Zoom - What you need to know
Updated 4 May 2020.
Here you will find examples of the challenges, and also guidance on how to be safer when using Zoom.
What is Zoom?
Zoom describes its online service as; 'the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars across mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and room systems.'
Or more simply; an easy to use video conferencing app that allows organisations or families and friends to easily see and hear each other on their phones, tablets and computers.
Its appeal is it's free, easy to set up, and use. In this time of Corona Virus lock down and isolation you can understand the appeal - particularly for those who do not work for organisations that make extensive use of Microsoft products including Teams and Skype.
We could broadly identify two key concerns about Zoom at the time of writing.
Security and privacy.
So, today (April 2 2020) we see 'Zoom boss says it'll freeze feature updates to address security issues'. Zoom's daily users jumped from 10 million in December 2019 to 200 million in March and we can attribute this increase directly to the COVID -19 pandemic. We should not be surprised that they find themselves overwhelmed.
Inexperienced Users and Zoombombing
Remember back in the olden days when teenagers would inadvertently invite the whole world to their house party while their parents were out of town? Back then people were less aware of the need to have appropriate sharing settings on their Facebook and MySpace accounts. Today we see people making the same mistake when using Zoom - with serious consequences.
Where people have shared the meeting code, and even the password, on social media there are examples of Zoombombing where uninvited guests share porn, abuse and race and hate speech.
Does this mean you should avoid using Zoom?
Well, not necessarily. No social media is 100% safe and our challenge is to manage the risks with the very obvious, and wanted, benefits.
Zoom has published; 'How to keep Uninvited Guests Out of Your Zoom Event.'
and can be summarised here:
- Do not share the link or the meeting ID on public platforms (and if you share photos of the meeting make sure the ID is not visible)
- Never use the personal meeting ID, instead allow Zoom to create a random number for each meeting
- Add a meeting password
- Set screen sharing to "host only"
- Disable file transfer
- Disable "join before host"
- Disable "allow removed participants to rejoin"
You can download a PDF of further security guidance from Zoom here.
And you can access a DPIA, prepared by Education Data Hub and Derbyshire County Council, to help school assess and log risks here.
That's it. Stay safe and be kind to each other.