Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Videoconferenceservice

Why Zoom?

With the switch to digital teaching, DFNconf (which is providing Adobe Connect and Pexip to Universities all over the country) is faced with massive challenges. While the platform currently undergoes upgrades across the board, it was originally conceived for organic growth. An alternative to keep the communication up and running thus is indispensable.

Self-hosted solutions that meet the requirements and extents for e-learning concepts are difficult to implement. An externally-hosted solution like Zoom is therefore necessary to enable continued communication. Assessments regarding functionality, stability and privacy were carried out during the selection process.

Nonetheless, conference solutions on university-owned servers are still mandatory to broaden and complement our portfolio of choices. CMS is currently working on the acquisition of additional hardware and will evaluate the utilization of systems like Jitsi and BigBlueButton. These options are meant to be used for conferences that are especially deserving of protection. At the moment however, we cannot give a clear timeframe for this.


Who can use HU Zoom?

Zoom was bought as a campus license and can be used by any employee or student. Meeting rooms with up to 300 participants simultaneously are possible. Contracted teachers are excluded for the time being, but we are working to change that.

How secure is the usage of Zoom?

When we decided to make Zoom available, we closely worked together with the general staff council (Gesamtpersonalrat), the administrative data protection officer of the HU, as well as the IT security officer. Some of the privacy related concerns you might encounter only apply to the free version of Zoom. The CMS bought a one-year campus license that provides us with more settings so that we can deliver stable and secure communication. The platform is set-up with the highest security options enabled, and will be closely monitored and supported during the whole time. Our version of Zoom is shipped with TLS based transport encryption (as long as you do not use a telephone), however, there is no end to end encryption for group conferencing. Having said that, there is of course a contractual warrant that data is being secured against any kind of misuse by Zoom.

In this context, please refer to the detailed statement of CMS on security and data protection aspects of Zoom at HU.