Best Practices for Securing Your Zoom Meetings

In this guide, learn about how you can secure your virtual meetings. The following content is separated into three distinct sections. The first section focuses on all the steps you can take to secure your meeting before it starts. The second section highlights all the controls that a Zoom Meeting host has at their disposal during a Zoom Meeting. The final section highlights a list of additional resources available to continue learning and become a Zoom Meeting expert.

Part 1: Pre-Meeting Settings

With meeting settings in the Zoom web portal and the Zoom application, securing your Zoom Meetings can start before your event even begins.

PRO TIP: Turn on Your Waiting Room

One of the best ways to secure your meeting is to turn on Zoom’s Waiting Room feature. Some Zoom users, like those in education, will have this feature turned on by default. This feature provides a virtual waiting room for your attendees and allows you to admit individual meeting participants into your meeting at your discretion.

Turn on Your Waiting Room

Users can enable Waiting Room as a default account setting, for individual meetings, or as a meeting template. Learn more about Waiting Rooms.

Customize the Experience

Once enabled, you can tailor your Waiting Room title, logo, and description, customizing what participants see when they arrive.

Add Additional Helpful Info

The description on your Waiting Room is a great place to add additional information, meeting guidelines, or rules for participants to follow.

View the Admit Participants

As meeting attendees arrive, Zoom will notify you and provide you a list of those in the meeting, and those still in the waiting room, so you have total control of who joins your meeting.

Message the Waiting Room

If you’re meeting with a smaller group of attendees, one attendee at a time, or your previous meeting is running long, you can message everyone in the waiting room and let them know.

Remove Participants

Once you’ve admitted an attendee into your meeting, you can easily push them back to the Waiting Room or remove them from the meeting all together, and can even prevent their return.

woman participating in Zoom meeting, view from both host and participant perspectives

Don’t Use Personal Meeting ID for Public Meetings

Your Personal Meeting ID (PMI) is the default meeting that launches when you start and ad hoc meeting. Your PMI doesn’t change unless you change it yourself, which makes it very useful if people need a way to reach you. But for public meetings, you should always schedule new meetings with randomly generated meeting IDs. That way, only invited attendees will know how to join your meeting. You can also turn off your PMI when starting an instant meeting in your profile settings.

example Personal Meeting ID
woman typing on a laptop

Require a Passcode to Join

You can take meeting security even further by requiring a passcode to join your meetings. This feature can be applied to both your Personal Meeting ID, so only those with the passcode will be able to reach you, and to newly scheduled meetings. To learn all the ways to add a passcode for your meetings, please view this support article.

Only Allow Registered or Domain Verified Users

Zoom can also give you peace of mind by letting you know exactly who will be attending your meeting. When scheduling a meeting, you can require attendees to register with their e-mail, name, and custom questions. You can even customize your registration page with a banner and logo. By default, Zoom also restricts participants to those who are logged into Zoom, and you can even restrict it to Zoom users who’s email address uses a certain domain. (For example, if your meeting is for NIU users only, require the email domain.)

user attempting to enter a Zoom session on computer

Part 2: In-Meeting Settings

Once your Zoom Meeting is off and running you’ll have access to a number of helpful features that put you in total control.

PRO TIP: Master the Security Menu

Zoom now puts all your essential security options in a single button, right in the in-meeting menu. Under this menu you’ll be able to lock your meeting and prevent any new participants from joining. You’ll also be able to enable Waiting Room to help manage new meeting participants and be able to control any sharing and chat permissions of individuals and all attendees.

man looking at a computer monitor wearing headphones

Control Screen Sharing

Allowing participants to screen share in a meeting can be a great way to collaborate, but that can also leave you open to unwanted interruptions during larger meetings. Zoom gives you the ability to determine if you want other participants in the meeting to be able to share their screens, or if you want to be the only one with that ability. You can easily toggle this feature on and off from the screen sharing menu, as well as the security menu.

adjusting screen sharing settings
fingers typing on keyboard

Disable Private Chat

In-meeting chat adds another dimension of collaboration to your meetings, creating a place for questions to be asked and fielded later, or for supplemental resources to be posted. But sometimes chat can become distracting or unproductive. In those cases, Zoom allows you to disable and enable chat throughout your meeting.

Turn Off Annotation

Like screen sharing and in-meeting chat, annotation can be a great tool when you need it, but it can also be an opportunity for mischief when you don’t. To avoid unwanted annotation, Zoom allows you as the meeting host to remove all participants ability to annotate during a screen share. You can disable this for the entire meeting, or just temporarily.

hand on a keyboard, attempting to type
muting participants during a Zoom sessions

Mute Participants

We’ve all been in meetings where somebody forgets to mute, or their microphone picks up some background noise that interrupts the meeting. Zoom allows you to solve this problem with a simple button to mute all participants. For an added layer of security, you can also disable participant’s ability to un-mute themselves. When you’re ready to make the meeting interactive again, you can simply hit the “Unmute All” button or allow participants to un-mute themselves.

Make Someone a Co-Host

All the features we’ve covered so far are only accessible to meeting hosts, ensuring that hosts are the only ones with total control over a meeting. But what if you need a helping hand to manage all your participants? You can promote a trusted meeting attendee to Co-Host, allowing them many of the same privileges and control features available to the meeting host themselves. To learn about the difference between a host and co-host, view this support article.

make user a co-host
clicking Remove button beside name of participant

Remove Participants

If you follow all the best practices in this guide, you should never find yourself in a meeting with an unwanted guest. But if you do need to remove an attendee from the meeting at any point, Zoom makes it easy to kick an unwanted participant out of the meeting. For additional security, you can also choose to not allow participants to rejoin once they’ve been removed.

Additional Security Tips

  • Disable in-meeting file sharing. In-Meeting file transfer allows you to send files to other meeting participants during the meeting through the in-meeting chat, and for other users to likewise send you files as well, which could compromise your computer. Learn more about in-meeting file sharing.
  • Keep the Zoom client up-to-date. As Zoom routinely updates its app with additional security fixes and feature enhancements, when receiving a prompt at app launch to update, please make sure to update. Learn more about updates to the Zoom client.
  • Be aware of Zoom phishing scams attempting to steal your login credentials. Learn more about this attempt by hackers to steal your login credentials.
  • Avoid technical support scams. If you receive a telephone call or a popup on your computer screen from someone claiming to be with tech support from a well-known software company (Microsoft, Comcast, or Zoom are all popular choices) and you’re asked to allow access to your machine, say NO!

Part 3: Additional Resources for Enhancing Security

When it comes to Zoom’s security, Zoom's most important asset is their users and how they utilize the product.

If you still have questions about specific features or functionality, we have three resources you may find helpful. The Zoom Help Center has thousands of support articles on all things Zoom. Zoom also runs weekly webinar trainings, or we have recordings you can access immediately, and the Zoom Blog is a great source of new Zoom use cases and stories.

Zoom Help Center

Whether you’re looking for technical documentation or a one minute quick start video, the Zoom Help Center has you covered with thousands of resources that are updated daily, so you can get your questions answered and keep Zooming.

Visit the Help Center

Live/Recorded Trainings

Zoom experts host free and interactive live training webinars daily. Get up to speed on important topics in less than an hour. Just select the time zone that fits best for you when registering for one of our live training webinars.

View Live Trainings & Recordings

Zoom Blog

Want to stay up-to-date on everything happening in the Zoom community? The Zoom blog offers daily stories on what’s new at Zoom, exciting updates, and innovative customer stories and use cases to keep you inspired and on the cutting edge.

Visit the Zoom Blog

Frequently Asked Questions - Zoom Security

Can I use Zoom for HIPPA-protected activities?

Currently No. Zoom was purchased under an academic use site license and is not configured to be compliant with HIPPA. While Zoom can be HIPPA compliant two things need to happen. First, business associate agreement (BAA) is needed between Zoom and NIU in order for NIU to use Zoom in HIPPA covered activities. Second, various features that are required for course delivery and are not HIPPA compliant must be disabled.

At this time faculty should use Microsoft Teams for HIPPA-protected communications.

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