Security Concerns Cause Gloom for Zoom
When Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the UK, sent out a tweet that included his computer screen showing his first cabinet meeting on Zoom, little did he know that he was helping hackers find their way into his meeting. His monitor clearly showed the meeting ID, and sharing it with the whole world on social media was like giving hackers a key to their conference room.
Unfortunately for Zoom, that’s not the only story about their web video conferencing platform that’s been in the news recently. Massachusetts online school sessions have been crashed by harassing hackers. Zoom has covertly been sending data to Facebook. It turns out that the platform didn’t really have the level of encryption that they purported to have. And thousands of screenshots containing meeting IDs have been circulating in hacker networks.
Is Zoom's Response Enough?
It appears that Zoom is trying to make amends. Last week they sent out an email to account holders with a long list of updates that they’re making to the platform. They’re certainly hustling to close privacy and security holes, but this activity has only happened after organizations such as Google, Elon Musk’s Space X, the US Department of Defense, and the German government – to name a few - have banned its use. There are also several lawsuits pertaining to security breaches in progress.
Zoom has stated that they are delaying feature updates in order to focus on security. They’re not the only tech company to do this. Microsoft has paused new releases of Edge, and Google is pausing new releases of Chrome in order to focus on security and stability.
Software Vulnerabilities Exploited
All software has vulnerabilities. Software developers know this, and hackers know this too. Cyber criminals are constantly looking for these potential holes, and developers are trying to close them. That’s why it’s so important to use supported software so that you get the latest version that has patched up the hole. Too bad Zoom didn’t patch before all this happened and they gained notoriety for bringing a new verb into our vocabulary – Zoombomb.
With the exodus of workers from employer to work-from-home locations, and families and friends trying to stay in touch during shelter-at-home orders, Zoom has experienced a huge boom in utilization going from about 10 million to 200 million users in the matter of a few weeks.
The security issues, however, have tarnished their reputation and many people are wondering if it’s safe to use Zoom.
Practice Good Security Habits When Using Zoom for Business
If you use Zoom for business, take time to learn about all of the security features that are available. A few of these features include:
- Don't share your meeting link or show your meeting ID on social media.
- Utilize the waiting room to control who enters your meeting.
- Use a password to protect your meeting and lock the meeting after everyone has joined.
- Control screen sharing to one participant at a time.
- Change your password and follow best practices for password management.
If you have lingering questions about using Zoom, you should contact your IT department to and get their take on the platform and your particular business needs for data security.
Re-evaluate Your Video Conferencing Options
Whether or not you’ve been using Zoom, it might be a good idea to take a step back and ask yourself if you’re using the video platform that best meets your needs. Here are a few questions that you should include in your evaluation:
1. What level of security do we need?
If you need to comply with regulations for privacy and confidentiality, then you no doubt need a higher level of security than you do for a happy hour with your cousins.
2. Are there other features we'd like?
Video conferencing combined with other communication tools like messaging and file sharing can improve the way your team collaborates.
3. What training is available?
You may underutilize what you’re paying for if your people don’t have an understanding of all that the platform can do. Training should include lessons on security settings that the user has in their control.
4. Can the platform integrate with our other applications?
The platform you’re considering may have an app directory that will quickly show you if you can combine it with tools you already use. Discovering integrations might give you ideas on how you can improve collaboration with video conferencing.
5. Does it fit into our budget?
A free plan is probably not going to give you the features that you need for business. Prices are usually based on how many users you have. Right now many video conferencing platforms are offering discounts in addition to free trials.
Accent’s Recommendation – Microsoft Teams
Here at Accent, we’re pointing most of our clients to Microsoft Teams, the video conferencing platform that is part of the Microsoft 365 family. Some of the reasons why we like Teams include:
- Meets rigorous security and compliance specifications.
- Schedule video conferences with internal or external participants.
- Meetings and calls can be started with a click.
- Integrates with all the other Microsoft 365 apps.
- Integrates with many other applications outside of Microsoft 365.
- Messaging capability decreases inbox clutter.
- Organizes workspace into different topics, projects and issues.
IT Guidance and Support
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About Courtney Casey
In an industry dominated by men, Courtney Casey, Director of Marketing for Accent Computer Solutions, Inc., is making her mark on the world of information technology. Courtney has been immersed in the IT field most of her life and has been molded into the tech savvy expert she is today. She began working for Accent while earning her Bachelor's degree from California State University, Long Beach. Known in the Inland Empire as the "Tech Girl," Courtney is a regular columnist for the region's newspaper of record, The Press-Enterprise. Her columns address topical news trends, new technology products, and offer advice on how to embrace technology or avoid common IT pitfalls.