Zoom Videoconference Securely

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Host Meetings Without Leaving Your Home

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Shelter-in-place orders leave companies and conference organizers scrambling for virtual meeting solutions. Individuals may prefer 1:1 meetups with FaceTime or Skype. Some school teachers with cost considerations may use Google Hangouts. Corporate executives and religious services are racing for Zoom.

In addition to being scalable, Zoom supports multiple platforms. For best results, host meetings from a computer with the desktop app. Streamlined mobile apps are also available for iOS and Android devices. Attendees have the option to join by phone and listen in without a smartphone or computer.

FaceTime has a 32-person limit for iOS 12.1+ and macOS Mohave or better. But not everyone has Apple devices. The downside of multi-platform support is that placement, appearance, and availability of user interface options vary. Conforming to different APIs, what is under the More menu along the bottom of the iPhone screen can be labeled Reactions on a tablet or found at the top of Android devices.

Audio and video quality is dependent upon equipment at each location. Different screen sizes, operating systemS, and app versions can make it challenging to offer technical support to many participants.

Zoom Videoconference to the Rescue

When enabled by host, Zoom supports virtual backgrounds on modern MacOS and iOS devices. Quality is best with consistently lit green screen (or any contrasting unique solid background color). Android devices must wait.

The ​​Touch Up My Appearance option retouches your video display with a soft focus. This can help smooth out the skin tone on your face, to present a more polished looking appearance when you display your video to others.

With various Zoom plans for business, telehealth, and education, you can host meetings or webinars for an audience of 1, 99, 499, 999 or more. The Basic plan is free, but limits meeting time to 40 minutes for 3 to 100 participants (unlimited 1:1 meetings). The Pro plan extends the group time limit to 24 hours and adds user management features. There are currently two options to expand to next level of 500 Zoom participants:

  • Pro plan @ $64.99/mo/host ($14.99+50.00) 1 host
  • Business plan @ $199.90/mo/host ($19.99x10) 10+ host

Prices subject to change.

Receive discounts equivalent to 2 months free for annual plans. Enterprise and Enterprise Plus plans are available for 50 or 100 hosts respectively. Larger corporations can negotiate custom plans for a certain number of participants. An administrator may lock certain preferences for consistency.

Simultaneous meetings require multiple hosts. Consider having one or more co-hosts in different locations as backup during a large meeting. In the event of an internet outage, a remote co-host can continue controlling the meeting. A virtual meeting allows everyone to see and hear each other.

A webinar usually has one featured speaker. Participants do not see one another. A webinar add-on may be purchased for any paid plan with options to monetize attendance or gather more information from attendees. By default, host and attendees can share screens, files and markup whiteboards. You can also restrict this to the host (or co-hosts). Attendees do not require a paid account to join a meeting or webinar. With waiting rooms, breakout rooms and more, Zoom is a popular platform for conducting virtual meetings.

⚠️ The FBI sent a nationwide security alert on March 31, 2020 warning government agencies and the private sector against leaving Zoom meetings open to unvetted participants. —FBI

Improve Security

A careless distribution of your personal meeting ID number invites intruders to future meetings. If you missed this tip, you can edit your personal meeting ID online at Zoom.us in your profile. Before hosting meetings, visit the settings that are online. These are more robust than the mobile app.

The Waiting Room feature places visitors in a virtual space. The host has the option to move them into the actual meeting upon approval. For large groups with a single host, this may create a bottleneck. You can also enable registration prior to receiving a link to a meeting invitation. Spend some time configuring settings to protect the security of meetings to prevent party crashers from disturbing the dignity of virtually hosted programs.

References
  1. Zoom Meeting Plans for Your Business. zoom.us
  2. How to make group FaceTime calls. macworld.co.uk
  3. Make a Group FaceTime call on iPhone. apple.com
  4. Touch Up My Appearance. zoom.us
  5. How to prevent your Zoom meetings being Zoom-bombed (gate-crashed) by trolls. zdnet.com

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