Zoom privacy: best practices and settings changes

Jason Briner, with the geology department, speaks with a potential graduate student from Vermont via video conference in Hochstetter Hall in March 2020.

Photo by Douglas Levere

Published April 27, 2020

UB is committed to providing safe and effective tools to support remote work and learning. 

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In March 2020, UBIT made Zoom video and audio conferencing software available to all UB faculty, staff and students to support physical distancing and limit the spread of COVID-19.

Since we deployed Zoom, UB has made timely changes to security settings to maintain the optimal balance between security, privacy and usability. As of April 2020, Zoom is also in the midst of a 90-day intensive security review of its own product and is clarifying their privacy statement.

With these ongoing efforts, we continue to endorse using Zoom at UB on the basis that it is compliant with FERPA and maintains security standards as rigorous as comparable solutions.

But the security of Zoom at UB also depends on you. Please follow the recommendations below to better protect yourself and your colleagues.

Following Zoom best practices

  • Please refrain from sharing personal of confidential information in a Zoom meeting. 
  • Avoid clicking links in the chat window unless you know explicitly what they are and who is providing them. Malicious links could lead to your device or account being compromised and personal information stolen.
  • For faculty recording meetings with students over Zoom, please follow UB's guidelines for recording with Zoom to ensure compliance with FERPA privacy laws.

For more best practices and tips for managing your security settings in Zoom, visit the UBIT website.

What we're doing

The following changes were recently made to the default settings for your Zoom account in order to promote better security.

Passwords required by default for participants joining all new UB Zoom meetings

By default, scheduled Zoom meetings are assigned a random password. However, you can change this password to be one of your choosing.

Meetings hosted with your Personal Meeting ID also require a password. It is strongly recommended that you change this password regularly, and only give it to those you wish to attend your meetings. 

Meetings that were scheduled prior to this change may not require a password. 

Only hosts can share their screen by default

When you schedule and host meetings, your participants will not be able to share their screens until you give them permission to do so as host.

You can choose to give participants the ability to share their screens during meetings on a case-by-case basis. You can also change your account’s settings to allow participants in your meetings to be able to share their screens by default. 

UB login required by default after to view recordings in the cloud

A UB login is now required by default for those viewing your recordings in the Zoom cloud. This will affect any previous recordings you’ve made, as well as new recordings.  

To share recordings with those outside the UB community, make the following settings changes before sharing:

  1. Set Share this recording to publicly
  2. Enable Password protect to generate a password for others to enter before viewing your recording

These settings can be found by clicking the Share button next to your recordings in the UB Zoom web portal.

Get help with Zoom

For more information on using your UB Zoom account to host and participate in online meetings, visit buffalo.edu/ubit/zoom.

Zoom offers 24/7 support by phone at 1-888-799-8854, or you can email support@zoom.us.

To report Zoombombing or other incidents related to security while using Zoom, contact the UBIT Help Center.