The COVID pandemic led many people to turn to Zoom to stay in touch with friends, family and coworkers. Unfortunately, it also attracted Zoombombers, people who “break into” Zoom meetings to agitate and offend legitimate attendees. The problem has become so pervasive that the FBI had to issue guidelines on how to prevent it.
Are you afraid of Zoombombing? You don’t have to be.
One of the main reasons Zoombombers are able to wreak havoc is because Zoom meeting planners don’t enable the security features available in Zoom. In many cases, they may not even know these features exist.
Despite the headlines, Zoom can be a safe and secure virtual meeting platform if you take the proper precautions before the meeting even begins. Here are some of them.
Choose the right settings before the meeting starts.
Once your meeting begins, it’s difficult to reset if a Zoombomber strikes. It’s always better to keep them out than to give them any opportunity to crash your event. To do this, make sure your meeting is properly set up before it begins.
Check your security settings, your attendee and host protocols, settings for remote interpreters and any other feature that may allow an uninvited guest to disrupt the event. Look for someone in your company who knows how to set up secure Zoom meetings. If no one is available, consider using an outside vendor.
Put limits on who can attend.
Zoombombers succeed because many meetings are set up like open houses – anyone can join any time because no one is checking the door. By requiring attendees to pre-register for the event, you’ll keep your meeting from turning into a free-for-all.
Zoom allows you to upload a list of expected attendees and require them to register to attend the event. For extra security, enable the password feature and send a secure password only to those who are allowed to attend. Once all attendees have signed on, “lock” the meeting so no one else can join. These extra steps make it easier for you to decide who to let in – and harder for would-be Zoombombers to unexpectedly show up.
Control who can (and can’t) participate.
When anyone and everyone can speak, anyone and everyone will. This is when Zoombombers strike. To keep control over the discussion, set limits on when and whether attendees can speak up.
Hosts or co-hosts have the option to set all attendee mics to “off” during a meeting. This eliminates cross-talk, but it also prevents anyone from saying anything inappropriate or offensive. Ask all participants to turn their videos off to minimize the chances of seeing anything offensive. Anyone who wants to speak or turn on their cameras can “raise their hands” to be heard.
Give co-hosts control over the content.
Just as people can interrupt a meeting, so can the content they share. When everyone is allowed to share their screens, it increases the chances of a Zoombomber showing something there’s no telling what kind of materials they’ll show the other attendees. That won’t happen, though, if only the co-hosts are allowed to share.
Keep screen sharing settings as limited as possible. If speakers are going to present slideshows or other media, they need to submit it to the co-hosts to present at the appropriate time. This will allow all participants to focus on the content at hand – and free the co-hosts from worrying about unwelcome sights.
Zoom meetings have been disrupted in the past, but yours doesn’t need to be one of them. Take these precautions before your meeting starts and you can be sure it’ll go smoothly without any unwelcome interruptions.
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