Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the Zoom video conferencing app has become a necessity for millions of users across the world to hold conference meetings, classes, video chats, etc.. But with Zoom over-growing popularity, the question over its security issues also boomed side-by-side. Data leaks, unauthorized personals on zoom calling, cyber attacks, etc., all these issues hit the company with a bang.
If we talk about the revenue generated by Zoom, it surged by 169% to $328 million in the three months to the end of April. The number of users went to 300 million per day in April 2020, which was 10 million per day back in December 2019.
Why Not use Zoom App?
As we all know the origin of this app is from China, there’s also rumors going on that the Chinese are trying to steal our data to use it for mischievous purposes. Various Governments across the world banned the usage of the Zoom app for educational purposes. Even companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, IBM, etc. warned their employees to not use the Zoom app for holding meetings. It is justifiable because everyone knows that China is behind the Coronavirus outbreak that leads to the shutdown of the whole world.
Also, the app is not end-to-end encrypted. If you are not familiar with this term, then let me guide you on what meaning it holds in such an app. End-to-end encryption is the gold standard of encryption because no one can access your data, not even law enforcement or Zoom itself. It assures that your data is safe from privacy leakage and add an extra layer to prevent cyber attacks.
Zoom 5.0 is the recent version so far, which offers a better level of encryption to stop Zoom bombing (According to the company itself). But, don’t believe in such rumors because it’s still not end-to-end encrypted, nor they are planning to do so. The service is only available to paid accounts of Zoom. CEO Eric Yuan also confirmed that the company has no plans to add end-to-end encryption for free accounts. The company wants to “work with law enforcement.” mentioned by Eric Yuan in his statement. The service is only available for paid users.
But, if you have to hold a business meeting, or you are a teacher who wants to hold online classes, you should try something else instead. Here, I’ll be mentioning four alternatives that you can use instead of Zoom App:
Google Meet is a new service launched by Google for secure business meetings, which is free and available for everyone. It allows users to join scheduled or pre-scheduled meetings via calendar events, enter meeting code, and choose the meeting link. The user can also dial in from mobile phones if the invitation consists of a phone number. Also known as the business-oriented version of the Google Hangouts platform, the app is suitable for every business domain. It includes features like real-time captions and supports up to 100,000 live stream viewers and 250 participants.
Skype has been around for almost two decades and known by the go-to platform for holding one-on-one conversations since it was launched. Now, Skype has added a Meet Now feature (located at the left side of the app) to allow video conferencing. Depending on your device and platform, the maximum no. of participants can vary. You can also hold a free video meeting without signing up for the service. But you get more features if you are using the paid account on the Skype app. Its important features include:
- Call recording up to 30 days.
- Background blur if you have the app
- Share your presentations
Microsoft Teams is a new communication and collaboration tool that offers both, free and paid versions of the platform. It consists of certain advanced features in the paid plan. On one video call, you can connect up to 50 people. In the free version of the Teams, you get unlimited video calling, file sharing, chat, storage, and more – for as long as you want. The platform offers 10GB of team file storage and 2GB of personal file storage per individual. It comes with real-time collaboration with office apps for the web that includes Excel, OneNote, Word, and PowerPoint.
Most of the companies that fall under Fortune 500 use Cisco Webex Meetings for video conferencing. Its re-designed model offers you a modern and secure way of holding video-first meetings, which are more productive and intuitive. You can try its free version for 30 days. It is easy to set up and offers a new mobile experience with a new line of integrated video devices. In the free-version of Cisco Webex Meetings, around 50 to 100 participants can be connected, offers unlimited timing for each meeting, and have call-in for audio.
COVID-19 is not going anywhere. We have to learn how to live along with it. So we should keep ourselves safe while we are in our houses. Try out these alternatives instead of Zoom and keep your data safe, as-much-as possible. Let me know which platform you use. I use Google Meet & WhatsApp.