© 2019 by Nick B. Nicholaou, all rights reserved President, Ministry Business Services, Inc. Reprinted from MinistryTech Magazine
Most organizations were a bit unprepared for the increased remote work forced on us by the current pandemic. Churches and ministries are communication-focused, and most organizations are letting staff use communication tools they normally wouldn’t.
Zoom has a reputation for poor security. Is it valid? And if you want to use Zoom anyway, how should you approach doing so?
Why is Zoom So Controversial?
Zoom has had a number of security vulnerabilities come to light in the last year. From password breaches to the takeover of webcams, from data mining to multiple security flaws, and uninvited people joining meetings and doing unwelcome things on camera, Zoom has worked hard to not earn our loyalty. Even federal law enforcement has recommended not using it.
But many don’t care! Zoom is fun and easy! So much so, that those responsible for running churches and ministries are having a hard time reigning in its use.
What to Use Instead of Zoom
There are better solutions than Zoom. Solutions that don’t come with security warnings! Here’s what I recommend and why:
- FaceTime. It is secure, easy, and fun, but it only works on Apple devices (which is why it is secure– Apple strongly controls their ecosystem). The downside is that everyone has to have an Apple device to participate, and that’s often not the case. It is free.
- Microsoft Teams. Anyone with an O365 account has free access to Teams. It is secure, and easy to use– you can create a meeting in Outlook and send it to everyone you want in the meeting, and they’ll be able to join easily. It is free, even to those without O365 accounts.
- GoToMeeting. Secure and pretty easy to use. It is free for 30 days.
Zoom Usage Recommendations
Okay, so you’ve decided to use– or let team members use– Zoom anyway. I recommend communicating the following to each participant in advance of their next Zoom meeting:
Our organization does not recommend Zoom because of its many security vulnerabilities, but are allowing it until we select an organization-wide solution. In the meantime, please:
- When setting up a Zoom meeting, use the password and waiting room options, and DO NOT post your meeting invite details or meeting screenshots online.
- DO NOT use a userid and password combination you use in any other website, database, etc. Make certain your userid and password in Zoom is unique to your Zoom account so that if their user base gets hacked again, you will not be vulnerable.
- While in a Zoom call, please DO NOT talk about:
- Any financial specifics (your financial institutions, account numbers, etc),
- Family structures and names, ages, etc; nor the schools your children attend,
- Missionaries or pastors of churches in closed countries, or
- Anything else you would not want to be made public.
That may seem like overkill, but is appropriate.