How to keep your Zoom meetings safe

Dec 16, 2020

Zoom meetings might allow us to speak to colleagues in our jogging bottoms, but when it comes to safety and security, we can’t let our standards slip in the same way.

Zoom has become the go-to software for virtual event planners, thanks to its array of features and integrations. Screensharing, breakout sessions and waiting rooms are some of the tools that help you recreate the real-life experience. But for a professional virtual event, you need more than cool features.

Just as you wouldn’t book a face-to-face meeting in a run-down building with dirty tables and dodgy wiring, online meetings also need to be safe and secure.

Zoom continues to improve its safety features, but there are still a few things you can do to add extra layers of security.

Here are our tips and top features to help you host safe, secure and respectful Zoom events.

Check your default security settings before you create a Zoom meeting

Get your settings sorted before you fill up your diary with Zoom calls. Checking and changing your default features in your Zoom profile will save unnecessary hassle and stress.

Here are the ones we recommend:

Password protection

Top of the list is an obvious but important one. As with every other web application, you’ll need a strong and unique password. To change your password in your profile, scroll to the Sign-in Password heading and click ‘Edit’.

Two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication (also known as multi-factor authentication (MFA)) prevents someone with your password logging into your account without verification. If you have 2FA set up, you’ll get a code sent to your phone or email when a login attempt is made. Go to your Zoom profile, scroll down to Two-factor Authentication and click ‘Turn on’. This is a good idea if you’re logging in and out of different devices to host your events.

Don’t use the same meeting ID and password

To reduce the risk of old attendees joining events without an invite, you can generate unique login information for each meeting. To do this, go to Schedule a meeting. Under the Meeting ID tab, select ‘Generate Automatically’. Attendees won’t be able to access your meetings without this information. Under the Security heading, you can also change your meeting password. If it’s not already ticked, check the ‘Passcode’ box.

Don’t let the Zoom meeting start without you

If you're the host, you not only want full visibility of the meeting, you also want to be able to admit and deny entry. Under the Settings tab make sure ‘Allow participants to join before host’ is toggled off and grey.

Pay attention to the details

Prepare your waiting room

A waiting room makes your virtual event look more professional while allowing you to control who can and can’t enter. You can enable waiting rooms right in your meeting window via the Security tab. A sidebar will appear with all the guests and you can admit or deny entry when ready. If you’re running behind, you can send messages to the waiting room to let them know. It’s better to do this than rush into a meeting that isn’t protected to your standard.

Pro tip: add descriptions on waiting rooms. You can use this space to lay out the terms of the meeting or even the agenda and itinerary. Give your guests a reminder about respect and codes of conduct.

Be careful with those invitations

Anyone with access to the link and password for a Zoom meeting can access the event. Only share this information with attendees and avoid posting meeting links on social media. Think of meeting IDs as a piece of personal information like a phone number. Of course, if you’re able to admit people to a meeting, you have an extra layer of cover.

Create and share virtual meeting guidelines and codes of conduct

Sending a list of guidelines ahead of the meeting will ensure attendees are on the same page from the start. This also demonstrates that you've taken appropriate measures and covers you should anything go awry. In your code of conduct include features that aren't permitted assure people of their responsibilities. This might cover things such as appropriate behaviour and confidentiality.

Set a virtual background

As well as setting your own background, you can also create and share a background for guests to use during the meeting. This not only personalises your event but gives guests extra privacy.

To set a background, go to your Zoom app’s settings and click ‘Virtual background’. You can either select a default background or upload your own image. Some laptops don’t allow the background setting without a green screen or backdrop. In this case, a plain coloured sheet (ideally green) should do the job.

During the virtual meeting

Once a Zoom meeting is active, you can tailor settings to the specific event. Familiarise yourself with the in-meeting security menu, which offers the following security features:

Disable participant screen sharing

You can turn off screen sharing to avoid interruptions and accidental distractions.

Disable private chat

This can make other attendees feel safer and more protected in the meeting.

Disable file-sharing

If there’s no need for anyone to share files during the event, disable file-sharing. This can prevent attendees who’ve slipped through the net from sharing unwanted files, and reduces the risk of sharing viruses.

Mute participants

There’s always someone who forgets their mic’s still on and is rustling paper. As host, you can mute all participants in a meeting at once. They won’t be able to unmute themselves, but you can unmute either all at once with the ‘Unmute all’ option, or select participants one-by-one.

Lock your meeting

Once everyone’s arrived at your event, you can head back to the in-meeting security menu and lock your meeting.

Remove attendees

Should an unwanted guest appear in the meeting, you can remove them. Hover over the name of the participant, select ‘More’ and ‘Remove’.

To ensure that the guest doesn’t attempt to join the meeting again, head back to the main settings tab. Here you can deselect, ‘Allow removed participants to rejoin’.

Relax - you’re having a Zoom meeting at home, after all

We might still pine for face-to-face interviews, but we need to remember the benefits of staying at home, especially now that Zoom is safer than ever.

The above features and tips will add extra protection to whatever you’re planning so you and your audience can enjoy safe virtual meetings and events.

Of course, if you need advice and support to help you run your own events online, speak to us about our Virtual Events Management service. We offer affordable packages for small businesses and discounts for community groups, so you can focus on your creativity, not technology.

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