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Consult Remotely Online with Zoom Privacy Settings

Great consultants are agile. Agility is even more important if we are to serve our clients and engage new prospects during this time of crisis.

One of the tools that helps, especially for remote consulting, is Zoom, an online meeting app that is inexpensive and easy to use. But Zoom comes with a caution for consultants, Zoombombs. This article will show you how to stop Zoombombs from exploding in your consulting meetings.

Zoombombs occur when trolls slither into poorly guarded meetings to show porno pictures or harass participants. Zoombombs can be as bad as hackers stealing company data shown on screen or discussed in audio.

There are a few simple security tips that will stop Zoombombs. As an online consultant you need to use them.

Keep Your Consulting Meetings Private and Secure

You can control privacy and security in three ways, Global Settings, Meeting Invitation Settings, and Live Meeting

  • Global Settings apply to all meetings
  • Meeting Invitation Settings apply to a meeting as you create it
  • Live Meeting manage attendees during the current meeting

Use Live Meeting controls to manage what your attendees can and cannot do during the meeting. 

When you create meetings, you should pre-define what attendees can do using Global Settings or Meeting Invitation Settings,

  • Set a Meeting ID
  • Set a Meeting Password
  • Use a Waiting Room
  • Lock Meeting Participants

The rest of this blog will show you how to use these settings.

Zoom’s New Security Button

Zoom’s new Security button released in mid-April 2020 makes access to security options quick and accessible. This area in grey describes the update.

The rest of the blog below the grey area describes the individual features accessible through other options. You may need both, the Security button for quick access and the step-by-step below for details.

Setting security for previous versions of Zoom took many settings scattered across different options. The previous blog and LinkedIn article, below this, guide you step-by-step how to use these settings.

The new Security button is on the left side of the black control bar. This makes it quick and easy to access security options instead of having to go to a myriad of options located in different places. The button is visible only to the hosts and co-hosts.

The new Security button is located where the Invite button was prior to the 2020 pandemic. The Invite button has been moved to the bottom of the Participants List.

Zoom security button with options

The button gives you access to the same security options described in the earlier blog below and the earlier LinkedIn Posts, but now you can get at these options quickly.

Clicking the Security button gives you access to,

  • Locking the meeting
  • Enabling the Waiting Room
  • Removing participants
  • Controlling how participants: share screens, chat, rename themselves, and annotate shared content

Keep the Meeting ID Confidential

You can control privacy and security in three way, Global Settings, Meeting Invitation Settings, and Live Meeting. Here are the Global and Meeting Invitation Settings you should seriously consider.

At a minimum any consultant-client or training meetings you want to be private should use the following settings,

Control the Meeting ID

  • Only invite people into the meeting who you trust.
  • Never post the ID to a social media network or forum. (Seems obvious but some do it.)
  • Control the release of emails that contain the meeting link which has the ID in it.
  •  Use a random meeting ID for each meeting rather than reusing the same ID. List Element

Use a Random Meeting ID

For recurring meetings, each meeting can use the same meeting ID or each can have a random meeting ID generated by Zoom. When you create a series of recurring meetings, select the option to create random IDs for each meeting. This means a little more work for you to send an email invitation for each meeting, but those few additional meetings will give your attendees a reminder and make the meeting more secure.

To create random meeting IDs for meetings you are scheduling,

In addition to generating a meeting ID for each new meeting, you can set Zoom to use a random meeting ID for your Account and Group.

Set a Meeting Password

For security above the meeting ID, add a meeting password. To enter a meeting a person needs to know the meeting ID (or have a link with the ID) and the meeting password.

Of course, as with any security system, the weakest links are the people using the system. If you create an obvious password, like “12345” or “password”, or you have team members with lose lips, they will “sink your ship.” (This is a World War II phrase that reminded people to not talk, “Lose lips sink ships.”)

To add a password to your meeting,

  1. 1
    Choose Meetings.
  2. 2
    In the Meeting Password options, check the Require Meeting Password checkbox.
  1. 3
    Enter a meeting password in the text box.

Send the password to attendees in a separate email from the email containing the link.

Control Entry with a Waiting Room

An option you can set before any meeting is that you select who gains entry into the meeting. This is a little like a “mantrap.” Mantraps are small rooms with two doors at the entry to vaults or secure areas. (Our small local bank was robbed every year until they installed a mantrap.) With a mantrap someone can walk in through the first door but they must be recognized by a security person who controls the second door. Zoom uses a Waiting Room so you can see the who is waiting and wants entry.

If you want security and have only a few participants, turn on the Waiting Room. The meeting host must give each person permission to enter. This is easy to use if there are only six or eight participants, but if it is a meeting with 99 people and you may not know their names, it won’t work.

To add a Waiting Room,

  1. 1
    Choose Meetings.
  2. 2
    In the Meeting options, select Enable Waiting Room.

As the host, once you start the meeting Zoom will pop-up a list of people waiting for access. Just click the people you want to have access.

Control Entry with a Waiting Room

Once everyone is in a meeting and you don’t want others to enter you can lock a meeting.

To lock your Zoom meeting so others cannot enter,

  1. 1
    Move your mouse pointer to the bottom of the Zoom screen to display the Control Bar.
  2. 2
    In the Control Bar, choose Manage Participants.
  3. 3
    Select More, then Lock Meeting.

Manage Participants During a Meeting

When a meeting starts with default settings participants can share their video, screen, and audio. This is a final spot where a participant can do something nefarious or take your meeting off track. But, as the host you still have control over participants during the meeting, not matter what the settings were when the meeting started.

For full control over meeting participants it’s better if you setup your meeting as a Zoom Webinar. The easiest way to think of the difference between a Meeting and Webinar is that meetings are small interactive groups and Webinars are more like a speaker with auditorium of attendees. Webinar capability is only available with paid Zoom subscriptions. You can learn more about the differences here.

To control participants, you will usually work from the Manage Participants button in the black Zoom Control Bar to display all participants in a list on the side panel.

Zoom Manage Participants Button

As the host you will be at the top of this list. Attendees will appear in alphabetical order in the panel. Hover over someone to see buttons that will mute or remove them from the meeting.

Mute Attendees
Mute all participants if there is too much background noise or you cannot find the single person who is a troll or hacker. The Mute All button is at the bottom of the participant’s list.
1. Click the Manage Participants button if the list is not already displayed.
2. Click Mute All at the bottom of the participants list.

Stop All Video
Click the Stop Video button at the left of the Zoom Control Bar.

Control Screen Sharing

If you are concerned that someone will share something inappropriate as the meeting starts,
1. Click the up arrow to the right of Share Screen on the Manage Participants bar.
2. Click Advanced Sharing Options.
3. Under Who Can Share? choose Only Host.

Display the Manage Participants List for More Control

As the host it’s a good idea to always display the list of participants. Many of your controls are available on the participant’s list in the sidebar.

To access controls,
1. If the list is not displayed, click the Manage Participants button.
2. Scroll the participant list to find the participant you want to manage.
3. Mouse over the participant’s name,
Choose Mute to quiet them, or
Click More to display a control menu with additional options

Zoom Participant Control

You can,
Chat - start or stop a participant’s chat
Ask to Start/Stop Video – to control a participant’s video stream
Make Host/Co-host - (on host’s menu) if the host needs to transfer control
Allow Record - (on host’s menu) to stop or start a participant’s local recording
Rename - (on host’s menu) – host can rename someone. Participants can rename themselves by right clicking their name
Put in Waiting Room/On Hold – put someone in a waiting room if you have one or on hold if there is no waiting room
Remove – move a participant out of the meeting. To reenter you must allow them to rejoin.

You can see a couple of these are helpful in controlling someone who is not appropriate in your meeting.

5. Select how you want to change that participants control.

Controlling Entry with Authentication Profiles

If you want to restrict access to a group of people using the same company email domain name you can use Zoom’s Authentication Profiles.

Authentication Profiles restrict access to a meeting or webinar to people who are,

  • Have a Zoom account (even free) with a valid email.
  • Use an email address with an email domain you specify.

Learn how to setup Authentication Profiles by searching Zoom Help for Creating an Authentication Profile.

End to End Encryption

Zoom claims to use End to End encryption, but private and government agencies have found that as of April, 2020 Zoom did not have industry compliant End to End encryption. The first week of April 2020 the Zoom CEO stated to the press that their highest priority will be to develop improved encryption within the next 90 days.

Corporate Data Security

Zoom is an excellent, easy-to-use meeting and conferencing software. However, if you need high levels of corporate security you should use online meeting software with greater levels of security. These software usually are more expensive and require installation by IT. Online meeting software you may want to check out are Webex from Cisco or GoToMeeting.