Since the COVID-19 related isolation started, behind “how do I work from home”, “What should I use for Video Conferencing” has been the second most asked question we have received.
There are many platforms for this, such as Teams, Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting, etc. The honest answer is you can use whatever platform you want, just be aware of what tools you are using and why you are using them – Don’t just use them because it seems to be what everyone is doing. Understand your chosen tool and what it means for you and your business.
When dealing with business related video conferencing, we recommend Microsoft Teams to our clients. Teams is not purely a video conferencing tool, but part of a much bigger collaboration platform and brings together chat, video, files and much more across the well known Microsoft Office ecosystem. Because most of our clients are already licensed for this platform, there are no additional accounts needed to get started, has the same security features as the rest of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem and makes up a key part of the ‘Modern Workplace‘ that many companies are already migrating to, it makes senses to take advantage of the Video Conferencing abilities inside the platform.
As mentioned there are many other platforms out there, all of which have seen an increase in use due to the pandemic, but Zoom is the platform that has seen an explosion of growth both across business and personal use. Zoom launched in 2013, making it a much younger platform than some of the other tools out there, however focusing primarily on video conferencing, they have brought features to the product that some of the other major players don’t have. These unique feature are what is growing the popularity of the platform and making it the go-to tool for video conferencing, specifically in the free tier.
Let’s Talk Security
We wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t talk about the large amount of security concerns that have surfaced about Zoom over recent weeks. Like many software providers, Zoom has had some security vulnerabilities exposed recently, however the extra and non “user-friendly” steps needed to make calls secure are making it “insecure by default”, causing a lot of problems for Zoom users, the CEO freezing any new features to focus on security, lawsuits being filed against Zoom, major companies banning the use of Zoom and even the FBI putting out a warning about using Zoom.
There is so much news about Zoom’s security issues at the moment, it’s hard to keep up, so if you are a Zoom user, we encourage you to Google ‘Zoom Security Issues’ and take a read to ensure you understand what is happening. Below are some of the more major stories around the platform to be aware of.
- A timeline of Zoom security issues: https://www.cnet.com/news/zoom-every-security-issue-uncovered-in-the-video-chat-app/
- Zoom Bombing: https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2020/03/20/trolls-zoombomb-work-from-home-videocall-with-filth/
- FBI Warning: https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/boston/news/press-releases/fbi-warns-of-teleconferencing-and-online-classroom-hijacking-during-covid-19-pandemic
- Zoom using weak encryption keys from China: https://www.itnews.com.au/news/zoom-meetings-weakly-encrypted-and-get-keys-from-china-546038
- Elon Musk bans Zoom at SpaceX: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-spacex-zoom-video-commn/elon-musks-spacex-bans-zoom-over-privacy-concerns-memo-idUSKBN21J71H
- Google bans Zoom software from laptops: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-google-zoom-idUSKCN21Q32V
- If you, or your business is using Zoom, then we highly suggest you take these five steps to ensure you are not at risk: https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2020/04/03/5-things-you-can-do-today-to-make-zooming-safer
With all of that said, it again comes back to understanding what you have available to you and using what makes sense. If there is a feature in Zoom you must use, then follow the instructions above to ensure you are secure, and feel free to use it. With reducing costs a focus for many businesses during this pandemic, be conscious of what you are already paying for before you engage in another $20 a month per user on Zoom licensing to have group meetings longer than 40 minutes for example – You may have everything you need already included with your Office 365 subscription and can minimise any additional spend by taking advantage of these tools.
If you would like any assistance breaking down features and costs between the major video conferencing platforms, please contact us and we will be happy to assist.