Zoom, Zoom, Zoom – Their goes your privacy and security.

Posted April 8, 2020 in Security

Micah Bevitz

The sudden shift to remote working due to the global pandemic has made Zoom a household name. From your kid’s music classes and your favorite workout to virtual happy hours and work meetings in your pajamas, everybody seems to be using Zoom for just about everything. I am sure you’ve heard or seen a few of the horror stories about people sharing their screens when they did not intend to or microphones and video left on accidentally. Although those issues are terrifying on a personal level, they do not compare to the security and privacy breaches that have and will continue to occur with the sheer number of users and use Zoom is experiencing.

The pitfalls of Zoom technology have begun to show as use has increased, including encryption, user and guest privacy concerns and contact data leaks. The good news is other alternatives have enhanced safety and security features. In fact, many of my clients already have a web conferencing system built-in with their phone system but are either unaware of the feature or unfamiliar with how to use it.

Mitel Cloud has an excellent multi-channel collaboration tool. This cutting-edge team-focused application allows for seamless movement between a project chat to a one-on-one or group video conference and then back to the chat. This feature has many advantages over the single-use Zoom meeting since it’s persistent and project-based. If your company already has Mitel Cloud, then this is a far superior option to Zoom and much easier to administrate.

If you have an E3 or E5 O365 account, you already have a web conferencing package available too. I am personally very fond of the job CallTower does with the O365 and Teams environment. As many end-users and IT professionals are aware, Microsoft products take some tweaking and configuration to work well. However, when done correctly, using O365 and Teams can deliver a user experience that will integrate a majority of their work applications into their web collaboration tool, which also includes video conferencing.

Being able to access work functions and information from inside a web conference can be invaluable to a company that has a team-based approach to work. The key is to have a partner who can assist your IT in setting up the direct routing and phone configurations. Having a partner, like iTelecom, to implement this is crucial to the experience.

Star2Star is not far behind with its rollout of Starhub. This multi-channel, project-based system integrates video conferencing as well as other open API applications within it. Does your payroll and accounting teams need to access Quickbooks files and fields while within a web conference instead of just showing a screen of someone using it? Would it be handy to be able to pull up your Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive account within your collaboration tool? Tired of re-logging the same information in your CRM that someone just sent you? With Starhub these work functions and integrations can be automated and synched across an entire enterprise or specific work groups. Starhub takes your projects and work experience and merges them into a single pane of glass.

Join.ME, Zoom’s closes competitor, is also a great alternative. A robust standalone product like Zoom, Join.ME is an excellent fit for companies that do not have a current system with web conferencing capabilities like those I mentioned above. Join.Me is very intuitive and provides for the same basic features as Zoom, although it is more secure. According to their site,

“While the current acceptable standard is 128-bit TLS (Transport Layer Security) encryption for sending and receiving sensitive information, join.me enhances your data protection with 256-bit TLS encryption, treating your data as securely as your bank account.”

So if you like Zoom, but prefer a company that takes your security and privacy more seriously, then Join.Me is a great fit.

The moral of the story is that nothing should be shared or discussed on Zoom that you don’t want the publ8ic to know about. If your communications are sensitive, I would recommend moving to one of the platforms I outlined above.