Zoom Meeting Security

There has been much talk recently about “Zoombombing”, which is when an uninvited participant manages to find a way to enter and disrupt a Zoom session.  With a few best practices, you can decrease the likelihood of this happening to you.

Two Key Practices:

  1. Make sure your Zoom meeting link is not shared publicly, for example on social media or a public-facing website.
  2. Zoom meeting links should only be shared directly with others via email or an LMS (for Skidmore, this is Blackboard or Brightspace/theSpring).

Below are some settings that can be adjusted prior to the meeting to help provide addtional security. (These options can be set when creating a new Zoom meeting, or by editing an existing meeting.)

Enable waiting room – Participants must be admitted manually by the host. For new meetings, Zoom has now made this a default, so be sure to admit participants into your meeting. Its important to acknowledge that this can take time and interrupt the flow of a meeting. It is possible to designate a trusted member of the session to be a co-host, and they can be responsible for admitting participants. Instructions for designating a co-host.

Only authenticated users can join – Checking this box means only members of your school who are signed into their Skidmore Zoom account can access the meeting. Users will be required to sign in via Skidmore’s Single Sign-On (SSO), using their Skidmore username and password.

Do not enable Join before host – Participants will not be able to join before the host and will see a pop-up that says, “The meeting is waiting for the host to join.” The default setting is for this to be disabled.

Password-protect the meeting – Create a password and share with your participants/students via Skidmore email so only those intended to join can access the Zoom session.


Below are some settings you can adjust once you are in a meeting to increase security.

Control screen sharing – Set screen sharing so that only the host can share their screen. This is currently the default setting.

Lock down the chat – Restrict in-class chat so students cannot privately message other students.

Lock down the session – Once all the participants have joined you can lock the meeting. If a participant leaves the session for any reason, and needs to get back in, the session can be set up to let them back in.

Disable participant video – Turn off a participants video to block distracting content or inappropriate gestures while class is in session.

Mute participant audio – Mute/unmute individual participants or all of them at once.

Remove a participant – If someone manages to join your Zoom session who is not supposed to be there, you can easily remove them from the Participants menu. Hover over their name, and the Remove option will appear.

Best Practices for Recording Zoom Meetings and Addressing Student Privacy

Do live class sessions in Zoom need to be recorded? In some cases, course content can be recorded and delivered to students asynchronously, for them to view outside of scheduled class time. This allows for students who are in different time zones to be able to view lectures at a time that makes better sense for them.

If you do need to record, we recommend the following steps to assure FERPA compliance:

  • Make participants aware that the session is being recorded, for what purpose, and let them know where it will be securely stored.
  • Consider using the Consent to be Recorded feature. As a host, you can enable this setting so that participants receive a prompt to provide their consent to be recorded. Attendees will receive a notification when a recording starts or if they join a session that is already being recorded. The attendee can either consent to stay in the session or leave. (Instructions for how to Consent to be Recorded, Instructions for how to provide Consent as an Attendee, and How to run a report on attendee consent)
  • If necessary, allow students to turn their video off and/or communicate via chat instead of speaking.
  • To protect privacy while recording, an attendee can opt to implement a virtual background so others are not able to see view their physical surroundings. (How to setup a virtual background)
  • Only share recorded Zoom sessions securely, via Zoom, Ensemble Cloud, or Blackboard or Brightspace/theSpring.

Additonal Resources

Best Practices for Securing Your Virtual Classroom – Zoom Blog

Additional Zoom resources pertaining specifically to teaching and learning with Zoom, can be found on Zoom’s Support during the COVID-19 pandemic page. If you have additional questions or concerns about the privacy of security of your Zoom classes, please do not hesitate to reach out to LEDS directly at leds@skidmore.edu or by submitting an IT help ticket.