10 Zoom Tips to Make Your Meetings More Secure

Jalesa Campbell
Updated Feb 26, 2021
1 min read

10 Zoom Security Best Practices

If you’re working from home right now, chances are you’re using a video platform for meetings and training. One popular option is Zoom, a platform with around 300 million daily meeting participants.

Whether you’re using Zoom to host weekly meetings, trainings, lectures, or social gatherings, it’s important to make sure you’re following best practices for your and others safety. You may have already  heard of Zoom security issues, including the “Zoom bombings” where univited guests show up at meetings and also the false claim made about end-to-end encryption. However, Zoom has taken measures to address both of these issues with new security updates and end-to-end encryption for those joining over the desktop app, mobile app, or Zoom Rooms.

We’ve put together a list of several Zoom best practices you can follow when hosting a meeting or webinar for better safety and security.

  • 1

    Send Out Meeting Invites

    One good practice to implement is to send attendees meeting invites. You can do this through Microsoft Outlook and also Gmail. This will give you more control over who can attend your meeting or webinar. In Microsoft Outlook, attendees can RSVP so you’ll have a heads up of who’s planning to attend. Detailed steps on how to add Zoom for Outlook or the Gmail add-on can be found on the platform’s website.

  • 2

    Enable the Waiting Room Feature

    By turning on the Waiting Room feature, you’ll be able to control who enters your meeting (you must be an account administrator to access this setting). You’ll be able to see who is waiting to join and can admit them or remove them. If you don’t recognize the individual trying to join the meeting, you can remove them, and this will prevent them from joining back in. 

    Here’s how to enable the Waiting Room feature:

    • Go to “Account Management” > “Account Settings”
    • Under “Security” if the Waiting Room feature is disabled, you toggle it on 
    • If you want to make this required for everyone on the Zoom account, click the lock to make it mandatory.
  • 3

    Add Guidelines to the Waiting Room

    For those who are licensed Zoom users, you have the ability to customize your waiting room, such as by adding a title, your organization’s logo, or even instructions for participants to read before they join. 

    Stefan Chekanov, CEO of Brosix, told us that they use this feature within their organization. “We [disable] anyone from joining a meeting until the host starts it and we have a mandatory waiting room first. In each meeting, there is a tech support person who monitors all participants and deals with any tech issues,” Chekanov said. He also noted that they use a VPN to enhance the privacy and security of their connection.

    For teachers, the waiting room can be used as an opportunity to remind students of things they need before class begins and a checkpoint that can help with taking attendance. If you’re a manager, you can provide a meeting agenda before it kicks off.

    Here’s how to customize the waiting room:

    • Under the “Security” section, click on the pencil under the Waiting Room feature
    • From here, you can customize the title, upload a logo or add a description. This is where you can post a reminder, agenda, or just a welcome note.
  • 4

    Require a Passcode

    A good way to prevent unwelcome guests from joining your Zoom meeting is to require participants to enter a passcode before logging onto the meeting. For instance, if someone outside of your organization or group gains access to the Zoom meeting link you’ve generated, and a passcode is not required, they could potentially access confidential information. Passcodes prevent such intrusions. 

    Kristin Bolig, Founder of SecurityNerd, says she consistently uses passcodes for meetings: “I always require passwords when setting up Zoom meetings. It can help you keep unwanted guests from ‘zoom bombing’ and joining your private calls.”

    Here’s how to require a passcode:

    • Go to “Account Management” > “Account Settings”
    • Under “Security” you can toggle on the passcode feature if it’s not already enabled
    • You can also lock this feature so that a passcode will be required for all of your account users whenever they set up a meeting or webinar
  • 5

    Once Everyone’s There, Lock the Meeting

    Before you start the meeting, check to see if everyone’s there, and lock the meeting to prevent anyone else from joining in. This is another helpful way to prevent “Zoom Bombing” so they’ll be no surprise guests.

    Here’s how to lock your Zoom meeting:

    • Look down the bottom of the Zoom meeting window and click “Participants”
    • From here, you’ll see a button that says “Lock Meeting” that you can select
  • 6

    Place All Participants on Mute

    To prevent any disturbances during a team training, meeting, or class, you can place all participants on mute as soon as they join. This will help to minimize distractions and keep engagement centered on the host, co-host, or panelists.

    Here’s how to mute all Zoom participants:

    • Look at the bottom of your meeting screen
    • Click on the “Participants” button
    • Click “Mute All”
    • If you want participants to be able to unmute themselves during the meeting, you can select the option “Allow participants to unmute themselves”
  • 7

    Turn off Annotations

    If you want to prohibit students from writing or drawing on Zoom’s whiteboard or employees from adding notes to a slideshow, you can do this by turning off annotations. This will prevent unwanted activity during your meeting that could be distracting or a disruption.

    Here’s how to turn off annotations in Zoom:

    • Go to “Account Management” > “Account Settings”
    • Click on the tab that says “Meeting”
    • Look under “Meeting (Basic)” to see if Annotations are currently enabled. If so, you can toggle this feature off.
    • If you only want the person sharing their screen to add annotations, you can select the corresponding box for this feature. This can be helpful if you call on a student to show their work or an employee to brainstorm for the group.
  • 8

    Disable the Private Chat Feature

    To help keep the meeting more focused, you can also disable the private chat feature. For employers, this helps to take away distractions from important conversations, and for teachers, this helps to keep students focused on class (and less on chatter).

    Here’s how to disable the private chat feature in Zoom:

    • Under the Meeting Controls, click on “Chat”
    • Once the chat window has opened, click “More” and select the appropriate option. If you don’t want participants to chat with anyone, select “No one”. If you only want participants to chat with the host, select “Host only”.
  • 9

    Use a Generated Meeting ID, Not Your Personal One

    Never use your personal meeting ID for group settings, such as a team meeting, training, or classroom setting. If someone you’re not familiar with obtains your personal meeting ID, they’ll be able to join your meeting space and may do so unannounced. It’s best to use generated Zoom IDs, such as by scheduling a meeting, whether it be a one-time meeting or a recurring one.

    Here’s how to schedule a Zoom meeting with a generated ID:

    • You can create a Zoom meeting through the online Zoom app or the desktop client.
    • Online, under the “Meetings” tab, you can click the “Schedule a New Meeting” button to begin setup.
    • On your desktop, go to the Zoom client and click “Schedule.”
    • From here, whether you’re online or using the desktop client, you can fill in the details of the meeting and opt to have an ID generated by making sure the radio button is selected under “Meeting ID”
  • 10

    Manage Who Can Share Their Screen

    Prevent unexpected distractions or screen sharing by managing who can share during a meeting, training session, lecture, or even social gathering. This way you can keep everyone focused and centered as well as prevent unwanted information shared with those in the meeting.

    Here’s how to manage who can share their screen in Zoom:

    • In your host controls next to the “Share Screen” option, click on the arrow
    • Next, click “Advanced Sharing Options”
    • Under the “Who can share?” option, select “Only Host”

One Last Thing: Keep Zoom Updated

Remember to keep the platform updated as you use it. This will help to ensure you have the latest version and are up to date with any security changes. Here are several ways to check for Zoom updates:

  1. Visit Zoom’s Download Center to get the latest versions for the web client, plugins, mobile apps, and more.
  2. When you open the desktop client, and a mandatory update is available, you’ll see a notification bar.
  3. Manually see if an update is available by opening the desktop client, clicking on your profile picture, and clicking “Check for Updates”.

Photos by Girts Ragelis / Nattakorn_Maneerat / Shutterstock

Safety and Security Reporter

Jalesa Campbell

Jalesa is one of Safety.com's staff experts on home security, natural disasters, public safety, and family safety. She's been featured on Today.com and elsewhere.

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