Zoom executive says security questions are normal speed bumps for growing apps

15 May 2020, 00:04

Zoom has increased in popularity under lockdown
Coronavirus – Tue Apr 14, 2020. Picture: PA

The video calling app’s chief information officer Harry Moseley said the company was focused on constantly improving its service as new users joined.

Concerns over using video app Zoom are “normal speed bumps” in the rise of a new service, an executive at the firm has said.

Zoom chief information officer Harry Moseley told the PA news agency he understands why some schools and businesses have chosen not to use the app over security concerns, but said the company was committed to further safety updates to protect users.

The video conferencing service has rapidly grown in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic as millions turn to its group video calling features in order to work and study from home.

However, the platform has come under scrutiny over a number of security issues, including the practice known as ‘Zoombombing’ where strangers break into group chats and show other participants explicit material.

Parliament is using Zoom video conferencing
Parliament is using Zoom video conferencing (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor)

The video app has since made a number of security upgrades and launched a 90-day scheme where all other product development has been stopped in order to focus on new security tools.

Mr Moseley said the response from some businesses to ban or stop using the app was understandable when the service in question was new to many.

“With every organisation, you have to do the security due diligence – you have to understand the platform and how it works,” he told PA.

“No organisation worth its salt would ever just say ‘OK I’ll take the white paper, they tick all the boxes, let’s move’. So, in those cases, many organisations will say OK let’s review it, and when it is sanctioned, then we’ll deploy it.

“These are normal speed bumps so to speak, which any organisation would go through.”

Parliament is among the workplaces currently using Zoom to continue functioning while maintaining social distancing rules, with MPs taking part in debates and committees from home with smaller numbers attending in person.

Mr Moseley said the increased focus on Zoom had been “challenging” and “humbling”, and suggested that some of the issues the company has faced appeared because the app had previously been aimed at big businesses with IT departments to help support users, rather than private individuals using the app for personal means.

“Security has always been very core to Zoom, we value our clients. We don’t think of them as clients, we think of them as partners – we’re all about their success, their security, their privacy,” he said.

“It’s been a very humbling experience and I think we’ve attracted a lot of different constituents that we previously didn’t have and so with that comes a lot of different challenges because we were built purely for enterprise.

“When you get pulled into this consumer world, they don’t have that IT organisation to give them the guidelines, to establish the train tracks to run on or to tell them what the best practice is.

“So what you’ve seen over the last couple of weeks is how we’ve reacted to that. We’re starting to put the different controls in place now for the different domains that we’re servicing so that they can operate right off the blocks to make it an experience for them.

“Our purpose is to help everybody get through this global health crisis in the best possible way – that is all we think about every day.”

When asked about the company’s plans beyond the pandemic, Mr Moseley said the “only one focus” at the company currently was “supporting individuals while everyone is social distancing – keeping that connectivity between everyone”.

But he suggested working patterns are likely to change forever once lockdown is over.

“I do think there’s going to be a large movement of employees who are going to want to continue working from home,” he said.

“I’ve heard consistently from CEOs across industries and sectors that their employees are already asking if once this is over, will they be permitted to continue working from home.

“I fundamentally believe that life after corona is going to be dramatically different to life before corona.”

By Press Association

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