It’s mid-afternoon April 4, 2020 as I write this. Here in Michigan we’re in shelter-in-home lockdown amid the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Over the last few weeks as schools close and remote-working becomes requirement versus preference, more individuals and businesses are turning to software that allows them to conduct online meetings with colleagues and do virtual face-to-face check-ins with family and friends.
Among the most popular online meeting room software solutions is Zoom. There’s a robust free version, plus several for fee upgrade options. Unfortunately, Zoom has come under scrutiny after some using it fell victim to a variety of nefarious and mischievous individuals who delight in attention-seeking antics and worse. The FBI even took noticed and issued a warning. You can read more about that here and here.
Looking Beyond the Warnings
Just so no one misunderstands … I understand the warnings issued. I do not disagree that using Zoom to host online meetings can make organizations and individuals at risk for uninvited intrusions.
However, that’s true about so many situations, whether online or in physical spaces. Schools, churches, malls, as well as private homes and businesses have had their walls breached by those looking for attention, to do harm, to make their opinions known.
Here’s what’s also true. Exercising due diligence is not only wise, but necessary.
Unfortunately, some new (and seasoned) Zoom users failed to understand or implement the internal security controls that are available when scheduling and hosting meetings.
Yes, additional security holes were found, and Zoom has acted quickly to resolve them. But such concerns, holes, fixes will undoubtedly cycle around again. Not just with Zoom, but with any and all software or app that provides access via the internet. Need I point out that any and all physical buildings have the potential to also be breached?
Why I’ll Continue to Use Zoom
I’ve been using and highly recommending Zoom for several years now, with a Pro account early on.
- I’m careful where and how I share my various Zoom access links
- I check my physical surroundings to make certain nothing is visible from my webcam that I don’t want seen
- I know how to lock an online room to keep out the uninvited
- I set password only access when prudent
- I monitor who can screenshare and who can’t
- I monitor who can record sessions and who can’t
- I know how to mute someone’s audio
- I know how to turn off someone’s video camera feed
- I know how to kick someone out of a meeting
- and I know how to block someone from getting back in
Other than a few random technical glitches over the years, Zoom has been a wonderfully easy, inexpensive, reliable tool in my small business toolbox. (I did have a random foul-mouthed jerk make rude comments during a Facebook Live steam once. His comments were deleted. I reported him and blocked him from my page. No, I did not know him.)
I’m not going to let a few reported scary and troublesome reports of how some individuals chose to breach the Zoom rooms of others to make fools of themselves or worse determine whether or not I continue to use my Zoom account. I’ll continue to use it as frequently (with care) as I have in the past.
I’ll not criticize you if you decide not to use Zoom. Your decision is your responsibility … and I totally respect that.
For those who would like to see what Zoom’s like for yourself, my referral link is attached. Click here and setup a free account.