Working remotely has been gaining in popularity for some time now. Of course with the recent pandemic, the number of companies allowing their employees to work remotely has skyrocketed even more. At least for the foreseeable future, it looks like the trend for remote work is here to stay.
Nonetheless, just because team members are now physically separated even more than in their former office cubicles, it doesn't mean that face-to-face communication has gone by the wayside. It simply has taken on a digital form as have so many other work-related processes in recent years.
In this post, we will discuss two popular video chat services, Microsoft Teams and Zoom, outlining both the pros and cons of each, in order for organizations to decide which service best suits their particular needs.
One of the great features about Microsoft Teams is that it is already included with Microsoft Office 365, thus integrating seamlessly with Microsoft's popular office apps including Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Word. For those who don't use Office 365, a free version of Microsoft Teams is available.
Microsoft Teams encompasses all types of collaboration including file sharing, meetings, calls, and chats. Microsoft Teams allows users to chat privately or in specific channels. Up to 250 people can have a group chat all at one time and live presentations are available for up to 10,000 users.
So what are the downsides to Microsoft Teams, if any? For those who don't have Office 365, Microsoft's free version of Teams does not include Microsoft support or any administration tools. Some users report that Microsoft Teams requires a bit more training to get users up to speed on how to incorporate all the various components such as file sharing, along with all the other Office 365 apps.
As its name implies, Zoom has rapidly gained a high profile in the video chat arena in recent months. Part of the reason for Zoom's explosion of use is that it is a new platform, which means it doesn't have to take into consideration the management and inevitable migration that comes with a legacy of on-premise customers.
Users of Zoom also highlight its ease of use, allowing team members to get on board and start chatting and collaborating with others with virtually no training. Zoom offers a free version of their software, along with a paid version, competitively priced alongside Microsoft's Premium Team plan.
Zoom's free version hosts up to 100 participants, although there is a 40-minute time limit for group meetings. As does Microsoft's Teams, Zoom also has capabilities that allow it to integrate with other applications. One example is scheduling a meeting time through Gmail. Users can simply click on Gmail's calendar icon, select a meeting time, then click on the link under "Join Zoom Meeting".
Probably the biggest downside of Zoom is that along with its recent explosion into the video chat market, it also recently experienced a very public explosion because of some high-profile security issues. Technology security professionals have warned their clients that using Zoom increases the risk of exposing corporate conversations to hackers. There's even a new word (zoombombing), that describes the actions taken by hackers when they joined corporate meetings without permission and caused disruption. The New York City Department of Education recently advised their teachers to stop using Zoom and use Microsoft Teams instead, precisely because of these types of security concerns.
Since security and privacy remain paramount to most companies, it is prudent to take a long pause to consider whether Zoom's ease of use and its zero dollar price tag is worth the risk. If you would like more information about the pros and cons of Microsoft Teams and Zoom, please contact us.