Zoom went from a decent app with a competitive video-conferencing offering to one of the most used and talked about communication tools of the year thanks to the immediate need for people to work from home as a result of COVID-19. While Zoom’s userbase and share price has since skyrocketed upwards, its sudden growth did come with a few drawbacks.
The company did offer some form of encryption for its calls, but only between each meeting participant and its servers, and even then, only for its very expensive enterprise option which many people were not prepared to pay for. It’s a major security blemish that puts much of Zoom’s communications at risk of hacking, though surprisingly it hasn’t appeared to lessen people’s appetite for using it as a communication app.
Zoom has finally announced that end-to-end encryption is coming to all users on the Basic and Pro Plans, though free accounts will need to verify their phone numbers using SMS and will also need a valid billing option associated with their account. The biggest issue though is that Zooms E2EE meetings will only support a maximum of 200 participants across all plans. Something which won’t affect most users, but for business or enterprise users who are able to have up to 300 or 500 participants in a single meeting, it is a bit of a problem.
Additionally the encryption will not work with a few of Zoom’s features like cloud recording, live transcription, polling, meeting reactions, and join before host features. There will also be no way for people to join via telephone, on-premises configurations, or via Lync/Skype clients if the encryption is enabled, something which may still continue to cause issues.
The restrictions aren’t ideal, but it’s good to see Zoom finally starting to address its security concerns. Zoom may still be popular because of the great quality of video calling it provides, but the security features remain a big risk for many companies who are hesitant to use the technology. These changes are also just the first of four phases that Zoom is adopting to improve its quality, with better identity management, support for single sign-on key features in the commercial space, only coming out next year.
Last Updated: October 29, 2020