Zoom is working hard to address some of the well-documented privacy and security issues that it has had, but there are a few steps you can take (both when setting up your meeting and during your meeting) to make your Zoom meetings safe and more secure.
When Setting up your Meeting
Enable Waiting Rooms
If you enable Waiting Rooms, attendees aren’t allowed straight into your meeting. The host can then screen the attendees and control who comes and goes.
Licensed users can also customise the Waiting Room settings for additional control and even personalise the message attendees see when they enter the Waiting Room. This message is a useful opportunity to post any rules/guidelines for your event.
Password Protect Your Meeting
One of the easiest ways to stop unwanted attendees and Zoom Bombing is to set a password for your meeting.
You can specify requiring a password when you set up the meeting, both in the web app and desktop app.
You can make a password a default setting by clicking on My Account in the top right-hand corner of the screen of the Web App. In the menu bar down the left, click on Settings. Click on Schedule Meeting then scroll down slightly to the Require a Password when scheduling new meetings and Require a password for instant meetings sections. Make sure they are toggled on. All participants will then require the password to join any meeting you schedule.
Join Before Host
Do not allow participants to join a meeting before you (the host) have arrived. You can set this on an individual basis for each meeting, both in the Web App and the Desktop App in Advanced Settings as you set up the meeting.
Alternatively you can make this a default setting by clicking on My Account in the top right-hand corner of the screen of the Web App. In the menu bar down the left, click on Settings. Click on Schedule Meeting then scroll down slightly until you get to the Join Before Host toggle. Click on it to toggle it off (if necessary).
Use a Randomly Generated ID
Your Personal Meeting ID (PMI) is basically one long, continuous meeting and you really don’t want random people being able to easily access your personal virtual space. Use a Randomly Generated ID instead by clicking the radio button here when you set up your meeting. That way, it’ll be different for every meeting.
Manage Screen Sharing
As a host, you really don’t want unauthorised people sharing their screen, showing offensive images during your meeting.
In the Zoom web app, click on My Account in the top right-hand corner of the screen. In the menu bar down the left, click on Settings. Click on In Meeting (Basic) then scroll down until you get to the Screen Sharing section. Choose Host Only. This locks the Screen Share as the default for all of your meetings.
You can also manage screen sharing during your meeting too (see below).
If you share your meeting link on social media or other public forums, that makes your event VERY public. ANYONE with the link can join your meeting. If you must share your meeting link online, password protect your meeting (see above) and only give out the password directly to specific attendees (e.g. through email or direct messaging).
During Your Meeting
Hosts can turn an individual participant’s video off or all of the videos off during a meeting. This allows hosts to block unwanted, distracting or offensive gestures by video.
You can mute participants on entry to your meeting on an individual basis for each meeting, in the Advanced Settings (Desktop App) or Meeting Options (Web App) when you set up the meeting.
Hosts can also mute and unmute either individual participants or all participants during a meeting. Simply click on Participants on the control bar, then click Mute All. This allows hosts to minimise unwanted, distracting, or inappropriate noise from other attendees.
You can also enable Mute Upon Entry in your settings, to make it the default. In the Zoom web app, click on My Account in the top right-hand corner of the screen. In the menu bar down the left, click on Settings. Click on Schedule Meeting then scroll down until you get to the Mute participants upon entry. Click on the toggle to know it on.
Lockdown Your Meeting
If you lock a Zoom meeting that’s already started, no new participants can join (even if they have the meeting ID and password, if you required one). To do this, click on Participants on the control bar at the bottom of your Zoom window during your meeting. In the Participants pop-up box, click on More (three dots) then click on Lock Meeting.
Turn Off Screen Sharing
You really don’t want unauthorised people sharing their screen, showing offensive images during your meeting.
During your meeting, the host can use the host control bar at the bottom of the screen. Simply click on the arrow next to Share Screen and then choose Advanced Sharing Options. Under Who can share? choose Only Host, then close the window. Participants will then be unable to share their screen.
Remove Disruptive Attendees
If you have unwanted attendees or participants who are being disruptive, remove them. From the Participants menu, hover over a participant’s name and several options will appear. Click on Remove.
If you remove someone, they can’t rejoin your meeting. However, you can toggle your settings to allow removed participants to rejoin (in case you remove the wrong person). To do this in the Zoom web app, click on My Account in the top right-hand corner of the screen. In the menu bar down the left, click on Settings. Click on In Meeting (Basic) then scroll down until you get to the Allow removed participants to rejoin toggle. Click on it to know it in. Your settings will then update.
Checking for updates to the Desktop App regularly will also help keep Zoom more safe and secure. Do this by clicking on your account (in the top right-hand corner) and choosing Check for Updates.
I hope you learned something here 🙂 Zoom is a great easy-to-use platform and if you follow the tips above, your meetings will be more safe and secure, and less at risk of zoom bombing. There is a beginners tutorial on Zoom available here. If you have any more tips to help keep Zoom meetings safe and secure then please leave them in the comment section below.