There are three basic ways to implement web conferencing:
SaaS (Software as a Service). Web conferencing software is hosted on the cloud (i.e., a large number of shared servers) and is accessed via a web browser. There's no software to install and no specialized hardware is required. In addition, high bandwidth is maintained regardless of the number of participants. Service is scalable and licensed for a monthly fee.
The cloud is "device agnostic." If you have a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy or similar situation where employee laptops, smartphones and tablets are made by different manufacturers running different operating systems, a cloud-based web conferencing platform is your best (and perhaps only) choice. Connectivity provided through any web browser renders other hardware and software considerations irrelevant. An additional advantage is that it is future-proof: you aren't stuck with the bill to upgrade software and replace hardware to accommodate new technologies and capabilities.
Disadvantages: Since data is transmitted through the vendor-provided server, security could be compromised. In addition, in some cases, costs rise in proportion to the number of participants.
- Local (on-premise). Software is installed on your server. Since it operates behind your company firewall, it is more secure. If you have sufficient bandwidth, there are no limitations or extra costs on the number of participants, and transmission quality may be better than SaaS.
Disadvantages: Expense of licenses and IT staff is likely prohibitive for smaller companies. If you do not have sufficient bandwidth, capacity can be an issue that requires costly investment in infrastructure to resolve. Ease of integration into existing infrastructure and ability to accommodate external participants are additional considerations.
- Hybrid. The best of both worlds: a secure platform for internal meetings and a high-performance hosted solution for external participation.
Disadvantage: Affordable only to large companies.