The COVID-19 pandemic birthed many firsts for some people, and one of them was meeting virtually. During the lockdown, most fashion entrepreneurs communicated with their team members virtually to get work done. Conferences, meetings, seminars and many more had to be conducted virtually using applications such as Zoom, Google Meet, Skype and so on.
Zoom just announced the launch of their highly requested end-to-end encryption feature. Here’s how you can activate the feature, as well as some of its implications.
The end-to-end encryption feature is one that allows only the users of a particular meeting to have access to the encryption keys that are used to encrypt the meeting, and not even Zoom can access the meetings.
What does this mean?
This means that with this new encryption feature, it is harder for anyone outside the meeting room or call, including Zoom, to access the conversation. Previously, the chances of other people getting access to private conversations or meetings were high, but thankfully this feature amends that.
“This has been a highly requested feature from our customers, and we’re excited to make this a reality. Kudos to our encryption team who joined us from Keybase in May and developed this impressive security feature within just six months.” – Jason Lee, Chief Information Security Officer, Zoom.
For both free and paid users, with the end-to-end encryption enabled, the meeting’s host generates encryption keys and uses public-key cryptography to distribute these keys to other meeting participants.
How can users activate this feature?
The end-to-end encryption feature is available for both the desktop and mobile applications. To enable this feature, users would need to sign in through the official zoom website and navigate to the settings menu.
In the drop-down menu, under the security bar, all you need to do is click a toggle to enable the end-to-end feature.
However, for users with the free accounts, you would first need to verify your phone number using SMS, then provide a valid billing option associated with the account. Once the feature is enabled, a green shield with a padlock would be shown at the top left corner of the meeting window.
All these steps are required to provide the extra protection which the end-to-end encryption feature was built for.
There are some downsides to it, however.
Previously, a meeting room could accommodate up to 500 users, but with the encryption feature, there’s a limited number of participants, which is 300. Also, private chats which allow two users within a meeting to communicate without other people accessing the chats have been disabled as well.
Other features such as live transcription, streaming, enabling participants to join before the host, cloud recording, breakout rooms, polling and meeting reactions have also been disabled.
While the end-to-end encryption feature provides extra protection and privacy for meeting participants, the disabled features which come as an extra package has its downsides.
As a fashion entrepreneur organising a live event or training, if you would like to use the Zoom application, you would need to make sure that the participants are 300 or less. You would also not be able to have breakout sessions where different participants can go on to different rooms for the training, for example, the pattern drafting room, fashion illustration room and so on.
Despite the downsides, the end-to-end encryption feature by Zoom is one that guarantees the privacy and protection of messages and conversations of different participants in a meeting room, and we think this is commendable.