Zoom: Is the platform really fit for internal communication video conferencing?

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Schools in the US have announced a ban of the use of video communications service Zoom in the classrooms, due to concerns over privacy and security. In the UK, the Government has come under criticism for using the platform to hold Cabinet video conferences. As organisations and internal teams rapidly adopt new technologies to enable communications across teams while they work from home, we explore the role of Zoom and how it stacks up for internal communications use. 

Zoom, like all video conferencing platforms, has seen a surge in usage since the COVID-19 crisis began. In 2019, according to Techradar Zoom had 10 million users at the end of the year. Since the beginning of March 2020, it has a reported 200 million – and growing – users.  

Despite the swell of its use, criticism over the security of the platform was quick to follow. Reports of ‘zoom-bombing’ have been fairly extensive; hackers crashing private meetings and taking control of screens has resulted in US schools banning the platform. The UK Government also came under fire for using the platform with analysts and researchers raising concerns over how older versions of the app were used to send analytics data to Facebook and its lack of end-to-end encryption – as well as wider security and privacy flaws which have been exposed.  

The company’s CEO and founder Eric Yuan acknowledged their privacy and security shortfalls in a blog post last week and shared their proposed solutions. 

As the pressure on businesses heats up to introduce new, or improved, technologies to enable whole teams of employees to work from home, it’s been an interesting debate to follow on social – we’re all seeing images shared of teams and families joining in a video conference call  

Without doubt video conferencing is a crucial component of being able to operate in today’s world. And I suspect its usage will continue long-after we’re back in our offices.  

But, when it comes to the workplace, what platform is right for internal communications?  

In quick (very unscientific!) post I shared on LinkedIn, without question, the internal communications and HR community fell into two categories. Zoom for personal use, Microsoft Teams for work use.   

It’s intuitive platform and its integration with Office 365 makes it the obvious choice for many.   

We also must acknowledge the long-standing stalwarts of the video-conferencing world, Cisco Webex and GoToMeeting. Both of which, unsurprisingly, have also reported an increase of users as well as the the introduction of new features. GoToMeeting now offers plug-ins for Office 365 and Google Calendar. Webex has been offering this for some time, but their fully encrypted systems should provide confidence in their application and use across organisations.  

However, as efforts are ramped up to get the right technology in place and long-term IT roadmaps being revisited, how can you make sure you’re introducing the right platform. Not just for now, but also the long-term?  

From our experience, it pays to consider the following:  

  • What are the features you need?  
  • What are the benefits/ drawbacks to each platform option?  
  • Are you doubling up, if so, which one is best integrated with your current/ planned IT systems?  
  • How are you going to train people on how to use it?  
  • Do you need – or want – a governance model?  
  • How confident are you in the security the platform provides?  
  • How do you expect it to be used? How will people know this?  

 Technology and the vendors behind the platforms are evolving all the time. Conduct due diligence, think about the long-term and train your people well.  

So, do we think Zoom is a viable platform for business use? No. At least not until some fundamental concerns over security have been addressed. In current times, we need to think carefully about the tools we are providing our teams with and the potential risk which we might be exposing our businesses to.  

Author: Lisa Pantelli, Head of Content & Community at simply-communicate  

 Are you new to teams or looking to learn more about MS Teams features? At simply we are rolling out weekly Microsoft teams training, which is free to those who support or work with NHS. Click here to find out more about our training dates. Or, if you need any advice or support on the roll-out of a new platform, get in touch with Jonathan Philips, for a free, no-obligation 30-minute consultation.