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Zoom to Provide Strong Encryption for Paying Customers and Educational Institutions

Zoom’s security consultant has announced that it will be providing strong encryption to paying customers and educational users of its web conferencing service. The move is being made in consultation with industry security consultants and privacy advocates.

In a recent interview with Reuters, Zoom’s security consultant Alex Stamos confirmed that strong encryption is coming for paying customers and educational institutions, however, the plan is subject to change and may include additional not-for-profits when the service is ready for launch.

Zoom’s popularity increased exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, as the company continued to offer general users the ability to use Zoom’s services for free for a limited time. In offering strong encryption for paying customers, the move is strategic as it may entice business users to upgrade from the free service.

Interestingly, there are conflicting reports of the anticipated service offering, with some sources indicating that this will include end-to-end encryption, while other sources indicate that this is not the case. In both instances, sources agree that bringing in end-to-end encryption will exclude telephone call-in meeting attendees from being able to participate in Zoom meetings.

Source: SoftwareReviews, Accessed June 2, 2020

Meanwhile, Zoom remains under investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for its previous claims of end-to-end encryption. Zoom recently settled a similar investigation by the New York Attorney General’s Office in which the company promised security enhancements, including the security of data stored in its data centers.

Our Take

Zoom opting to offer strong encryption for paid customers and enterprise accounts comes as no surprise, as it allows Zoom to monetize its investment in security improvements amid its 90-day product enhancement freeze. The company can also leverage its heightened popularity gained during COVID-19 and entice businesses to consider the advantages of the paid service offering.

IT departments have been speaking to Info-Tech analysts about their concerns over Zoom security while attempting to stem the tide of users demanding Zoom to become a regular IT offering. In cases where the concern is around Zoom’s security, the paid offering gives IT leaders an option to consider.

Info-Tech Research Group is staying on top of these developments. Watch this space for more updates!