Google, Microsoft talk up security after Zoom firestorm | #corporatesecurity | #businesssecurity | #

As video conferencing platform Zoom continues to weather unfavorable headlines about its security, two big market rivals are doubling down on commitments to keeps users safe.

In recent weeks, Zoom has faced a barrage of criticism involving privacy and security failings, culminating in CEO Eric Yuan acknowledging this week that the company “moved too fast” but is  now committed to being “open and honest with [customers] about areas where we are strengthening our platform.” He also announced that Zoom had stopped development of new product features for 90 days to focus on security.

While rival video conferencing platforms haven’t faced the same level of criticism, both Microsoft and Google pointedly outlined what their respective Teams and Hangouts Meet offerings are doing to ensure meetings remain secure.

In a recent blog post, Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, stressed all of the security features Microsoft already offers Teams users, including how it encrypts data and handles enforcement requests – two areas where Zoom has come under fire. Spataro also noted that Microsoft doesn’t use Teams data to serve ads or track participants’ attention in meetings, something else Zoom has been criticized for.

“Now more than ever, people need to know that their virtual conversations are private and secure,” Spataro wrote in an April 6 post. “At Microsoft, privacy and security are never an afterthought. It’s our commitment to you—not only during this challenging time, but always.”

Google took a similar approach, publishing its own blog post on April 7, summerizing how Google Meet ensures meetings are secure. In the post, Karthik Lakshminarayanan, director of product management for G Suite security and controls, and Smita Hashim, director of product management for  Google Meet, Voice & Calendar, talked up Google’s efforts to combat abuse, block hijacking attempts, limit the need for frequent security patches and the platform’s “secure-by-design infrastructure.”

Though Zoom was not called out by name, the beleaguered platform has been criticized for problems in all of those areas in recent weeks.

“I think the moves of Microsoft and Google are partly defensive to reassure their existing users (both enterprise and personal), but also part offensive –  trying to use the controversy over Zoom to take market share from them,” said Paul McKay, senior analyst at Forrester.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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