Zoom Security Settings – The Concise Details
Zoom has many security settings. This is a detailed but concise guide to the settings and how they work.
Update: The information in this video is applicable and useful now. As of April 27, Zoom v5.0 is making security improvements and moving settings. Once Zoom’s settings are stable, we’ll update this video. The video applies to the paid version of Zoom. Login to the Zoom website to set your security settings.
Fasten your seatbelt. There are lots of security settings in Zoom. You must change default settings to help close the doors to hackers.
To access the account settings, sign into the Zoom website, click on your account on the far right of the top bar. You can also select a link to Account Management, under which you can reach the Account Settings.
The free version of Zoom lacks some essential security controls. In the paid version, the best place to start is, in the left-hand column, under ADMIN, select Account Management > Account Settings. By default, you’re already on the meeting tab.
One of the first things you’ll notice is that some settings have a lock symbol next to them. Zoom allows you to configure settings at an account level, group level, and user level. Here, at the account level, if you click the lock icon, that setting will override the group and user settings.
HOST VIDEO: Disable this setting so the host will start meetings with their video off. The host will be able to show their video when they choose.
JOIN BEFORE HOST: Disable and lock the setting that would allow others to join the meeting before the host arrives. Never let anyone start communicating until you join to moderate the conversation.
USE PERSONAL MEETING ID (PMI) WHEN SCHEDULING A MEETING: You may not know it yet, but Zoom sets up a private meeting room for you that runs all the time. Your Personal Meeting ID, abbreviated PMI, is the Zoom address to your room. You want your PMI address to be confidential. Disable this setting.
USE PERSONAL MEETING ID (PMI) WHEN STARTING AN INSTANT MEETING: Disable this too for the same reason.
ONLY AUTHENTICATED USERS CAN JOIN MEETINGS: Enable this to add more protection if you meet with coworkers and other people you know who have Zoom accounts. However, you might choose to disable the setting if you will meet with clients, prospects, or anyone else who might not have Zoom accounts.
REQUIRE A PASSWORD WHEN SCHEDULING MEETINGS. Enable this option for all meeting types. Jot down your PMI password.
Here’s a tip. In case you are ever in a meeting and need to know the password quickly, click on the icon to invite someone, then Zoom displays the meeting ID at the top and the meeting’s password on the lower right corner of your window.
EMBED PASSWORDS IN MEETING LINK FOR ONE-CLICK JOIN: Leaving the setting enabled means the invitation’s link to the meeting includes a built-in password. Invitees are not prompted for and do not need to know the password. That means you can require passwords, and your clientele doesn’t even need to know.
However, embedding the passphrase inside the invitation exposes you to risk. If an unauthorized person obtains the email message, then they, too, can authenticate to your meeting without needing to know the password. If you disable this setting, tell everyone in the meeting the password through some method other than email.
REQUIRE PASSWORD FOR PARTICIPANTS JOINING BY PHONE: Enable this if you want to protect against unauthorized callers.
MUTE PARTICIPANTS ON ENTRY: Enable this, not only for security but to protect the meeting from background noise near a participant.
CHAT: Disable this setting here. If an unauthorized person joins the meeting, you don’t want them to send disturbing chat messages for all to see. If some sessions require chat, do not click the lock.
PRIVATE CHAT: Disable private chat. Protect your participants from unwelcome interruptions from others, perhaps uninvited participants.
PLAY SOUND WHEN PARTICIPANTS JOIN OR LEAVE: Enable this setting to avoid being surprised to find out someone joined, and you didn’t notice. Check the box if you want to require telephone participants to record their names for an announcement when they join.
FILE TRANSFER: Disable and lock this setting. Blocking file transfers helps stop the spread of malware and potentially offensive content.
FEEDBACK TO ZOOM: Disable this feature.
ALLOW HOST TO PUT ATTENDEE ON HOLD: Enable and lock this setting for when you need to have a conversation without everyone listening.
ALWAYS SHOW MEETING CONTROL TOOLBAR: Enable this setting to make your life easier.
SHOW ZOOM WINDOWS DURING SCREEN SHARE: Disable this setting. Unless you are training people to host Zoom, no one needs to see what the host sees.
SCREEN SHARING: Unless you need people to show what’s on their screens to everyone during the meeting, set sharing to host only. If participants can share, there is a risk that someone, perhaps an uninvited participant, could show unwelcome content.
DISABLE DESKTOP/SCREENSHARE FOR USERS: Zoom allows the sharing of an entire monitor or sharing just one program’s window. Enable this setting if you want Zoom only to show the program window. This setting helps protect your participants, and the host, from accidentally sharing sensitive information somewhere on their desktop.
If, however, someone plans to use PowerPoint in presenter mode, disable this feature so that the host can share the whole monitor for displaying the slides.
ANNOTATION: Unless annotation is essential for your meeting, disable it. Turning off annotation prevents an uninvited participant from interrupting the flow of the meeting by placing images all over the screen.
WHITEBOARD: Unless you need the Whiteboard, disable it for the same reason you disable annotation.
REMOTE CONTROL: Unless you need participants to let others remotely control the shared content, disable this feature.
ALLOW REMOVED PARTICIPANTS TO REJOIN: Unless you think you might accidentally remove someone from a meeting, disable this feature to tell Zoom to keep them out.
FAR END CAMERA CONTROL: Disable this setting unless you want someone else to take control of your camera during your meeting.
VIRTUAL BACKGROUND: For security and privacy, tell workers to hide what is in their home office. Your workers can use a green screen backdrop, some attach to the back of chairs, but Zoom can usually differentiate between them and their background either way.
ENABLE IDENTIFYING GUEST PARTICIPANTS: This setting makes it easier for people who belong to your account to identify a potential intruder.
ALLOW USERS TO SELECT ORIGINAL SOUND IN THEIR CLIENT SETTINGS: Enable this feature. It isn’t so much for security as for sanity. If a participant’s voice is garbled, they can select original sound. Then you may be able to hear them.
WAITING ROOM: This is one of the most important and useful security settings in Zoom. Enable and lock this setting so that when participants try to join the meeting, they are held in a waiting room until the host permits them to enter.
Go back up to the top of that very long page. You’ll notice three headings: Meeting, Recording, and Telephone. Click the word Recording to move to the recording tab.
LOCAL RECORDING: Local recording means a participant can save the meeting to their computer. Disable the setting for confidential meetings. Otherwise, an unauthorized person could access that recorded file. A security risk is that the user could store the data in the cloud without a password.
CLOUD RECORDING: Unless you need to have a recording of the meeting, disable cloud recording too. In theory, cloud recordings are more secure since the users don’t have a file they must protect.
You’ll find many additional options. You might want to involve your IT Professional to help you choose the settings.
Scroll back up. Look in the left-hand column under PERSONAL and click on the Profile settings:
PERSONAL MEETING ID: Leave the random number alone. Zoom sets up a private meeting room for you to use anytime, and that PMI is the address to your room. Don’t make it easy for someone to find your PMI address. It is tempting to make your PMI match your phone number, but don’t.
In the left-hand column on the screen, skip down to Personal > Settings. On the Meeting tab, confirm that the host video is off and that Join before the host is disabled too.
Now go back up in the left-hand column to your Personal > Meetings settings, click on the Personal Meeting Room tab at the top. Confirm the settings match what you configured already. Essential settings include a green checkmark for Mute participants upon entry and a green checkmark in front of the Enable waiting room setting.
If you have other users and groups, Zoom suggests you review their account to verify the settings took hold.
When you schedule a meeting: Meeting ID: Generate Automatically. By now, you know to keep your Personal Meeting ID private except for a few people you trust.
Last, you can check for Zoom updates. Open your account settings by clicking on your account icon. Then select the option to check for updates. Zoom makes updates that improve Zoom’s security, but the updates do not help you until you install them.
To help protect your Zoom meetings, watch other videos that cover concerns about using Zoom, configuring the two-step login feature, and a video run-through of settings for paid accounts so you can simply follow along.