Online musician: Zoom security features update

Many members have successfully made the move to teaching online and the path has been made easier by the large number of user-friendly, free or low-cost and flexible video-conference tools currently available.

Security in online environments naturally remains a key consideration, for safeguarding purposes, but also from general business and data protection perspectives too.

Recently some members have told us about the concerns they had with one of the more popular of these tools – Zoom – on account of reports they had read about security issues associated with this software.

Zoom has obviously received a great deal of feedback from users on this subject and has committed to make continual improvements to its software as result. Zoom has also developed some useful guides to help make their online classes or conferences more secure.

In particular, the guide Best Practices for Securing your Virtual Classroom contains a great deal of practical information, which members may find helpful, and indeed, reassuring in terms of security and integrity of the online teaching space.

Zoom has also posted a blog article about what it has done to make this platform more secure. Highly respected division of the Sophos IT company, naked security, has also written an article which sets out its ‘Top five things to get right while using Zoom’ which we summarise below. The full article is here.

1. Make sure you are using the latest version of Zoom
New security features are being added continuously. Zoom recommends you get into the habit of checking before each meeting. Where do I download the latest version?

2. Use the Waiting Room option

Set up meetings so that the participants cannot join in until you open it up. Zoom has published dedicated article on the Waiting Room feature.

3. Take control over screen sharing

Prevent ‘Zoombombing’ of your meetings and classes by managing participation in your virtual classroom . This article from Zoom tells you how.

4. Use random meeting IDs and set meeting passwords

Be careful if you re-use your old IDs and logins: they could be hijacked. You can also lock meetings once they start to avoid gaining unwanted visitors after your meeting has started. Zoom has a dedicated article on meeting and webinar passwords.

5. Make some rules of etiquette and stick to them

Respect for privacy, a sense of trust, and a feeling of social and business comfort are also important parts of online classes and meetings. Safeguarding is also important – please see our guidance on safeguarding online.

In giving you this information the ISM is not endorsing or recommending Zoom as a suitable platform for your professional purposes, but we do wish to share with you the responses of the company to concerns expressed by others using Zoom in similar contexts.

If you use other software for your online lessons, you may find it useful to take elements of the approach here into your own setting to make sure your classes and meetings are as secure as you can make them.