The majority of Cogworks team have been working remotely for a long time now and video conferencing has been an essential part of our daily working lives. It’s become a valuable business tool that we can’t do without.
Audio conferencing has its place, but adding video just gives that extra level of personalization which hearing a voice or replying to a Slack message can’t ever provide.
Over the years we’ve used a number of different platforms, focussing on Zoom around three years ago. We’ve found Zoom to be by far the highest quality and most stable platform we’ve used...(and we’ve trialled a fair few!).
Unfortunately, there have been a number of articles lately that have highlighted some security issues, but Zoom continuously works hard to improve and release updates quickly and effectively.
As long term users of Zoom, I thought it might be useful to share some hints and tips to help you keep your calls and your account as secure as possible:
1. Make sure you are using the most up-to-date version!
As with any software, keeping up-to-date with releases is essential to ensure that you are using the most stable and secure version. To improve security Zoom have been releasing a lot of new features recently to minimise the risk of any unwanted activity on your calls.
2. Don’t use your personal meeting ID.
When creating a meeting in Zoom, you are given two options:
1. Use your personal meeting ID.
2. Generate a meeting ID automatically.
We’d suggest that you don’t use your personal meeting ID and to always create a new unique ID for each new meeting.
Your personal ID is fixed and doesn’t change unless you manually do so. If for some reason, someone were to guess your ID (or save it and accidentally click on the meeting link), there is the danger that they could jump into a meeting you have in progress. Generating a new unique user ID each time is much safer as it limits the possibility of someone else guessing the nine to 11 digit number...
3. Always set a password to the meeting.
Up until recently, passwords were not automatically turned on meaning you could fire up a meeting with no password quite easily. It is good practice to check your settings to ensure that every time a meeting is started it automatically adds a password.
4. Don’t share your full desktop when sharing content.
As with any screen sharing application, showing your full desktop when on a call has its risks. Sensitive emails could pop into your inbox or that embarrassing notification that pops up while your mid-presentation from your wife, kids or colleague! It’s safer to only share the application window that contains the items you want to share, this prevents everyone from seeing anything else.
5. Use the waiting room.
For people outside of your domain, you can activate a waiting room so no one can just jump into your meeting uninvited. This is a great way to avoid unwanted guests diving into your meeting in the unlikely event they should guess your meeting ID and password!
To avoid disgruntled entrances to a Zoom meeting, it’s always handy to turn on the notification sounds to alert you that your colleagues are at the “knocking at the door”...
The above five tips are some of the current fail-safe things you can do today to ensure that your conversations remain between you and your intended participants.
With Zoom users now in the millions (jumping on for everything from company meetings to online fitness classes), it’s now more important than ever to apply an extra bit of care and attention to your settings from the off too keep those risks to a minimum.
What’s even more important is that good care is taken by everyone in the team through reviewing and discussing the application, keeping up to date with the latest versions, and of course meticulously monitoring settings.
As a Cyber Essentials Plus partner our priority is to protect our organisation online. For more information on how we browse productively and safely, check out Cogworks’ remote workers' toolkit.