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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.

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.

Important Zoom settings