Recent reports raise concerns, but I was hoping to raise my glass
In an open letter to all Zoom users, CEO Eric Yuan said that in December 2019, the maximum number of daily Zoom participants reached about 10 million. In March 2020, that number exceeded 200 million. Even now, the company is still racing to catch up with its sudden growth, working rapidly to properly scale security and optimize service for a whole new world of use cases...such as my biweekly 6:30 happy hours with the gals.
Like so many others in the world, my close friends and I have quickly come to count on these digital social hours for sanity and connection in this isolated time. But when I saw that some cities like New York were banning Zoom use for classroom learning due to security issues, I needed to learn more before continuing the 6:30 sangrias. How serious were these security flaws? I dug in and did some research.
Zoom was initially intended for, and used by, enterprise customers. The security and privacy of the participants was largely overseen and managed by those institutions’ IT staffs. Recent events, however, have driven tens of millions of individuals to Zoom for everything from work meetings to school lessons to religious gatherings to plain old hangout sessions.
Increased use of the service garnered increased scrutiny. The Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto ran an in-depth study of Zoom’s security and found that its encryption should be upgraded. They conclude that the service is not secure enough for use by governments worried about espionage or professionals handling highly sensitive topics, but “For those using Zoom to keep in touch with friends, hold social events, or organize courses or lectures that they might otherwise hold in a public or semi-public venue, our findings should not necessarily be concerning.”
Sangria’s a go, people.
The host holds all the security power in Zoom meetings, and that’s me. Zoom security controls are user-friendly, and it’s easy to add the right measures that eliminate Zoombombing and other risks. Here are my Zoom social hour security and settings tips:
You can check the Zoom blog has more tips on securing meetings. CEO Eric Yuan acknowledged the security missteps in a CNN interview, where he vowed to improve on that front. “We learned our lesson,” he said, “And we double down and triple down on privacy and security before we do anything. We want Zoom to be the privacy-and-security-first company.”
With over 200 million daily users, I believe they have the drive to get there, and I bet it won’t take long. In the meantime, the happy hours stand. Go get that dose of human interaction and social connection. Let’s be apart together. Cheers!
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