For users

1. Configure and confirm meeting settings

When quickly joining a video call, it’s easy to stick with the default settings. Take an extra moment to confirm that each option is configured appropriately for your meeting so that you don’t encounter unexpected surprises when you join. This includes testing your audio and video before the call to ensure both are working properly. Remember, meeting participants will be treated to the view of whatever is behind you, so testing your video before the call gives you the opportunity to check your background and make sure it’s appropriate for the meeting.  

2. Take the time to learn the tool you are using

You don’t have to become a power user overnight, but at a minimum, get familiar with the buttons to mute your microphone, turn off your camera and leave the meeting. It’s the easiest way to make sure you are seen and heard only when you want to be.You don’t have to become a power user overnight, but at a minimum, get familiar with the buttons to mute your microphone, turn off your camera and leave the meeting. It’s the easiest way to make sure you are seen and heard only when you want to be. Some video conferencing tools also require you to download the software prior to the meeting. Ensure you do this ahead of time so you aren’t fumbling last minute to get set up.

3. Mind your screenshots

Want to share a snapshot or video clip showing you and other meeting attendees on-screen? Double-check that no sensitive meeting details or personal contact information are visible in the frame before you upload it to your profile. It’s important to avoid any privacy issues or exposing user data which could be an innocent mistake with serious repercussions.  

4. Leave meeting invites to the meeting owner

Is there a person missing from the meeting invite? Would someone else benefit from joining? Rather than passing along the meeting details yourself, notify the meeting owner and let them handle it. You can easily trump their oversight by forwarding to the wrong contact or create an awkward situation for the meeting host when another party shows up unannounced.

For meeting owners and moderators

5. Don’t share your video meeting link publicly

Treat your meeting link like the key to your office or, better yet, your home. You wouldn’t share it with just anyone. To ensure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, distribute the link only to people who need to know it — and only through private means, like secure email or direct message. Remember to always treat your meeting IDs with caution. 

6. Require a passcode for meeting entry

Consider an additional safeguard for your meeting by setting a passcode, if possible for any privacy concerns you might have. While you can share the passcode with your meeting link, you could also consider sharing it verbally or in a separate email or message for increased security.

7. Don’t just attend, moderate

If you own the meeting but are unable to moderate, designate a moderator to join. If you are only in a meeting to moderate, it can be tempting to multitask. Don’t. If you are called upon to stop a participant’s presentation, remove a person from the meeting or lock the meeting, you need to be ready to act.

For people exploring alternatives to Zoom and other video services

8. Choose a service that meets your needs

Believe it or not, you don’t have to opt for the first video conferencing app that shows up in your online search. Common free services like Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts may be easily accessible, but while they generally provide basic features like screen sharing, they don’t always provide the functionality needed for larger video conferences. Given the current circumstances, multiple companies are providing free access to their video conferencing services and tools, so you could actually try them all and see what works best for you without being locked into a plan. Professional tip—if privacy and security are especially of concern, look for a provider that has a history and reputation for securing their customers’ personal data and privacy.Taking the time to understand service providers and the security measures they have in place will only benefit you in the long run

9. Consider live streaming

Video conferencing serves a specific purpose—real-time, two-way communication and exchange of information among hosts and participants. If your need is mainly outbound communication to an audience, you may alternatively consider live streaming as your primary channel. This would limit the opportunity for outside parties to disrupt your message and presentation, especially in large call situations. Fortunately, live streaming is available as an option for select video conferencing providers, so you can broadcast to larger audiences while also preserving your ability to meet and interact with individuals and smaller groups on a more personal level. 

10. Prioritize encryption and privacy policies

Given the prevalence of cybercrime and cyberattacks, such as the increasing occurrences of bad actors hijacking video meetings, it’s highly recommended that you emphasize data privacy and cybersecurity in your search for a solution. Fortunately, most providers’ security and privacy policy documentation is publicly available on their websites.


Where some pitfalls of video conferencing can simply be attributed to user error, the remainder are the product of flaws in the service being used and the compromises made by the provider itself. It’s no secret that the way the technology is coded, packaged and deployed has a significant impact on the security of your data and privacy of your conversations with meeting attendees. But you should also be comfortable with the level of transparency a provider maintains regarding their offering and how forthcoming they are in terms of how your communications and intellectual property are handled.

We are all taking measures to keep ourselves, family and friends safe and secure during the Coronavirus lockdowns. Let’s also make sure we are doing the same with our communication tools.