Worried about Unsecured Web Calls? Why you should move to using Microsoft Teams

Avoid hackers and nosy interceptors invading your private communications. Especially, if your job involves handling sensitive company information or customers’ personal data, using a secure web calling app is critical.

Avoid Getting ‘Zoom-bombed’

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing a surge for work-from-home video calls, Zoom was one of the top web conferencing app options. The platform gained instant popularity – but not in a good way due to a serious security issue dubbed as ‘Zoom-bombing’. Taking advantage of Zoom’s lack of security, digital trolls employed a variety of different malicious tactics including hijacking or blocking shared screens, removing attendees from virtual meetings, spoofing messages from users, or broadcasting offensive video materials right in the middle of work-related or school-related discussions.

Zoom CEO Eric Yuan acknowledged that they have failed to meet the expectations of the online community and even issued an apology via Youtube live streaming. Security experts and privacy advocates remain concerned that Zoom seems to continue operating under a rather relaxed approach towards securing video calls for its growing number of users worldwide.

According to The Citizen Lab, “Zoom’s weaknesses make it highly unsuitable for government agencies and businesses worried about espionage.” American journalist and columnist Doc Searls thinks that Zoom ‘needs to clean up its privacy act’ while Bruce Schneier, computer security professional, is concerned that Zoom’s security is “at best sloppy, and malicious at worst”.

Zoom’s lax security protocols gave rise to an FBI investigation even in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

Zoom has fixed the front-end issues by allowing users to set the privacy settings and requiring to manually admit participants in. However, they still don’t have end to end encryption. According to Zoom, they have acquired Keybase to work on the end to end encryption. They said it will be available in the near future.

How does it impact me as a user of a web calling app that doesn’t have end to end encryption?

If the app is not end to end encrypted, it means that while data may be encrypted and protected while in transit an on all end devices, the data is not encrypted on the servers

  1. Employees of the company who have access to the servers can view your data or webcall conversation because it is not encrypted
  2. When hackers successfully hack into the servers, they can get the data or your webcall conversation as is (without encryption). Zoom has been recently hacked. The hackers released around 500,000 user credentials
  3. If the company gets subpoenaed, the records will be released unencrypted.

There are may alternative apps that emerged , but most of them are also not end to end encrypted.For example, Google Hangouts admitted that it doesn’t use end-to-end encryption which means Google can completely access your messages and conversation once they’re on a Google server. Slack users, on the other hand, have been cautioned about linking the cloud-based team collaboration software platform to third-party apps in light of the accidental data exposure of sensitive government information to outsiders for at least five months. Unlike other fully encrypted video calling apps, Slack is only protected by HTTPS which means private data can also be intercepted at the server.

Why Microsoft Teams is the most recommended app

For any business where security matters (e.g. Law Firms, Counselling Services, Education, Government, Financial Institutions), Microsoft teams is recommended .

According to Professor Alan Woodward, a computer scientist at Surrey University, it really isn’t that much of a big deal if an uninvited guest is listening to your private conversation with your mom but in the case of businesses and public offices, the implications may be life changing. “In the case where I have taken part in government briefings, it is crucial to ensure that it is for the participants’ ears only – so we have used Microsoft Teams.”

Why is that? First, Teams naturally inherits all the associated Office 365 security features of all Microsoft products. Second, it ensures fully encrypted data both in transit and while at rest. This means it doesn’t have the issues mentioned above. Third, its added multi factor authentication (MFA) feature ensures that the organization is not vulnerable to data breach in the event that specific user personal data falls into the wrong hands.

While the decision to choose a conferencing platform depends on your organizational structure or situation, it makes logical sense to fully rely on Microsoft Teams; especially if you are already utilizing Office 365. However, if you’re in the business of dealing with sensitive information on a regular basis, Microsoft Teams is your best choice for fully encrypted video calling, messaging, and collaboration platform.

Microsoft 365 Advanced eDiscovery (AED): Smart Capability for Attorney-Client Privileged Communications

For attorneys, one of the ethical obligations is to keep clients’ data safe and private. Advanced eDiscovery is a smart tag feature that locates and identifies attorney-client privileged content. This Ai-enabled Microsoft 365 feature allows lawyers and legal practitioners to search, identify, and tag information and files that are classified as potentially privileged documents.

Furthermore, AED is a powerful software tool for digital evidence gathering which can minimize time and costs spent by a legal team for this critical task. Specifically, it is useful for carrying out the following tasks:

  1. For gathering, assembly, and grouping of similar data and information for analysis or review by specific user groups
  2. For fast-tracking information gathering and collating from large datasets or sources
  3. For identifying relevant or irrelevant files and documents
  4. For reviewing and exporting filtered information into a report format for submission to regulatory, legal, or government body
  5. For automating costs associated with research, review, and compilation of documents

Get More Out of Teams

If you want to learn more about the Teams dynamic security to automatically protect data and documents from digital breaches, contact us for a FREE consultation today.

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