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Zoom Privacy & Security Etiquette at BCIT

The video conferencing application Zoom has seen an increase of activity recently, as people across the world have moved to remote work and schooling due to COVID-19. This uptick in usage also attracts more mischievous and malicious actors looking for vulnerabilities and other ways to exploit the application or cause distress or harm.

BCIT takes concerns about security very seriously and has taken steps to change important default settings in Zoom and lock down functionality which is the most likely to permit a security breach. You can protect the privacy and security of participants in meetings as well as protect confidential BCIT information by following the tips and recommendations in this document.

Regardless of the method of video collaboration, BCIT policies and procedures must be followed including but not limited to: Policy 1500 Code of Conduct and Policy 5102 Student Code of Conduct.

For instructions about using Zoom, refer to Using Zoom in the BCIT Knowledge Base.

Tips for all Zoom users

1. Protect meeting links

The most common cause of privacy or security breaches with Zoom is also the simplest: sharing a meeting link with individuals who should not have access to it. As a general rule, don’t post meeting links where the general public can find them, and don’t share meeting invites with those who were not on the original invite list.

2. Protect BCIT private information

Close business applications which could contain private and or sensitive information before joining meetings or sharing your screen. Even if you have them minimized, notifications from applications like Outlook can unintentionally and unexpectedly reveal private information. If you are sharing your screen to show a document or application, share the specific application rather than your entire screen, which further limits the possibility of unintended security breaches.

3. Protect the privacy of the people around you

If you are sharing your workspace with others (family members, housemates, coworkers, etc.), protecting their privacy is also important.

  • Mute yourself when joining a meeting (you can set this as a default in the Zoom app) and whenever you are not speaking.
  • If possible, use a headset or directional mic to limit the amount of ambient noise that can be heard by others in your meeting.
  • Consider your workspace and, if possible, ensure that those around you aren’t unintentionally visible in video. If this isn’t possible, turn off your own video in meetings.
  • If possible, use Zoom’s virtual background feature to hide your surroundings.

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Tips for meeting hosts & organizers

1. Protect meeting links

This is still the most critical tip of all and so bears repeating here. Don’t post or share meeting links where they can be seen or used by those who should not be in the meeting. Remind your participants not to share the meeting links as well.

And, if there’s a good reason to post a meeting link publicly, refer to the information in the “Important Zoom Settings” section below to ensure that you’re maintaining the highest level of security and privacy protection that you can in those circumstances.

2. Protect the purpose and participants

There are many reasons for individuals to meet and many different types of meetings. When you are setting up a Zoom meeting, your meeting purpose and your participant list both have an impact on your security needs. In the following section, you will find a list of the most important Zoom settings to consider when setting up and hosting meetings and recommendations for when to turn them on and off.

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Important Zoom settings

Enable join before host

Where to find it:
  • In your personal settings – Settings > Schedule Meeting
  • When creating a Zoom meeting through Outlook, under Advanced Options
Default:
  • Off, can be turned on

off icon

Leaving this off is recommended for:
  • Online classes w/ group s or classes of students.
  • Info sessions / other presentations to the public.
  • Hiring interviews.
  • Any situation in which there is a greater likelihood of the meeting link becoming accessible to unknown persons.
Turning this on is recommended for:
  • One-off or recurring small group / department meetings with only other BCIT faculty & staff as participants.
  • If the host has assigned a colleague as a co-host (see below), that person has almost as many abilities as the host would and can run/moderate the meeting if the host is running late or cannot attend.
Zoom Help Centre:                  

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Co-host

Where to find it:
  • In your personal settings – Settings > In Meeting (basic)
  • When creating a Zoom meeting through Outlook, “Alternative hosts:” under Advanced Options
Default:
  • off icon Off, can be turned on.
  • Has no effect unless the host also chooses to add a co-host
Turning this on and adding a co-host is recommended for:
  • Meetings which the host may need to miss or attend only partially.
  • Recurring small group / department meetings.
  • Meetings with a large number of participants where the need for increased participant support, monitoring, or moderation is likely.
Leaving this off/not adding a co-host is recommended for:
  • Any situation in which the co-host is not known to the host.
Zoom Help Centre:

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Screen Sharing

Where to find it:
  • In your personal settings – Settings > In Meeting (basic)
  • When creating a Zoom meeting through Outlook.
Default:
  • off icon Off, can be turned on.
  • Has no effect unless the host also chooses to add a co-host
Zoom Help Centre:

Screen Sharing > Who Can share?

Default:
  • “All Participants”, can be changed to “Host Only”
Leaving this as “All participants” is recommended for:
  • Most collaborative meetings between colleagues.
  • Online classes w/ groups or classes of students in which students are expected to present or share their screens with each other.
Changing this to “Host Only” is recommended for:
  • Most online classes w/ groups or classes of students.
  • Info sessions / other presentations to the public.
  • Any situation in which there is a greater likelihood of the meeting link becoming accessible to unknown persons.

Screen Sharing > Who can start sharing when someone else is sharing?

Default: 
  • “Host Only”, can be changed to “All Participants”
Leaving this as “Host Only” is recommended for:
  • Online classes w/ groups or classes of students in which students are expected to present or share their screens with each other.
  • Most meetings / events with more than one participant in addition to the host.
Changing this to “All Participants” is recommended for:
  • Collaborative one-to-one or small group/department meetings in which attendees are well-known to each other and understand the etiquette of using the technology.

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Allow removed participants to rejoin

Where to find it:
Default:
  • off icon Off, can be turned on.
Leaving this off is recommended for:
  • Situations in which the likeliest reason for a host to remove participants is for moderation purposes, such as events which are accessible to the general public and to which the invite is widely distributed.
Turning this on is recommended for:
  • Situations in which the likeliest reason for a host to remove participants is to assist with technical difficulties, such as small group / department meetings.
Zoom Help Centre:

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Mute participants upon entry

Where to find it:
  • In your personal settings – Settings > Schedule Meeting (Basic)
  • When creating a Zoom meeting through Outlook, under Advanced Options.
Default:
  • off icon Off, can be turned on.
  • Impact is different depending on whether participants are permitted to unmute themselves (below).

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Allow participants to unmute themselves

Where to find it:
  • In your active meeting’s controls – Manage Participants > More
Default:
  • on icon On, can be turned off.
Leaving this on is recommended for:
  • Most collaborative meetings between colleagues.
  • Online classes with smaller numbers of students that are intended to be interactive or conversational.
Turning this off is recommended for:
  • Meetings/online classes with larger numbers of participants that are primarily presentational.
  • Info sessions / other presentations to the public.
  • Any situation in which there is a greater likelihood of the meeting link becoming accessible to unknown persons.
Zoom Help Centre:

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Waiting Room / Enable Waiting Room

Where to find it:
Default:
  • off icon Off, can be turned on.
Leaving this off is recommended for:
  • Most meetings with colleagues.
  • Online classes with students.
  • Larger public events where participant permissions – such as the ability to unmute or share screens – will already be locked down.
Turning this on is recommended for:
  • Meetings with a high need for confidentiality/ privacy or in which very sensitive information will be discussed or shared.
  • Selection Interviews.
  • Meetings in which one or more participants have been invited to join for a shorter section of the sensitive meeting.
Zoom Help Centre:

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Require password for… meeting

Where to find it:
Default:
  • locked on icon On, and cannot be turned off.
Zoom Help Centre: