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NETWAYS Blog

Jitsi Feature Improved Moderator Controls

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series NETWAYS Managed Services - Alles im Flow

It is time for another round of features Jitsi! We are always excited to explore the newest additions to Jitsi and this time we are looking at the new moderator options. This brings us new possibilities by allowing even more people in the same room and makes presenting a whole lot easier.

In the past, Jitsi had struggled with the number of participants allowed in a room and it often came to interruptions. Jitsi has been working hard on rectifying this and optimising the performance of the videos being sent. This is achieved by only sending the video streams of participants that are currently in view.

Moderators will now have the option to allow other participants to use their microphone or webcam. This means that the moderator is able to turn off all of the cameras and microphones and keep them off! This is great if you have a speaker or teacher who is presenting to a class and wants to avoid interruptions. The moderator is able to present freely without the worry of somebody cutting in and speaking over them, or other members being distracted by other videos.

What‘s great about this, is that the permission to turn on the camera and microphone again can be given back to the other users, for example when it comes to answering questions. Don‘t worry though, the moderator will never be able to turn on other users’ cameras or microphones as this wouldn‘t comply with privacy laws.

During the time that users are not allowed to use their camera or microphone, they are still able to raise their hand and the moderator can grant them use of their devices by asking the user to unmute themselves. When the user gets the notification asking to unmute, they are able to accept and proceed to talk or show something on their camera. When the moderator would like to continue with their presentation, they can simply mute all participants.

This add-on adds a great range of utility and opens up a lot of opportunities with Jitsi. If only one person in a meeting is able to share their audio and video, this greatly increases the number of people allowed in a room without disturbances. In the forums, people have claimed to have up to 500 members in a meeting! Although this is difficult to test, we can definitely work with around 200 people in a meeting, as long as cameras are off and audio is not being transmitted.

Here at NETWAYS we offer Jitsi as a SaaS App with standard settings, but if you need something more capable and fully customisable, then our Managed Jitsi is just for you. We are able to customise a whole range of settings and designs to personalise Jitsi to your needs. Why not get in touch with us and speak to one of our MyEngineers and we can help your projects become a reality.

Together we are better connected.

Andrew Constant
Andrew Constant
Junior Systems Engineer

Andrew ist der NETWAYS Familie 2020 beigetreten. Er absolviert derzeit seine Ausbildung zum Fachinformatiker für Systemintegration im Bereich der NETWAYS Web Services. Der ehemalige Fremdsprachenkorrespondent und aus Northamptonshire stammende Engländer besticht durch seinen Humor und ergänzt das Team sehr gut. Seine Freizeit verbringt er gerne mit der Fotografie aber auch nach wie vor als Tandem Partner für neue Sprachen.

Jitsi Feature – Breakout Rooms

It’s finally here! After what feels like a decade, the feature is here and it’s just what we need. With this update comes not only breakout rooms but also some great features that we are really excited about. This feature makes your meetings easier to navigate and for online classes, you can split students into groups very easily. Here we show you how the feature works and also what is included in the new update.

Breakout Rooms

To activate breakout rooms, you just need to have the current version of Jitsi and the feature will already be there. You first click on “Participants” and a menu appears on the right side. Here you can click “Add breakout room” and a new room will be created. It is also possible to create rooms before all participants are present.

After a room is created, the participants can either go into the rooms freely or they could be moved into the room by the moderator. The rooms have no passwords and are only operated by the moderator. When a participant is in the room, they cannot control anything except “Leave”.

The moderator can also close the rooms and bring back all participants. Multiple rooms can be created and only the moderator has control over this function.

Moderator Features

What is also good about the update is what options are available to the moderator. There is now the option to ask a person to turn on the microphone. No participants are forced to turn on their camera or mic (and the moderator can’t force it either), but they can be asked and speak voluntarily. This feature is privacy-safe and, in our opinion, a good solution to an ever relevant topic.

The moderator also has the chance to turn off not only the microphones and camera when joining, but also the emoticon sounds as well. It may be that some people really like the emoticons, but now it can be muted (yay).

This update is pretty big and we haven’t explored everything yet. We tested the breakout room feature and we like it a lot. What’s your opinion? Also, stay tuned as we discover new features.

Want to have your own Jitsi instance with us? We also offer managed services for your machine and you could also have your own branding for Jitsi. If you would like to know more, just get in touch and one of our MyEngineers will be happy to help.

Andrew Constant
Andrew Constant
Junior Systems Engineer

Andrew ist der NETWAYS Familie 2020 beigetreten. Er absolviert derzeit seine Ausbildung zum Fachinformatiker für Systemintegration im Bereich der NETWAYS Web Services. Der ehemalige Fremdsprachenkorrespondent und aus Northamptonshire stammende Engländer besticht durch seinen Humor und ergänzt das Team sehr gut. Seine Freizeit verbringt er gerne mit der Fotografie aber auch nach wie vor als Tandem Partner für neue Sprachen.

stackconf online 2021 | Continuous Security – Integrating Security into your Pipelines

This entry is part 3 of 27 in the series stackconf online 2021

stackconf online 2021 is over and was a full success. It was all about open source infrastructure solutions in the spectrum of continuous integration, container, hybrid and cloud technologies. We’re still excited about all of our experts sessions and the large number of participants who joined us from all over the world. In the following you get an insight about one of our talks.

At stackconf online 2021 Matt Jarvis held a talk about the continuous security within pipelines. This is a great topic as security is not only extremly important, but more and more people are realising its importance.

Matt started off by giving us an introduction as to how Dev-ops has progressed and in the pre-cloud era the developer wrote the application and then IT operations took over the security side of things. Nowadays developers write the code, check, deploy and manage almost everything. Which can be a lot! The line has become blurred and the responsibility of security doesn’t have a rightful place, which is where Snyk comes in.

Security is usually considered to be an external practise and as it requires a higher responsibility, it needs to be made easier for developers to use. As we all know, once deployed, it is hard to implement security and having a secure system will help win over the trust of your customers. This problem only grows as each year, more and more code is written, which of course means a higher probability for errors and vunerabilities.

Dependencies and Vunerabilities

The problem with these vunerabilities isn’t always with dependencies themselves, but in fact their dependencies. Up to 70% of the vunerabilities are found here and these indirect dependencies can be used to hide malicious code.

In this example here, the code is hidden in sub dependencies and has had over 440,000 downloads/month! If people are only checking the top layer, there is a whole lot more they are missing. Sometimes all it takes is rebuilding an image or getting newer images. Up to 44% of Docker image vunerabilities can be resolved with a newer base image.

Here lies another problem and that is mainly when it comes to configuring the code. One of the most commonly seen issues is the misconfiguration of code. This is usually unintentional, but also what some developers don’t realise is that not all applications need root access. By default containers run as root and if this rule was changed before it was deployed, it could restrict access for would-be attackers. Something else to consider is the writable file systems that are mounted onto a container. By allowing this an attacker that compromises a container then has write access to the mount drive. If your containers are stateless, the attacker will have a harder time doing damage.

Integrate in a Developers Workflow

Matt went on to talk about how these security flaws can be shifted to the developers level. Security needs to be integrated into a developers workflow to help eliminate these problems at the source. Repositories need to also be taken into consideration and things like two factor authentication, strong key management practises and strong review processes are a great way to reduce weaknesses being exploited.

With the help of Snyk a developer is able to identify a lot of these flaws with monitoring scans and checks. These scans and checks can be automated into pipelines and relieve a lot of the responsibility. This was shown in the demo that Matt gave us and with these checks, the vunerabilities were able to be fixed with the Snyk wizard, amazing! This means that errors are found and corrected before they are even deployed. This is what was meant by moving the responsibility back and fixing the problem at the source. By integrating Snyk into the IDE, it fixes issues right away and elimates the need to worry about containers that are already deployed. Snyk is even smart enough to check packages and repos before they are pulled.

This is exactly the right approach to fixing the problem and by making the whole process easier, there really is no reason not to start implementing Snyk in you setups. Matt has identified the problem and shifted the responsibility to developer, but at the same time made it easy to implement. These tools give developers the help they need in order to secure their containers at the source and not cause future problem that can be easily solved with a few checks and corrections. Snyk helps developers at every step on the way and takes care of the security aspect allowing to release code faster and more securely.

Full talk and more from and about stackconf

Watch the the whole talk by Matt Jarvis:

 

stackconf 2022 will take place in Berlin. The final date will be announced soon. If you want to learn more about infrastructure solutions in advance you have the possibility to take look at our archive where you can find all slides and videos from this year’s stackconf.

Stay tuned!

Andrew Constant
Andrew Constant
Junior Systems Engineer

Andrew ist der NETWAYS Familie 2020 beigetreten. Er absolviert derzeit seine Ausbildung zum Fachinformatiker für Systemintegration im Bereich der NETWAYS Web Services. Der ehemalige Fremdsprachenkorrespondent und aus Northamptonshire stammende Engländer besticht durch seinen Humor und ergänzt das Team sehr gut. Seine Freizeit verbringt er gerne mit der Fotografie aber auch nach wie vor als Tandem Partner für neue Sprachen.

Jitsi-Feature – Pop-up-Fenster

Jitsi ist sehr datenschutzfreundlich. Als Videokonferenzlösung halte ich es für eine der Besten auf dem Markt, da es absolut keine Einzelheiten an Dritte weitergibt. So kann man sicher sein, dass die eigenen Daten sicher und geheim bleiben. Jeder Jitsi-Raum wird nur auf Verlangen erstellt und nach Verlassen aller Teilnehmer sogleich gelöscht. Hiernach bleibt an Benutzerdaten nichts zurück – nichts. Jitsi speichert keine Daten, Chat-Historie oder Videodateien. Deshalb wird Jitsi bei denjenigen, die sich um ihre Privatsphäre sorgen, immer beliebter. Das ist aber noch nicht alles! Zusätzlich zur Teilnahme an der Videokonferenz ohne Spuren zu hinterlassen, kann als zusätzliches Feature Kamera und/oder Mikrofon bei Betreten des Raumes defaultmäßig deaktiviert eingestellt werden. Wer noch ein wenig mehr Sicherheit haben möchte, kann die Kommunikation im Raum auch Ende-zu-Ende-verschlüsseln. Was kann man sich mehr wünschen?

Obwohl Jitsi bereits Open Source ist, entsteht immer mal wieder der Kundenwunsch, eine Zustimmungsabfrage einzurichten, bspw. zum Akzeptieren des Datenschutzes, um strengeren europäischen Richtlinien zu genügen. Solche Pop-ups kennen Sie wahrscheinlich schon. Hier zeigen wir unsere Lösung, um das für unsere Jitsi-Kunden umzusetzen. Dies ist eine Eigenentwicklung und bei Jitsi in dieser Form nicht vorgesehen.

Das Pop-up bietet zwei Wahlmöglichkeiten. Wer den Bedingungen zustimmt, die frei formuliert werden können, wird berechtigt, die Jitsi-Instanz zu benutzen und einen Raum zu betreten. Ferner wird ein Cookie gespeichert, damit die Abfrage auf diesem Gerät nicht mehr erfolgen muss. Er wird für 30 Tage lokal gespeichert, verfällt danach und wird ausschließlich für den erläuterten Zustimmungszweck genutzt; wir sammeln oder verteilen keinerlei Daten. Falls man aus irgendwelchen Gründen den Bedingungen nicht zustimmen mag und auf “Ablehnen” klickt, wird man auf die zuvor besuchte Seite abgelenkt. Natürlich kann das Pop-up auch farblich anders gestaltet oder mit einem alternativen Logo versehen werden.

Es ist ebenfalls sehr nützlich, um Kunden/Besucher mit weiteren Informationen zu versorgen und/oder die Video-/Audio-Freigabe zu erläutern, kann aber auch sehr gut als Willkommensnachricht dienen.

Bei NETWAYS arbeiten wir immer hart daran, die neuesten Features zu implementieren und die kleinen Dinge an Ihrem System zu verbessern. Unsere Server werden hier in Deutschland betrieben. Haben Sie weitere Anpassungsideen oder -wünsche? Nehmen Sie gerne Kontakt mit uns auf und teilen uns diese mit!

Andrew Constant
Andrew Constant
Junior Systems Engineer

Andrew ist der NETWAYS Familie 2020 beigetreten. Er absolviert derzeit seine Ausbildung zum Fachinformatiker für Systemintegration im Bereich der NETWAYS Web Services. Der ehemalige Fremdsprachenkorrespondent und aus Northamptonshire stammende Engländer besticht durch seinen Humor und ergänzt das Team sehr gut. Seine Freizeit verbringt er gerne mit der Fotografie aber auch nach wie vor als Tandem Partner für neue Sprachen.

stackconf wrap up – DAY 2

We are back for day 2 and ready as ever. Everyone definitely felt a lot more relaxed and from the get go people were communicating with each other. We were welcomed back by Bernd and Christian and without wasting any time we jumped right into the first talk with Frank Karlitschek. Frank talked to us about “First hand experience: How Nextcloud stayed productive during COVID-19”. A very relateable topic for a lot of us that have spent a lot of time in home office and have had to change our way of working. Flexibility, communication and trust with remote work were key points and how we should act with our employees due to the change in environment. He also showed us some of the cool features that Nextcloud has to offer.

The great Migration

Nadja following Paul’s talk.

Paul Puschmann from REWE Digital was next to the stand and talked to us about “How we finally migrated an eCommerce-Platform to GCP”. Paul explained what was needed to transition their Platform to a Google Cloud Platform and how he managed to do it. He showed us the uses of Consul and the possibility of sharing it across more virtual machines and its functionality within Docker containers. There was a lot of discussion in the stackconf Rocket.chat and there were a lot of great questions that Paul managed to answer both in his talk and on the channel.

“Monitoring Microservices The Right Way” was the next talk for today, which was presented by Dotan Horovits. Dotan talked to us about how the shift to microservices came with it’s difficulties with the introduction of Docker and Kubernetes. Dotan went over flexible querying over high cardinatlity and the requirments needed to monitor microservices efficiently with scalability to handle large volumes of metrics.

We took a short break with talks about Icinga and board games and UNO rules (you know what I mean). Back to the talks, Rodolpho Cocurde talked about his topic “Fuzzing: Finding Your Own Bugs and 0days!” Rodolpho is a penetration tester and is also an author in several magazines like Hakin9 and Pentest Magazine. He talked to us about the ever important issue on security and the different types of attacks, targets and an interesting fuzzing script in Python. He also demonstrated a great demo of how you can infiltrate malicious code with a buffer overflow through an mp3.

Developer on-call 24/7

Hello! Me at Tom’s talk.

Our next speaker Tom Granot spoke about his talk “On-call done right: how even a developer can help”. He showed us the Oasis Stack and how one develeper is on-call in order to stay active 24/7. Tom went on to talk about the wealth of tools available to developers to use in order to decipher problems that may arise in an area they are unfamiliar with. Not only that but also the things these tools don’t tell you and being able to “read between the lines”. Tom then demoed how to debug and check through services and transaction resources to find the cause of the problem when on-call.

During the lunch break Christian showed us the setup for Openstack and how everything is produced, which was a really nice insight as to what is going on in the background.

“Stretching the Service Mesh Beyond the Clouds” was the first talk after the break shown by Rosemary Wang. She demonstrated the uses of a service mesh, it’s advantages and disadvantages and the extra benefits of “streching” the mesh. Rosemary showed a typical topological map of how the services can be configured and the use of Consul and Terraform. The service mesh was then split over both a datacentre and a cloud which is great as it offers one place to control retries and error handling and progressive delivery across all environments. We saw a successful canary deployment and a manual reduction and redirection of traffic.

We all scream for icecream! 😛

Serhat Can joined us next to talk about “How DevOps changed the way we operate software”. Serhat spoke about the way software teams work together and the need for a shared responsibility. It is easy to push the blame onto another team, but what is needed is leadership support, transparency and ownership. He then compared software teams to formular one teams in a great analogy, where the expection should not just lie in one area, but the teams should be able to interact and take part in a variety of different departments.

How Agile are you?

Flo spotting Martin.

The next interesting topic came from Martin Hinshelwood with “The Tyranny of Taylorism and how to spot Agile BS”. Martin started off with some figures on what companies say they do and what they actually do. He then gave a quick recap of the management and work practices through the years and how they hold up today. Martin then engaged the audience with a series of truth questions that asked us whether or not our own companies are following the Agile guidelines, very creative!

After a quick break and discussions about board games and anime, we were joined by Lakmal Warusawithana who talked about “Reference Architecture for a Cloud Native Digital Enterprise”. Lakmal discusses the structure and operation on cloud native and the way the different tools are integrated. He tells us about how an API-led integration platform creates effective architechture and helps expand management capabilities. These capabilities help increase flexibility and productivity within a team.

Stephane’s Story: GitOps, Users, Drift

Our penultimate speaker for the day is Stephane Jourdan and “Why you should take care of infrastructure drift”. Stephane introduced IaC (Infrastructure as Code) users, their causes, consequences and also solutions and understanding drift. He then showed us a demo of how using driftctl can easily identify a problem with admin access and security groups from real world problems he had encountered. Driftctl could really save you from an embarresing talk with your manager!

Monitor everything with Thola

Last but definitly not least we had Tobias Berdin and “Introducing Thola – A tool for Monitoring and Provisioning Network Devices”. Tobias demonstrated the problems in monitoring by sending generic requests when specific requests are needed. This is where Thola comes in. It is compactly integrated into Ansible and serves as a unified interface for communication for a variety of devices with the added opportunity of creating additional device types.

Games, yeay!

The atmosphere from todays event was really great and one of my favourite things of the day was the amount of communication. Everyone really loosened up and got into the conference feel by chatting and joining our digital stackconf on Work Adventure. After the event there was a chance to relax and play some video games with everyone to help with the lack of seeing each other in person. Stay tuned for the final day and keep in the loop on our Twitter @NetwaysEvents.

Andrew Constant
Andrew Constant
Junior Systems Engineer

Andrew ist der NETWAYS Familie 2020 beigetreten. Er absolviert derzeit seine Ausbildung zum Fachinformatiker für Systemintegration im Bereich der NETWAYS Web Services. Der ehemalige Fremdsprachenkorrespondent und aus Northamptonshire stammende Engländer besticht durch seinen Humor und ergänzt das Team sehr gut. Seine Freizeit verbringt er gerne mit der Fotografie aber auch nach wie vor als Tandem Partner für neue Sprachen.