Zoom is an easy to use video conferencing platform that has been an amazing resource for people all over the world to stay connected. It’s ease of use has allowed grandmothers to stay in touch with their grandchildren, artists to share their classes with their students and the otherwise tech-averse individuals to remain connected with the people they love.
Because of Zoom’s sudden fame they are getting hammered with rotten tomatoes. They are being accused of security issues (most online companies get accused of this when they get big enough). This is a very serious topic for those who offer software solutions, especially when the software is used in business. Zoom is taking the accusations seriously and has implemented several things to improve.
A business will require different Zoom security settings than a private individual hosting family happy hour on Zoom. This is why business meetings (pre-pandemic) are held in the office conference room and family potlucks can get away with setting up a gathering in the park (pre-pandemic).
What does this really mean for those of us who are using Zoom to meet with family and friends and not for high-level business dealings and discussions of sensitive information?
The potential “dangers” with Zoom
These are like real-world party crashers. They show up uninvited and may say or show unwelcome things during a meeting. They may send links to malicious download files through the chat box feature. Some will record portions of the meeting they are “bombing”.
Here is what you can do to protect yourself and your people from Zoom-bombers.
As a Zoom host, you have superpowers.
- As a Zoom room host, you can REMOVE Zoom-boomers before they do damage even if you have not taken any security precautions.
- Even better, as a Zoom room host, you can prevent Zoom-booming in the first place by using the password feature that is available. This will make your Zoom room link longer, more private, and less likely to be stumbled upon by a nefarious Zoom-boomer.
- The next layer available to a Zoom host is to use the waiting room feature. This allows you to approve of each attendee before they join your meeting.
- And finally, you can lock your meeting once everyone has arrived and this will prevent anyone new from joining. Even if they have the link and password.
Here is a quick video Zoom did about how the password and waiting room work.
As a Zoom attendee, you also have power.
- If you are attending a meeting, and the host didn’t do any of the things mentioned above, and a Zoom bomber managed to find the meeting, and send a link through the chat box to a malicious software download, you can easily avoid the danger by NOT CLICKING on the link.
- You can also simply LEAVE THE MEETING.
The next Zoom danger is “privacy issues”
Most of us cannot afford to be as private and secure as we truly want to be.
- For the majority of us, the most secure online software/software settings will be either too expensive or too complicated to use, or both.
- The research required to make sure you are navigating the internet safely is vast and ever changing.
- They probably already have your data. Just by going online your data is being shared.
The reason so many companies now offer really cool free/inexpensive services is that they can earn revenue on our data, your data, my data, and the data of the world.
We trade our data for convenience and free/inexpensive services.
Companies, government, watch dog groups, and hackers are all pulling in different directions about how us regular people should be protected (or not).
There are also plenty of really smart, passionate, and persuasive people out there putting pressure on the government and big companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google as well as little companies like Lastpass, Slack, and Zoom to make them more accountable to protect our privacy and give us resources and procedures to recover if are attacked.
Most of us are and should be, spending our time and energy on other things. Humans only have so much bandwidth. We need ease of use; we need to be able to go about our business and do the things that matter to us. At some point, we must pick the brands we choose to trust.
How does this relate to Zoom in particular?
Zoom falls in the same category as the most legitimate online software. It is not the best; it is not the worst. They are big enough now that they are getting hit with tomatoes and one of the most telling things about this is how they are responding. Not how the media says they are responding, but what they actually say.
Here is what Zoom says about its privacy and security measures. And how you can use that information.
I also know that Microsoft Teams/Skype/link, Google meet/hangouts and other videos conferencing software all have their problems as well. Currently, I am choosing to trust Zoom for video conferencing. Currently Zoom is working on becoming better.
I balance the Zoom privacy settings available so that my people can easily join a meeting with me and not attract Zoom-bombers.
I am using their password feature with the password embedded in the invitation link for all my meetings and for meetings larger than 12, I also use the waiting room.
Go take a look at your Zoom settings. Sign in to your account and go to:
- Waiting room – Turn it off or keep it on (it’s annoying for one to one meetings)
- Passcode – Turn it on
- Personal Meeting ID – you can choose the password you want to give to your people.
- Embed passcode in invite link for one-click join – Turn it on
I am hopeful that during this time of testing Zoom will maintain its focus on ease of use as they continue to improve their security and privacy features and policies.
Because if it is too difficult to use then who cares if it is secure?
It all began when my grandmother asked me to help her learn how to use the computer. She was 80 at the time and it is because of her (In a variety of ways) that I am doing what I can to help anyone, no matter their technological skill, get control of their technology situation. She encouraged me to share my ability to take complex topics and break them down into simple steps and normal language.
My mission now is to help professionals gain the technical skills they need to grow their business and focus on their vision. Luxcentric is dedicated to training, using practical strategies, in the area of the core technologies. Email - Files - Calendars - Contacts
Don’t let your Technology Bully You!
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