April 13, 2020 Zoom vs Microsoft Teams – Security and Privacy in a COVID-19 world Our POV on the Zoom v Microsoft Teams debate. Introduction In this article we take a look at the Zoom security flaws, some of Microsoft Teams strength and how we can keep video conferencing secure and private while enabling remote work in a post-COVID-19 world. Virtual collaboration platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams are phenomenal sources of unified communications. In the age of remote and mobile work, they enable continuous operability. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there was an instant demand for everything to be virtual. Corporate clients, government entities, schools, and institutions; all have chosen video conferencing and live streaming to continue operations. However, when hundreds of millions of users are interacting through any platform, the security of data continues to be a concern. The news of bombing a Zoom meeting aka Zoom bombing scandal has been doing the rounds nowadays. Shockingly, it allowed hackers to infiltrate chat rooms with profane content. Moreover, anyone could easily access or see the shared content online through Zoom. This all sums up to show that Zoom is vulnerable to threats and data exposure as well. As per the latest reports, Zoom’s services are now being discarded by many due to its serious security loopholes. Consequently, people are now in a fix asking a question of which platform is right to use? Is Teams the one to bank upon for all communications and safety-related issues? Though Zoom and Teams equally serve their best in creating video-collaboration culture, there are security differences that set them apart. Before we read about Teams security practices, let us first demystify the underlying causes of Zoom’s vulnerability: Zoom Anyone can join a Zoom meeting using a shared link without downloading any software. It is Zoom’s most enchanting feature that triggered its whopping usage worldwide. On the verge of making its services easy to its customers, Zoom enabled browser interface for one-touch meeting joins from standards-based video endpoints. It eventually caused Zoom connector application to create unsecured URLs lacking authentication controls to login to the Zoom cloud. Sadly, it leaves a giant room for unauthorized users to easily control video endpoints from any browser without login credentials. They can manipulate cameras, make calls and invoke device settings without permission. Along with other security issues, Zoom is also found to be using a weaker encryption algorithm to encode audio and video data. Needless to say, the software can be easily tampered by cybercriminals. Microsoft Teams Microsoft Teams is built on Office 365 hyper-scale. The strong cybersecurity and compliance controls create a sturdy groundwork to prevent phishing attempts or ransomware attacks. The two-factor authentication process in Teams protects accounts from identity theft. Also, encrypted user data transmissions using Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP) prevents potential data leaks. It further ensures risk-free document sharing and data storage in Teams. Teams stores sensitive data in SharePoint, OneDrive for Business, Exchange, Stream, and Groups. To fetch any information from these controlled repositories, one needs eDiscovery rights. With Teams, attendees can be easily managed in meetings keeping the user access transparent. If you want to allow guest users to attend your meetings, you can do it while retaining complete control over your environment. You can even restrict users to share any content. Additionally, Teams integrates advanced AI for automating the detection of bullying, trolling or illicit messages through chat and conversations. All sumps up to provide you an enhanced collaboration experience covering you with safety. Summary As a key player in collaboration, Microsoft Teams pledges to secure user information complying with more than 90 regulatory standards and laws. If you are using Teams for collaboration, you must remain confident that your privacy is Microsoft’s priority and commitment. Coming back to comparing Zoom with Teams, I would suggest using Zoom for having public conversations only. But if you are an organization that doesn’t compromise with security at all, then definitely Teams is a valid choice for you. Stay Safe! Know more about adoption, governance and automation for Microsoft Teams in our articles.