Should I use Zoom, Skype for Business or Teams?

* This article has been updated; read updated version here.

None of us were prepared to spend months telecommuting for classes and work, but we are fortunate that Ohio State already had a variety of collaboration tools available to us for working, teaching and learning. Like any technology tool, each has pros and cons.

This article may help you decide which tool is best for your needs. However, in a free market like ours, if a feature is popular in one tool, other tools are quick to integrate that feature into their offering as well. So in many cases you will find that one tool isn’t necessarily better than another – sometimes it’s just a matter of personal preference.

As our learning and security teams outlined in its statement last week, you should always be thoughtful about information you are using with any of these tools and observe the precautions outlined by Ohio State’s Enterprise Security Team.


CarmenZoom and Skype for Business

CarmenZoom is the academic audio and web conferencing solution for Ohio State. It provides faculty, students and instructional staff with all the functionality of a Zoom Pro account. With CarmenZoom, you can have: (1.) up to 300 participants in a meeting; (2) CarmenCanvas integration; and (3.) the ability to request webinar spaces. Guests can attend your Zoom meeting even if they are not affiliated with Ohio State.

Skype for Business is our non-academic audio and videoconferencing tool. It has enhancements to make online meetings easy and simple such as: (1.) up to 250 participants in a meeting; (2) Office 365 integration; and (3.) easy collaboration on documents. Guests can attend your Skype meeting even if they are not affiliated with Ohio State.

CarmenZoom and Skype for Business have very similar features, which we compare in the table below. Microsoft Teams is also a great tool, but with very different features. Read on to learn how you can use Microsoft Teams for academic and business purposes.

Benefits of Zoom

Benefits of Skype for Business

Easy to use for video calls, and supports a "Brady Bunch" mode that allows participants to see one another.

Easy to use for both audio and video calls. Participants may not be able to see everyone who is on the call.

Ohio State has an enterprise account, so you can log in using your name.# and Ohio State password.

Most departments already have Skype for Business, so you can log in with your name.# and Ohio State password.

Attendees don't have to be affiliated with Ohio State.

Attendees don't have to be affiliated with Ohio State.

Mobile-friendly; mobile app available for both iPhone and Android devices

Mobile-friendly; mobile app available for both iPhone and Android devices

Integrated with CarmenCanvas and designed/supported for academic use at Ohio State

Integrated with other Office 365 applications and tools and supported for business use at Ohio State

Automatic captioning for meetings recorded to the Zoom cloud

Real time captions and subtitles are available, but you must set them up in your meeting.

We have already published instructions to avoid abuse of host features and Zoom bombing. You can prevent the security concerns that you may have seen reported in the media.

We have configured Skype for Business for the best possible security, without limiting features. The tools only automatically admit Ohio State users into a meeting, though a guest link can be sent to attendees outside of the university. When setting up a Skype for Business meeting, you can use meeting options to further secure your meeting space.

If you join using the app or your computer, Zoom-to-Zoom voice, video, file transfers and instant messages are encrypted.

If you join using the app or your computer, Skype-to-Skype voice, video, file transfers and instant messages are encrypted.

You can join a meeting from any phone, land-line or cellular. This limits available features, but the app is not required.

You can call the meeting number from any phone, land-line or cellular, and join a meeting by entering the access code. The app is not required to join the meeting.


No Tool Is Perfect: Things You Should Know

  • Encryption: Both CarmenZoom and Skype for Business encrypt voice, video, file transfers and instant messages. However, they use an encryption called “transport-level security (TSL).” This type of encryption sends all content through the server of the host company (Zoom) and content can be accessed by that company.Skype runs through Ohio State servers and uses our preferred level of encryption, which is end-to-end. End-to-end encryption allows only the sender and receiver to access data. Zoom does not offer that level of encryption.
  • Security: We have outlined known issues with Zoom bombing. Your best defense is to learn what settings you need to adjust to prevent abuse by participants or uninvited guests. For example, Zoom allows you to use a “Waiting Room” feature so the host can control who is entering the meeting. The host can “lock” the meeting once all attendees have connected.
  • Data Security: Refrain from accessing university Private (S3) or Restricted (S4) data when working from a personal device. If you are not sure what level of data you are using, a free activity on Cybersecurity 4 You explains S3 or S4 data. Do not save university data directly to your personal device or hard drive.
  • Private Messages: When using Zoom and recording locally to your device, private messages that you had access to are recorded as well. If you choose to record locally and then share a recording and the chat transcript, it will include those messages that you intended to be private between you and other participants. Recording to the Zoom cloud (which is recommended) will only record the chat messages sent to everyone.


Find more resources about CarmenZoom and Skype for Business online.



Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a cloud-based collaboration application that seamlessly integrates with other Office 365 programs. Teams allows you to chat, create discussion groups and share assets like calendars and files. We generally use Zoom and Skype for Business to get everyone in one place for a meeting. Teams is more like an extended version of email – you can share information with an individual or group, and if the recipient is not currently available, the recipients can respond later when they are available.

Some Benefits of Microsoft Teams:

  • Mobile-friendly
  • Easy to use
  • Multi-functional chat capabilities:
    • One-on-one chat (with one other person) 
    • Group chat (with several people at once)
    • Share posts with everyone on the team who has access to that channel
  • Teams saves your chat history, so you can scroll back through and keyword search a conversation if you have forgotten a detail that you need to access.
  • Teams offers "Presence," as part of each user's profile. This allows other users to see if someone is online and currently available or busy (for example, in a meeting).



  • Teams has Voice/Calling and Video/Conferencing functions, but they are not yet available for all users (We are currently piloting these features).
  • Wexner Medical Center has opted out of Teams and other Office 365 programs (because they have different security requirements), so Teams is not a viable option for collaborating with medical center team mates.



We’re Here to Help

If you have any technical difficulties, contact the IT Service Desk for additional help. The IT Service Desk offers 24-hour support, seven days a week, via email and phone.

Phone: 614-688-4357
Self-Service and Chat support:
Text Telephone for the Deaf: 614-688-8743