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Using Zoom? Make sure your meetings are secure

So with the "stay-at-home" orders, working from home, and social distancing, there's been an uptick in video conferencing tools, specifically Zoom. Last week I was sharing how to make it fun by changing your virtual background but this time we need to talk security. Now they were in the news a few times, over the past week or so citing security issues and "zoom bombings". I personally know of a meeting that was "zoom bombed". What that mean is someone is disrupting the meeting, they do so by taking control of the screen being shared, sharing inappropriate things/images (listen someone took over a meeting and shared porn), shouting racial slurs and or profanity. But just like any platform or software they have their security issues, here's how you can protect your meeting.

First things first...update!

On the heels of all the reports and incidents Zoom has released an update to the platform, so PLEASE don't dismiss the update! It takes less than five minutes. You should be updating to 4.6.(19273.0402), if you're using Windows the version number is 4.6.9 (19253.0401). This addresses a lonnnnngg list of things. If you're not sure what version you have, sign into your Zoom, select your profile, then go to "About Zoom". If you haven't been prompted to download visit the Zoom download center here to update your version of Zoom.

*Before we get into the settings a good housekeeping tip...don't share your meeting links publicly.*

Settings, settings, and more settings

Now let's get into these settings because this where you're going to control and make sure you're meeting is secure. So in your desktop app, click on your profile, then select settings. Now the settings here are slimmed down, so if you scroll to the bottom of the first tab of settings (should be general by default) you'll see "more settings" click on it, as this will take you to the full range of settings (it's going to open Zoom in your web browser).


Zoom settings page in web browser

The important settings first...

Let's get your meeting locked down first. Under meeting settings (just scroll down some) you'll see the "Require a password when scheduling new meetings" and "Require a password for instant meetings". Instant meetings are ones you just start on the fly, as opposed to scheduling them. If you've updated you'll see that this setting is enabled automatically and can't be toggled off. So anyone that wants to join your meeting will need a password. There's also a setting for a password required for meetings using your Personal Meeting ID (PMI). If this isn't enabled, do it!!!

Next up, screen sharing. Now some of the zoom bombing incidents have involved hijackers taking over the screen. You can control who has the ability to screen share in your meetings. You can disable screen sharing all together, but most meetings especially business ones someone is sharing. So under that, you can set it so only you the host can share or you can set it that all participants can share. Next setting under that, is almost like raising your hand in class but not's who can start sharing when someone else is sharing, it can be toggled between Host only or All participants.

Want to take it a step further? You can disable desktop sharing and only allow for participants to share certain applications. And that scribbling on the screen being shared, you can disable annotation to take care of that problem. This setting is right underneath the "disable desktop/screen share" setting.

You can remove participants from the meetings. Go to "manage participants" while in the meeting by hovering over the participants name, click more, then remove.

One more setting that also helps prevent unwanted attendees in your meeting, the Waiting Room feature. This means attendees wouldn't be allowed into the meeting without you letting them in from the waiting room individually. Now clearly if you're having a large scale meeting this may not work.

*Zoom allows a maximum of 100 participants per meeting (500 if you get the Large Meeting add-on)

Make sure to check these settings before you schedule your next Zoom meeting!

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