In February 2020, Zoom added more users than it did in the entirety of 2019. major media platforms started using Zoom to stream broadcasts from at-home anchors, and “ Zooming ” promptly became eponymous with video recording chats and virtual meetings.
SEE: Zoom video conferencing: Cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Zoom ’ s explosive growth came with increased focus on security and privacy issues that went largely unnoticed before. major companies and governments around the global have been banning rapid climb from work use, and half a million sets of drug user credentials have even been found for sale on the Dark Web .
Zoom has pledged to fix a long list of security issues, but that hasn ’ thymine stopped a third of users from getting cold feet. so, is Zoom still a video recording conferencing app worth using ? If so, who should use it when thus much personal and business security system could be at risk ? Learn more by reading this Zoom basics guide .
SEE: How to use Zoom: 15 tips and tricks (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
What is Zoom?
zoom is video recording conferencing software for Windows, macOS, Linux, and mobile devices that run io or Android. It supports one-on-one calls, angstrom well as group meetings that can hold up to 100 users for dislodge or 500 users with an extra purchase .
soar, the ship’s company, was founded in 2011 by Eric Yuan, and the Zoom application was released in 2013. Zoom has been lauded for its simple interface, facilitate of use, and approachability to non-tech understanding people, which has aided in its steady ascent as a television conferencing app of option for humble businesses, enterprises, and individuals. By 2017, Zoom had grown into a unicorn party by reaching $ 1 billion in evaluation .
Along with its desktop and mobile apps, Zoom offers solutions for enterprise conference rooms, browser extensions, on-line seminars, and a vane node that allows meet participants to attend meetings without having to install the Zoom app .
soar has attracted many users by having a robust unblock tier, which allows meetings of up to 100 people without restricting any app features, rather limiting meetings for free accounts to 40 minutes .
Is Zoom safe to use?
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom saw a massive spike in users because of stay-at-home orders. By the end of March 2020, security issues started being reported .
TechRepublic sister site CNET has a entire summation of all the security defect discovered in Zoom since March ; here are some of the highlights .
- March 26: An investigation finds that Zoom is sending exploiter data to Facebook without license. Zoom removed its Facebook data solicitation the pursue day .
- March 30: Another probe finds that Zoom is not using end-to-end encoding, Zoom fail are first gear reported, and multiple flaws in both the windows and macOS versions of Zoom are reported .
- April 1: Zoom is treating electronic mail addresses with the like domain ( for example, ISPs, but not email-only services like Gmail ) as if they belong to the same company, allowing countless users access to names, photos, and e-mail addresses of other users. Zoom CEO Eric Yuan issues a public apology, and Zoom freezes all feature rollouts to focus on security system fixes .
- April 2: A datum mine have is discovered that allows some users to gain access to LinkedIn profiles of other Zoom users .
- April 3: Recordings of thousands of Zoom meetings, many containing individual data, are found freely viewable and unguaranteed on the world wide web. Zoom issues another apology, and reveals it ’ randomness using AES-128 encoding rather of the much more impregnable AES-256 .
- April 5: Zoom admits in a argument that some calls were being by chance routed through a whitelisted server located in China .
- April 6: The beginning solicitation of Zoom accounts is found for sale on the dark web .
- April 13: A far 500,000 Zoom accounts are found for sale on the dark vane, with many costing a little as a few cents .
- April 16: Two new privacy bugs are discovered : One allows an attacker to view and download Zoom merging videos stored in the cloud via an unguaranteed link, and a moment lets deleted meet recordings be viewed in the obscure for hours after deletion .
- April 20: Former engineers at Zoom partner Dropbox revealed that the caller know of a 2019 Mac exploit months before finally addressing it .
- April 22: Security researchers discover a flaw in Zoom that, with the proper malware, could allow record of a meeting without host or attendant cognition, even if record is disabled .
- April 28: A united states government intelligence report card warns that Zoom could be vulnerable to spying by foreign governments .
- May 8: The New York Attorney General ’ second position closed its inquiry into Zoom ’ s security system problems, citing increased security in Zoom 5.0 that led to the New York City Department of Education to allow it back into classrooms. litigation continues in Connecticut and between Zoom and investors/shareholders .
Zoom has issued numerous apologies and pledged to improve its security .
SEE: All of TechRepublic’s cheat sheets and smart person’s guides
Some of the security issues, like Zoom bombing, can be addressed by users taking steps to protect their video meetings, and Zoom has enabled by default option many of the security features needed to do so. other issues like hapless encoding, miss of throughout encoding during meetings, and account larceny can ’ thymine be stopped by effective Zoom exploiter habits .
Zoom released Zoom 5.0 in late April 2020, addressing many of the security issues listed above. Features and enhancements in Zoom 5.0 admit :
- AES 256-bit encoding, which brings Zoom in-line with early video conferencing apps ;
- Data rout controls, which allow account administrators to control which datum centers meetings are routed through, probably to address the accidental rout of calls to China ;
- The move of security system settings in one menu for meet hosts, located on the penetrate bar during a Zoom call ;
- The wait room is now on by nonpayment ;
- meet passwords are now on by nonpayment, and account admins can set their own password complexity rules ;
- cloud recordings are now password protected ;
- Changes to contact sharing to eliminate reach data leaks ;
- Admin splashboard changes that allow administrators to track how meetings are connected to data centers ;
- Chat notifications can optionally not show a preview of messages ;
- Non-personal meet ID codes have been lengthened to 11 digits ; and
- Invite options and meeting IDs have been relocated to the participants menu to make it harder to by chance share meet IDs .
Zoom said that adaptation 5.0 is a key milestone in its 90-day security system plan, with Zoom CEO Eric Yuan saying the company is working to earn customers ’ trust in the inflame of a hanker list of security incidents .
As of January 2021, Zoom is up to version 5.4.6, which has added extra security and quality of life features such as :
- The ability for hosts to pause audio, video recording, screen communion, and text new world chat in orderliness to remove disruptive members
- player activities, like break rooms, can besides be closed at will
- The ability to reputation users has been added, which will boot them from a touch and send an alert to Zoom ’ randomness Trust and Safety team .
- individual participants can besides report disruptive users ( this can be enabled or disabled by administrators )
several extra features were besides announced at Zoomtopia, Zoom ’ s on-line league that took rate in October 2020. These include :
- The official rollout of end-to-end encoding to all users, which became available in deep October 2020
- New customizable SDKs
- The insertion of Zapps ( Zoom apps ), which can be written by first- and third-party developers
- A raw chopine called OnZoom, which allows Zoom users to create monetize classes, fundraisers, performances, and early ticket events for ampere many people as their particular license ( absolve or paid ) will allow
Zoom besides announced modern functions to its incorporate communication chopine, including :
- The ability for meeting hosts to set custom backgrounds for all participants
- accompaniment for ache home plate devices like Facebook Portal, Amazon Echo Show, and Nest Hub Max
- New whiteboarding features
- Video support in waiting rooms
The latest interpretation of Zoom can be downloaded from Zoom.us, and those with stream Zoom installations should update their apps immediately. The Zoom desktop app will besides prompt users to download the latest version of it is out of date .
How does Zoom compare to Microsoft Teams, Skype, and Google Hangouts?
Zoom has a fortune of competition, and its holocene missteps have opened some very big windows for those competitors to step in and capture some of its market share. TechRepublic recently wrote about 10 Zoom alternatives, and some of those options have flush added Zoom-like features recently to draw away security-conscious users .
free video chat options similar to Zoom include :
- Microsoft Teams, the Microsoft 365-integrated video chat platform, has been extended for free to anyone with an email address, and Microsoft has lifted meeting user limits to help those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Until further notice, free meetings will support up to 300 people for up to 24 hours.
- Skype video calls can be attended by up to 100 people. For small business teams, this makes it an ideal option.
- Google Hangouts is free for individual users. Google’s enterprise product, Meet, is now free for anyone with a Google account, making it a serious Zoom competitor.
What are Zoom’s best features for business users?
The allure of Zoom international relations and security network ’ t only in its myriad features, but besides in its incredible serviceability. Zoom is designed with non-tech people in mind : Its interface is childlike, signing up is quick and hassle-free, and it works well with minimal user input. Anyone looking for a video conference solution for teams with people who don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate like, or are unfamiliar with, mod technical school will find Zoom a great solution .
Any business using Zoom or considering using it should keep an eye on technical school news about security system issues, and be sure to follow best security practices to protect your Zoom calls from unauthorized entrance. even with the addition of throughout encoding and other features, it ’ randomness significant to ensure all the appropriate security options are enabled .
If Zoom ’ randomness security troubles over the course of 2020 aren ’ t enough to dissuade you from adopting it for clientele web conferencing, there are several enterprise features worth considering .
Video conferencing with Zoom, which is a loose intersection with restrictions, can be upgraded with one of respective plans that expand its features to include more participants, extra security features ( like SSO, exploiter management, and administrator controls ), and other features .
SEE: The future of work: Tools and strategies for the digital workplace (ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature) | Download the free PDF version (TechRepublic)
soar Rooms is one such propose. At $ 49 room/month, Zoom Rooms integrates with existing A/V hardware in meet rooms and features many of the user-friendly aspects of the regular Zoom app at a larger scale. Zoom Rooms has one-touch meeting articulation, wireless partake, interactional whiteboard confirm, and its own scalable and supported hardware that can adapt to meeting rooms of versatile sizes .
Zoom besides has a webinar platform that extends 100-person meetings to allow up to 10,000 view-only attendees. The 100 participants have the ability to use Zoom just like a regular shout, making it ideal for empanel discussions, media events, and education .
There ’ south besides Zoom Phone, a cloud-hosted enterprise phone-as-a-service platform that lets businesses offload their enterprise earphone systems to free up a spot of server board space. Zoom Phone integrates with Salesforce, Office 365, and G Suite out of the box, and call calls can be turned into Zoom calls with a single chatter .
Whether your occupation should choose, and by extension faith, Zoom is up to you and your information technology leaders. With most of Zoom ’ s enterprise features being designed for offices and not distant workers ( with the exception of premium video conferencing tiers ), it may make sense to delay a decision until Zoom has a prospect to fix its security issues and repair its reputation .
Is Zoom free?
Companies and individuals can sign up for, and get started with, Zoom by creating a free Zoom explanation at its web site. Organizations considering a bounty tier of Zoom can find out more about pricing on its plans page, from which subscriptions can besides be purchased .
Zoom has four pricing tiers, which include the be features :
free tier Zoom users get :
- A 100-person detonator on meetings
- 40 infinitesimal clock limits on group meetings ( one-on-one calls have no limit )
- local television recording
- access to the Zoom network client
- ticket support
Pro tier ( $ 14.99 calendar month per license, soap of 9 licenses per organization ) adds :
- 30-hour meeting durations
- 1 GB of defile repositing for suffer recordings
- access to Zoom ’ s developer APIs
- REST API rate limits
- Meeting scheduler deputation
- Skype for Business interoperability
The business grade ( $ 19.99 month/license, 10 license minimum ) adds :
- A 300 exploiter meet cap
- Phone support
- An admin console with drug user management, metric report, and feature enable/disable abilities
- Vanity URLs
- On-premise deployment options
- Managed domains
- company post ( for apps, invitations, and in meetings )
- automatic pistol transcriptions of merging recordings stored in the Zoom cloud
The enterprise tier, Zoom ’ mho largest ( $ 19.99 month/license, 50 license minimum ) adds :
- 500 meeting participants ( up to 1,000 with extra package leverage )
- Unlimited cloud memory
- Dedicated support person
- Additional business metrics ( ROI, adoption psychoanalysis, and roadmapping )
- Bundle discounts on other Zoom enterprise products
Zoom recently added Zoom United Business as a fourth pack extend, which includes the suffer features of the business tier, along with Zoom Phone overhaul with outright calling in the US and Canada, with optional inexhaustible calling to 18 other countries .
How do I use Zoom?
Check out the Zoom tips published on TechRepublic, which include :
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