Microsoft Teams has enjoyed a massive surge in users since the COVID-19 pandemic spread globally. The platform has moved from around 20 million daily active users earlier this year to 44 million through March. However, even Teams' huge growth is nothing in comparison to Zoom and Microsoft wants to address the balance.
Zoom's growth has been truly remarkable. In February the video communication app had 10 million users but by the end of last month the number had jumped to 200 million. Microsoft has today detailed some privacy information to help Teams appeal to more users.
However, Zoom's privacy practices have been called into doubt. In fact, some institutions, such as schools, have started banning the platform. Today is emerged thousands of private Zoom messages leaked online.
Discussing video conferencing in Teams, Microsoft details the following privacy and security controls:
- “Meeting options: With meeting options, you can decide who from outside of your organization can join your meetings directly, and who should wait in the lobby for someone to let them in. PSTN callers will be joining via lobby. Meeting organizers can also remove participants during the meeting.
- Roles in a meeting: A meeting organizer can define roles in a Teams meeting that designate “presenters” and “attendees,” and control which meeting participants are allowed to present content in the meeting.
- Attendee consent for recording: All recordings of meetings are accompanied by a notice to attendees that a recording is taking place. The notice also links to the privacy notice for online participants, and the meeting organizer controls which attendees have the ability to record.
- Meetings recording access: Meeting recording access is limited to those people who are on the call, or invited to the meeting, unless the meeting organizer authorizes others to access the recording. Recordings are uploaded to Microsoft Stream and may be shared and downloaded according to permissions enabled by account administrators.
- Channel moderation and controls: Channel owners can moderate a channel conversation and control who is, and is not, allowed to share content in channel conversations. This helps ensure only appropriate content is viewed by others.
- Communication compliance: Communication compliance enables organizations to foster a culture of inclusion and safety by identifying and preventing negative behaviors like bullying and harassment.”
There are some things worth pointing out. Firstly, it is debatable whether Zoom and Microsoft Teams are direct competitors. Teams is a workplace chat and collaboration service whereas Zoom is a video communication tool. With that in mind, Zoom is more like Skype in terms of functionality.
Incidentally, Microsoft has been promoting some Skype features that make it a compelling alternative to Zoom. However, considering Skype for Business folds into Teams, there are some crossover tools. Certainly, as a business communication tool, Teams is perhaps the most viable alternative to Zoom.
Another area where Zoom and Teams are not comparable is in user reach. Zoom is available to everyone, both enterprise and personal users. Teams is available for free, but it is much more linked to enterprise.