Move over, Zoom: Tauria just developed a secure video conferencing solution – for $10 (with a 30-day free trial)Jackie Gill - May 12, 2020
The NFL won’t touch Zoom. The UK Ministry of Defence is discouraging Zoom’s use. New York City’s Department of Education and the Australian Defence Force have outright banned it. Even SpaceX has left the call.
The beleaguered video conferencing app is making more headlines than usual as the work-from-home reality of COVID-19 has caused both its number of users – and the number of security holes those users have found – to spike.
There’s “Zoom-bombing” – that’s when an unwanted person hijacks your meeting, whether it’s a comedian doing a bit for their YouTube channel, or a bad actor sending porn or hate speech to schoolkids during online classes.
Zoom’s CEO confirmed that calls were routed through China, where the government can demand access to encrypted calls. The company’s been called out for sending user information to Facebook without letting them know. Its “Company Directory” feature exposed email addresses and photos of thousands of users who share a personal email domain without consent. Some have even labelled its definition of “end-to-end encryption” as misleading, as it’s not aligned with the industry standard.
These gaps in protection are especially relevant to organizations in research and development, law, finance and government. Healthcare providers are particularly at risk, too. With more doctors offering telemedicine in their practices, they need a safe way to connect with patients to discuss sensitive – and privileged – medical information.
That’s why all of those organizations have hit “uninstall” on Zoom, says Jessé David Thé, co-founder and CEO of Tauria, a privacy-first business collaboration platform that offers encrypted video calling, messaging, calendars and file storage in one place. Leaked information could compromise everything from next season’s draft picks to confidential parliamentary proceedings and patient records in hospitals. In other words: “Zoom is literally compromising companies and people’s privacy right now.”
Zoom isn’t alone. Skype, Slack, Google… they all have their flaws, he adds. So where can a business turn when there aren’t many safe options out there? Thé has the answer: a video conferencing solution he and his team recently completed after working 20-hour days for four weeks.
“Our dedication comes from protecting peoples’ privacy,” he says. “We came to this thinking, this is what we can do for people to help them through this time.” That’s why they’ve made it free to use, alongside their full suite of tools, through a 30-day trial with a 50 per cent post-trial discount.
Click, connect and collaborate the right way
No matter what business you’re in, chances are there’s information you’d rather keep to yourself, whether it’s proposals, investments, financial analysis or patient records. All of that’s at risk with the shift to remote communication, driven by the chaos of COVID-19.
For example, “We’re talking to healthcare organizations right now because they have this issue where they need to maintain the privacy of their patients’ health, but they also can’t be in contact with them,” says Thé. “If you still need to reach out to your doctor, you need a secure way of doing that, and people prefer doing it over voice or video. We see our solution as the only one capable of helping them with that.”
People turn to services like Zoom because they promise an easy, frictionless way to connect a workforce connecting from home, at a time when companies are struggling to figure out their next move.
“Zoom is literally compromising companies and people’s privacy right now.”
– Jessé David Thé, CEO and co-founder of Tauria
“What we see now is a giant gap where businesses have to use video conferencing to work. There’s no choice. It’s become a very critical tool for survival,” says Thé. “The problem right now is they don’t have a solution that’s encrypted, no-knowledge, secure. People actually have solutions that are doing the opposite.”
Like other video conferencing solutions, Tauria offers one-on-one and group calls, and even screen sharing. Inviting someone inside or outside your organization? Just send a link. Calling someone directly from within Tauria’s platform? One click and you’re connected. Really easy.
What sets their solution apart is this: everything’s encrypted, and they don’t have the keys. Tauria can’t share your data because they can’t see your data. Ever.
“It’s bringing back the idea that, if we’re having a conversation in a private room, that conversation stays there,” says Thé. “I don’t have to worry about my encryption keys getting sent to China, or the fact that the call isn’t encrypted, or somebody can just hop in or listen in at any moment.”
Record pace through late nights in isolation
Tauria doesn’t just talk the talk when it comes to privacy and security. At the heart of their operation is the belief that privacy is a fundamental human right. It’s baked into the core pieces of their collaboration platform: calls, messaging, calendars and file storage.
So when COVID-19 sparked a huge rise in remote work and demand for video conferencing, they immediately saw the threat unsecure options posed for businesses. “They’re going to need a solution because now this is going to be a giant hole in their privacy and security,” says Thé. The problem was, nothing on the market met Tauria’s standards.
That left one option: to launch the best solution available in the market themselves. They had already been working on video calling, and it was clear they had to focus on finishing the project early. After all, no one should have to compromise on security just to do their jobs.
It wasn’t easy. Since they started their call module as privacy-first and zero-knowledge, development and debugging was much harder, says Thé. Video calls require sophisticated software – and it’s even more complex when every frame must be encrypted. All of that while their own team was still getting used to the new work-from-home reality.
“That’s one of the reasons we hop on video calls a lot, because then you don’t feel as alone.”
– Jessé David Thé
“We traditionally didn’t really use video before because we were all in the same office and we’re very collaborative,” he says. “Now, people feel more isolated. That’s one of the reasons we hop on video calls a lot, because then you don’t feel as alone. I think that’s a problem that everybody’s facing now.”
Still, it didn’t take Tauria long to get something up and running. “Initially it wasn’t the most stable thing,” he says. But it worked well enough to bring the team together when they needed it most.
Since then, it’s been mornings, afternoons, evenings, nights and weekends of work for the whole team. “Someone on my team woke me up at 3 a.m. to test the call because he had fixed something,” Thé remembers. They’re ecstatic with the result, too. “In the end, it worked flawlessly.”
They’re still struggling with the loneliness of isolation, while continuing full support across all of their solutions. But every person on the team is driven by a purpose, he adds… and that makes those 3 a.m. wake-up calls worthwhile.
“People benefit from having more privacy and security. It protects them. It makes their lives better.”
– Jessé David Thé
“The whole team has this strong belief that our solution isn’t just this thing that people pay for and use. We’re really building this to help people,” Thé says. “We believe in privacy, we believe in peoples’ security, because people benefit from having more privacy and security. It protects them. It makes their lives better. It makes their work better. It makes their businesses more secure and peoples’ jobs more secure.”
But most importantly, “It’s the right thing to do.”
Full collaboration, in one place, at a discount
Tauria feels the same way about launching a free 30-day trial of their entire platform – including video conferencing – and offering a limited-time 50 per cent discount once that trial’s over.
“It’s half the price of Zoom. It can replace a Slack, Zoom, Dropbox and Google Calendar all in a single solution for $10, on top of all the privacy and security,” says Thé.
He knows businesses are hurting right now. He knows cyberattacks are on the rise, along with layoffs and unemployment. “When people are in desperate situations, they are more willing to resort to criminal activity so they can get by. That’s one thing that we are already seeing and we’re going to continue seeing,” he says. “It’s only going to get worse when people get more desperate.”
And there’s no way of knowing how things will look once the COVID-19 crisis subsides. “This has never happened before. The best way to forecast the future is looking at the past, but there’s nothing for us to look at, especially when it comes to cybercrime and the situation worldwide,” he adds.
“We came to this thinking, this is what we can do for people to help them through this time.”
– Jessé David Thé
Tauria’s collaboration platform is one thing people can count on. By creating an account and getting their team on the app, businesses can take an immediate step toward protecting themselves and their staff, Thé says. “Now they’ve just increased their level of security and privacy for everyone by magnitudes. And it’s very easy for them to set up compared to a better firewall, more network security or new protocols.”
For Thé and his team, offering a strong and secure alternative to apps like Zoom, at a reduced price, is also a great way to make a difference during a difficult time on a personal level.
“The best way for us to help is by giving this to as many people as we possibly can.”
Start your free 30-day trial with Tauria’s full platform – video calling included – today (and enjoy a 50 per cent post-trial discount)!
Zebu is now Tauria! Tauria is creating a future where companies can communicate, send files and store important information, knowing their data will be secured and protected from internal and external cyber threats.