueButton?
2.      Which of the deployment scenarios above would be more secure? Could it be “published” on our TMG firewall?
3.      What would be the risks for our external and internal users to connect to this new web-conferencing server if it was on the internet and got compromised?
4.      Which of the two products (Ubuntu BigBlueButton and Lync 2010) are easier to maintain?
5.      Any other thoughts?

Thanks
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Question by:mark-199
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pfrancois earned 500 total points
ID: 37757471
1. No: Ubuntu is more secure than its MS equivalents.
2. Normally, for this kind of application, the best scenario is a DMZ. Taking into account Ubuntu is very secure, all the solutions you are proposing are acceptable. The weakness of your LAN will come from the MS Windows desktops, the USB memory sticks, the Outlook attachments, javascripts downloaded by the browser, etc... and not the webconferencing system. Of course, you have to publish the server om the firewall, if it has to be accessed from the Internet, as far as I understand what you mean with "publish".
3. No significant risks, because it is intended to be secure. Zero risk doesn't exist, but I don't see why they are going to attack a secure server, when you have other weaknesses on the desktops.
4. I don't know anything about Lync and probably Lync users will not know enough about Ubuntu BigBlueButton for a valuable comparison, but if you choose Lync, you will have to consider the problems you stated above under nr. 3.
5. I suppose you are new in the Linux Ubuntu world. Please do not extrapolate the typical Microsoft problems to other platforms where these are absent.
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Author Closing Comment

by:mark-199
ID: 37765448
Hi Bfrancois, we'll go with the DMZ model then.

PS. "Publishing" is TMG talk for making an internal server/service available to the internet.
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