While you can participate in meetings held on either platform, I recommend standardizing on one of them if you are hosting meetings. Why? Because the platforms are different in several ways. Being proficient in using a video conferencing system as a host is highly recommend. Not only are you respectful of the time of your “guests,” but you can concentrate on delivering your message or managing the meeting without the distraction of fumbling with settings and controls you are not entirely familiar with.
So how do you choose which one to use when hosting?
Both platforms offer audio and video conferencing, chat functionality and application, desktop, file, and screen sharing. Teams goes far beyond Zoom’s core capabilities due to its tight integration with the entire Microsoft 365 software stack. However, Zoom’s app marketplace enables businesses to customize as needed.
If collaboration within Microsoft 365 is critical, I recommend TEAMS.
Ease of use
With so many features and functionalities all in one place, Teams can be somewhat tricky for first-time users to navigate and can even seem overwhelming. Zoom, however, offers fewer features and integrations. Therefore it may be easier to master, meaning you and your remote teams can start collaborating sooner.
Both platforms offer video resolutions of HD 1080p at 30 fps, placing them neck-in-neck in terms of video quality. To achieve this resolution, Microsoft recommends a minimum connection of 2Mbps, while Zoom recommends a 3Mbps connection. Teams enables 1080p by default. Zoom uses 720p default, though users can manually change their video quality settings.
Microsoft’s reputation for security puts it in front if tight security is a requirement. Teams leverages end-to-end encryption, multi-factor authentication, Rights Management Services support, at rest and in-transit encryption, and Secure Real-time Transport Protocol technology for audio and video data.
Microsoft’s Reports hub (formerly known as the Microsoft Transparency Hub) and official Teams security and compliance overview also provide end-users with detailed information about the company’s privacy policies and how it handles user data. Depending on which industry your organization operates in, this transparency could prove essential from a compliance standpoint. Microsoft reports Teams is HIPAA, GDPR, FedRAMP, SOC, and FERPA compliant.
By comparison, Zoom offers 256-bit TLS encryption, AES-256 encryption, and optional end-to-end encryption. Zoom also provides meeting hosts with a variety of security capabilities, including waiting rooms for attendees, audio signatures, screen share watermarks, and passcode-protected meetings. Zoom only stores basic information pulled from user account profiles, such as email address, user password, first name, last name, and company name. Zoom has experienced multiple security breaches in recent months and has been criticized for its vague or misleading privacy and encryption policies.
Though the free version of Microsoft Teams does not offer built-in support, Microsoft 365 Business Basics and Microsoft 365 Business Standard each offer a 99.9% financially backed uptime guarantee, round-the-clock phone and web support, and FastTrack deployment support.
The free version of Zoom has 24/7 online support; all paid versions of Zoom also come with phone support, and the Zoom Enterprise plan includes a dedicated Customer Success Manager.
Both Microsoft Teams and Zoom provide extensive documentation — including training videos, online webinars, customer forums, and more — free of charge via Microsoft Docs and the Zoom Help Center, respectively.
Pricing & capacity
The most basic version of Teams, which is available for free, offers video conferencing for up to 300 participants and a maximum meeting duration of 60 minutes (both until June 30, 2021), as well as chat and collaboration capabilities for up to 500k users. Organizations interested in accessing additional productivity apps and secure cloud services should consider investing in Microsoft 365 Business Basics, Microsoft 365 Business Standard, or Office 365 E3.
Zoom Basic enables you to host up to 100 participants with a 40-minute maximum group meeting duration. Small businesses should consider Zoom Pro. That version can host up to 100 participants in unlimited group meetings. Small- and medium-sized businesses can get Zoom Business and host up to 300 participants per meeting. If you require calling and chat in addition to audio and video conferencing, Zoom United Business allows for up to 300 meeting participants. Zoom Enterprise, which, as its name implies, can host meetings for up to 500 participants (or 1,000 with the Enterprise+ plan).
Video conferencing (or the technology that will replace it) is here to stay. It can distinguish your organization from the pack if you carefully choose a platform that fits your specific needs. Remember, however, that as a host, your guests are not only participants in the experience, but their satisfaction and comfort should probably be the goal of your online meetings.
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About Davis Merrey
Davis, is Owner/CEO of TeamLogic IT of Oklahoma City, part of an international network of franchisees providing IT support for businesses. He brings many years of experience in a variety of technology related industries, leading teams in providing technical solutions that respond to critical customer needs. The company culture is defined by its Mission Statement: “To help our fellow employees and clients be successful”.
Davis earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from the Virginia Military Institute and an MBA in Management from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. He serves on several business related and non-profit boards of directors.