It seems that in a blink of an eye video conferencing has become the essential way that we connect in our daily lives and work. It has become vital for a broad range of jobs, from teachers educating our children from the comfort of their own homes to first responders communicating from the front line when lives depend on it; this means that it is becoming increasingly important that these channels of communication are private and secure. In this blog, we are going to talk about two of the main video conferencing platforms: Microsoft Teams and Zoom and how they fair in general, and when it comes to security.
Zoom is known for it’s easy, seamless user experience that allows reliable and high-quality video calls. It is simple for attendees to join a video call, as they join via a link shared to them, without needing to download any software.
It also has some pretty cool features such as:
+ The ability to share your screen with others during your video call so that you can share your work, presentation, lecture, pub quiz ….
+ You can easily mute and turn off your own video and others (if you are the host) to allow clear, productive calls
+ You can easily record your meetings in Zoom
+ Zoom allows you to change your background. This is useful when you have a messy background or fancy a change of scenery
+ Breakout Rooms allow you to split your meeting and participants into smaller, virtual groups where they can discuss and collaborate and join the main group afterwards
As you can see Zoom is great for anything from virtual pub quizzes, family catch-ups, darts matches, bootcamp, lectures and so on. Zoom have experienced an influx in the number and types of users due to COVID-19, as Eric Yuan, the founder of Zoom said:
"As of the end of December last year, the maximum number of daily meeting participants, both free and paid, was approximately 10 million. In March this year, we reached more than 200 million”
Although these are brilliant statistics, this has brought about some concerns around a series of issues relating to Zooms privacy and security issues. Which is why for anything private and sensitive we would suggest using Microsoft Teams, as a better, more secure option.
There have been a range of issues brought to light :
+ Zoom bombing is a fairly new trend whereby uninvited guests will join video calls and shout abuse. This happens when they guess the nine-digit meeting ID code, or it is leaked on the web. In one particular case, a holocaust memorial was Zoombombed with Hitler images. This has lead to conversations around whether companies and governments should be using Zoom for meetings, as it is obviously not fully secure. This has resulted in some major companies banning Zoom e.g. Google.
+ Zoom wrongly claimed the app had end to end encryption, as this was proved wrong in a report by Intercept. Having end to end encryption is important for privacy and security as it is widely regarded as the most secure and private form of internet communication, that protects your data and calls from external parties.
+ Recently, they had to fix a bug that left Mac users susceptible to having their mics and cameras hacked.
+ They also had to change some of their policies as they were secretly sending data to Facebook for advertising purposes. Furthermore, Zoom was connecting users to their LinkedIn accounts and exposing their LinkedIn profiles, a feature which they have now disabled.
Likewise, with Zoom Microsoft Teams has seen a significant rise in the number of users more than doubling since November 2019 to more than 44 million. Teams allows you chat, meet, call and collaborate all in one place. Thus, Teams is more than just a video conferencing platform, it is a digital workplace that allows collaboration and communication. For this blog we are going to focus mainly on the video conferencing aspect of Teams.
Some fab features of Teams are :
+ You can have up to 250 people in a meeting, and 10,000 people in presentation mode
+ New Feature alert ! The new raise hands feature means that attendees can raise their virtual hand which appears on the screen and in the participant list. It means more people can and will actively participate in conversations.
+ It is very simple and easy to share your screen, resources and meeting notes in one place before , during and after the video call using the chat feature
+ Teams has the ability to blur your background, so if you have a messy distracting background you can blur it out with on click
+ New feature alert ! You can now set custom, cool backgrounds on your video and can be anywhere from a tropical beach to being back in the office.
Lessons from Teams
Zoom and Teams are both the top video conferencing platforms, yet in the last few months Zoom has faced a series of issues regarding security and privacy whereas Teams has not.
The vice president for Office 365, Jared Spataro said recently that :
‘Now more than ever, people need to know their virtual conversations are private and secure. At Microsoft, privacy and security are never an afterthought’
There are some key lessons Zoom could learn from Teams :
+ Controlling External Access – In Teams you decide who from outside the company will be able to join meetings directly, and who has to wait in the lobby for someone to approve their access
+ Ads – Microsoft Teams will not use your data to serve ads, your data is deleted after your subscription ends
+ Transparency reports – Teams regularly publish transparency reports specifying how they respond to 3rd party requests for data
+ Teams has end to end encryption, so that it’s users have the most secure and private connection
+ Can use Multi-Factor Authentication– this feature protects you from hackers who take advantage of weak usernames and passwords. As you have to provide a second form of identification to prove your identity when logging in.
As you can see Teams and Zoom are both very good, high quality video conferencing apps with great features. But all in all, we think it is pretty clear that you should use Microsoft Teams over Zoom, especially for business purposes, due to the strong security and privacy rules in place. Furthermore, with Teams you get so much more than video conferencing platform, you get a whole digital workplace! Which allows to collaborate effectively, and easily whether your working remotely or in the office.
If you’re interested in how we can help set up remote working within your company by getting you set up on Microsoft Teams, please get in contact with us here. If you want to learn more about WFH feel free to check out our blog.