Everyday it we drop yet another story about Zoom’s lax security making users vulnerable to data breaches. Earlier today, we reported that Zoom would be freezing new features for 90-days while it works on its security issues.
According to the The Washington Post , thousands of Zoom cloud recordings have been expose on the web. This happened because of the way Zoom names its recordings, they are named in “an identical way” and many of them were posted into (AWS) Amazon Web Service buckets, which makes them easier to find them easier with an online search. In an online search, it is possible to look through the Zoom cloud storage which turned up 15,000 Zoom video recordings. What’s worse, thousands of those recordings have been uploaded to YouTube and Vimeo, according to The Washington Post. These are not all boring office meetings either, there were recordings of Yoga classes, Therapy sessions, orientations, elementary school classes, remote learning classes and much more.
Zoom does notify users when a host makes the choice to record the meeting, here what Zoom said in a statement to TheVerge, “Zoom notifies participants when a host chooses to record a meeting, and provides a safe and secure way for hosts to store recordings.”
“Zoom meetings are only recorded at the host’s choice either locally on the host’s machine or in the Zoom cloud. Should hosts later choose to upload their meeting recordings anywhere else, we urge them to use extreme caution and be transparent with meeting participants, giving careful consideration to whether the meeting contains sensitive information and to participants’ reasonable expectations.”
We also promised to help you all discover alternatives, so let’s get to it. In true Platform De.Central fashion, we will start with services from non-Platform Owners like Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft.
We regularly report on Slack and its meteoric growth as of late, reaching a daily user base of 12.5 million, its huge design refresh and its new interoperable calling features with services like Teams, WebEx, Zoom and more. While Slack is mostly used for chat, it does sport a handy video calling feature. If you are on the free version of Slack you can call only one person at a time, you can host a meeting with a paid subscription. More Slack News
Whereby says “Enjoy the freedom to live and work where you thrive with easy video meetings from Whereby” right on its homepage, which is a fantastic message that holds even more weight in today’s economy. The free version touts a 1 user and 1 meeting room set of features that they say should be for personal use. You can have up to 4 meeting participants, there is desktop and mobile access, secure conversations, screen sharing, lock rooms and YouTube integration that allows for everyone in the meeting to view a single video at once. The paid version touts joining meetings with a click, screen sharing, simple room names, up to 50 users in one call, customizable branding, ability record, down and share calls, join from a browser or iOS app. Silent Chat feature, no more pesky notifications sounds from in app chats and reactions with Emoji’s.
Webex is a tried and true go to videoconferencing app that has been around for a long time. Although it is mostly known as a business application that is used by large corporations it is a handy options for smaller organizations as well. Right now Cisco is offering a robust free version. The special free offer includes the first month totally free when you signup for a paid monthly plan or you get 4 months free when you purchase an annual plan, just use this promo code wecare2020. This version includes up to 100 participants in a meeting, no time limit on meetings, a Call-in for audio VoIP feature, Unlimited number of meetings, desktop, application, file and whiteboard sharing options, video conferencing, Webex teams collaboration, mobile features, and robust security features. From there the Starter tier is $13.50/month with more features as you move up the tiers.
RemoteHQ boasts the ability to collaboratively work in a single web app that can be controlled by anyone in the session, the ability to see your session records all in one place, like files, notes and recordings, all backed up automatically. The free version touts 1 meeting room, 5 concurrent participants in a meeting, naming of your url, customizable meeting room with a logo, public or private rooms, screen sharing, video chat, group chat, Emoji reactions, Slack integration, file uploads and email support. Need more than the free version offers, the Pro version is $9.99/month and boasts additional features.
Lifesize has a robust free tier that touts Unlimited Meetings, 25 participants at a time, a personal meeting room, Native desktop and mobile apps and online support. If you need more than the free tier offers, the standard tier is $16.95/month. Lifesize even compares itself to Zoom in this report.
Apps from Platform Owners
Skype Meet Now
Skype has been synonymous with video chat since 2003. It is now owned by Microsoft which has squandered its lead recently, but that doesn’t mean it is a bad product, on the contrary it still does the job well. Skype is also what we would call platform agnostic, as you can use Skype on nearly any device. Want to do a call from you Xbox, Echo Show or Linux Laptop, no problem. Skype boasts features like being able to join a Skype call without a download or account (Which is huge for ease of access), call recording, background blurring, screen sharing, chat, live subtitles, Meet Now features that enable you to create and share meetings in 3 clicks without have to signup or download the app.
Google Hangouts Meet is the new version for G Suite users and offers free access to it premium features for Education. You can video chat with up to 10 people, audio calls with up to 150 people, chat and screen share. Hangouts can be used on mobile and web. More Hangouts Stories
Built as a direct competitor to Slack, Teams is the leader in Business Chat with 44 Million daily users, but it also features many tools available in Skype. Microsoft is currently offering a 6-month free trial, Microsoft worked with Slack to integrate Microsoft Teams calls right into Slack, making it easier to simply do a call without having the app get in the way. Now there is a version of Teams called Teams for Home, that enables family and friends to enjoy many of the same features of Teams but for personal use. More Teams Stories
FaceTime is an Apple hardware only app, so you can use it if you have an iPhone, iPad or Mac. You can also use Group FaceTime video calls where you can add up to 32 people. You can start a Group FaceTime from the FaceTime or Messages app. One of the fun features of Group FaceTime calls is camera effects where you can use filters, animoji’s or your memoji as your head during a call. This is the only option in this article that is hardware dependent, i.e. you have to use an Apple device.
We hope this helps our readers adopt an alternative to Zoom and keeps everyone productive at the same time.
By Platform De.Central | Source: The New York Times, Motherboard
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