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In times of crisis, such as the onset of COVID-19, unified collaboration solutions like Microsoft Teams and Zoom are invaluable. When entire work forces must go remote, high-end collaboration technology is a necessity. The question then is this: between Microsoft Teams and Zoom, which is the better choice for your Enterprise organization?
With the widespread adoption of collaboration platforms, Zoom has become increasingly popular. Though many love this solution for its aesthetic appeal and ease of use, Teams is much more secure and can integrate with existing voice carriers and providers to create the ideal enterprise communication solution.
A Unified Collaboration (UC) platform is nothing without its features. Both Teams and Zoom boast similar, basic collaboration functions such as video and audio conferencing, but when it comes to more specific features, the two differ widely. It’s in these features beyond basic collaboration that Teams truly excels over Zoom.
Teams is connected to the Microsoft 365 suite, allowing it to take advantage of the many applications contained within. This includes Outlook’s calendar, SharePoint’s file-sharing, and OneDrive’s file storage. Though certain features of the Microsoft Enterprise suite require purchasing licenses, a basic business license allows access to the most important ones for only $5 a month per user.
The image above is a snapshot of the features in June 2020.
Zoom provides little else beyond audio and video conferencing and isn’t connected to any kind of suite. While it can be integrated with Slack and Dropbox, this solution is more expensive than Teams would otherwise be, and ultimately offers less for more.
Teams is nothing if not secure. Not only is data encrypted end-to-end with Teams, it’s encrypted both in-transit and at rest. This means any data from any conversations made on Teams is never vulnerable to outside threats. In fact, Microsoft is known to fend off 5 billion cyber threats per month, thanks to an investment of $1 billion annually toward cyber security.
That’s not all Teams has going for it in terms of security. The platform also features multi-factor authentication (MFA) and Rights Management Services (RMS) support. Better still, all the security features that apply to conversations in Teams apply to file sharing as well, meaning sensitive documents will be able to make their journey through the cloud safely.
Zoom has a different approach to security . With its infrastructure stored in third party data centers, Zoom has a lot more digital ground to cover in terms of security. Zoom should then have ample incentive to have multi-factor authentication and RMS support, but it doesn’t.
Despite the company’s best efforts, Zoom users are prone to the practice of “Zoombombing,” which we will explain more about in a later section.
Both Zoom and Teams have intuitive interfaces that don’t lack visual appeal. Some say Zoom is the better looking of the two, but that’s largely subjective. Many users enjoy the gallery view of Zoom, which makes more participants visible during a meeting. However, Microsoft Teams has recently rolled out additional tiles in its gallery view as well. At the end of the day, Teams has an interface more conducive to enterprise business, facilitating easy access to other Microsoft 365 apps.
With Teams, users have two options for voice compatibility, a Microsoft Calling Plan or Direct Routing. A Microsoft Calling Plan allows users to make and manage phone calls with Microsoft’s built-in phone system. This makes Microsoft your carrier, though there are limitations. Also, many enterprise-level companies find that the costs just don’t make sense. This is where Direct Routing comes into play. DR allows organizations to connect Teams to their existing voice carrier as well as integrate necessary analog endpoints (like elevator phones and fax machines) into the Teams-based system.
Zoom is also voice compatible, but it doesn’t offer nearly as many options, especially when it comes to connecting to existing voice technology. Since Zoom is chiefly concerned with video conferencing, it’s not ideal for users looking to protect voice investments.
This might be the most important feature of them all. Both Teams and Zoom offer free versions of their app. Customers unlock more features by paying for premium plans. For Zoom, this chiefly includes allowing higher number of participants in meetings and allowing a greater number of hosts on a single server. Teams’ premium tiers unlock more features not just within Teams, but within the entirety of the Microsoft Suite.
As for which one’s cheaper, that’s not such a simple answer. Teams might seem more expensive with its Microsoft licenses, but it offers a plethora of features from the different Microsoft applications. Zoom does not. In fact, to get all the features Teams offers with a Zoom solution would require using third party apps such as Slack and Dropbox, and it still would only perform roughly half of the functions that Teams can. Ultimately, this would make Zoom much more expensive to use than Teams, not to mention less efficient and less valuable.
As mentioned before, Zoom has some serious issues with security in relation to Teams. Going beyond the lack of features like multi-factor authentication, Zoom’s fatal flaws come from a lack of transparency and several disasters unique to the platform.
“Zoombombing” is an infamous practice that’s made the rounds in the media as of late. The concept is simple. Someone takes advantage of Zoom’s lack of encryption, as well as the “feature” that allows a user to join a meeting from a single link multiple times, to jump into a Zoom meeting uninvited. What comes next is limited only by the bomber’s imagination, but history has shown these individuals are not above bombarding the meeting with racism, pornography, gore, other forms of potentially traumatic imagery and threats of violence.
To Zoom’s credit, the company is taking steps to prevent future Zoombomings, but that’s not where the problems end. The advent of Zoombombing raised questions regarding Zoom’s encryption, only to uncover that Zoom had stated its data was encrypted end to end when it wasn’t. This has prompted a class action lawsuit against the company with the charge of misleading users and investors.
As it turns out, Zoom has also been selling user data to Facebook. Though this is certainly not unique to Zoom, it’s a subject of great concern for many users, especially on the enterprise level. It’s because of this that Google, NASA, most government entities in the United States and countries like Taiwan, and even certain education organizations like the New York Public School System have forbidden their users from continuing to use Zoom.
Microsoft understands that security is nothing to be taken lightly, especially for enterprise level businesses, schools, and government organizations. That’s why it’s taken pains to ensure Teams doesn’t suffer the same problems as Zoom.
Microsoft 365 plans include MFA, RMS, and information protection capabilities on a broad network of data centers. Unlike Zoom’s, this broad network doesn’t include third party data centers, making it much easier to manage and keep secure.
Furthermore, Microsoft is determined to ensure that it never fails to be perfectly transparent for its customers. With regular transparency reports, there won’t be any misleading information about how its data is encrypted, or what happens to that data when all is said and done. In fact, Microsoft has stated that it never sees any of the data that gets encrypted and sent through its platform, meaning Facebook certainly doesn’t.
Microsoft also boasts a plethora of security certifications including HIPAA, HITECH, ITAR FedRAMP, FISMA, EU Model Clauses / Privacy Shield, ISO, SSAE, and SOC 1-3. A complete list of certifications as well as more information regarding Microsoft’s trust and security can be found at the Microsoft Trust Center
For enterprise-level users, especially those in government, education, or healthcare organizations, there’s no doubt about it. Teams is clearly the better option of the two. It’s an effective collaboration platform offering a higher value at a lower price and poses much less of a threat to your security. On top of this, if you have O365 licenses, you’re already paying for it.
At this point all Zoom has going for it is the fact that it’s simple and easy, and even then, so is Teams. Some might still argue that Zoom is best for smaller organizations looking only to get basic audio and video conferencing capabilities out of a collaboration solution. Still, those organizations are probably better off with a Teams solution and access to the Microsoft 365 suite.
Making sure that your data is secure is one of your IT staff's highest priorities.
As a Microsoft Direct Cloud Solution provider and Gold-tiered Partner, we know the importance of data security and work closely with Microsoft when deploying Microsoft Teams for Fortune 1000 companies.
Let us partner with your IT staff in deploying Microsoft Teams. In a 30-minute call we'll learn how your organization works, what you want to achieve, and what challenges need to be overcome.
Then, when you are ready to move forward, we'll design, deploy and maintain your Microsoft Teams solution so that your UC environment will save you time and reduce expenses, not cost you more.