How to Secure Your Privacy on Video Conferencing Platforms


With the pandemic-triggered shift to remote work, video conferencing is at its peak. Just consider Zoom as an example. The platform’s daily meeting participants rose from roughly 10 million in December 2019 to 300 million in April 2020. The 30X growth in daily participants happened in only 4 months.

Now, more than ever, businesses, employees, organizations, entrepreneurs, and freelancers depend on video conferencing platforms for doing their work. What they are still getting used to are the privacy and data security threats.

Online exposure comes with a risk. Even though video platforms do their best to ensure security, don’t rely solely on their actions. Take the matters into your own hands.

Simple steps can increase the security of your privacy during your video calls. Why not give them a try?

Here are a few steps you can take to protect your privacy and data on video conferencing platforms.

Do Your Research

How much do you know about your conferencing platform? Before you commit, do the research.

The choices are many when it comes to video conferencing platforms. With the rise in popularity, new video platforms keep popping up. Use this plethora of choices to your advantage. Pick the platform that will do the best job of protecting your privacy.

Browse for the best platforms for video conferencing. Go to their websites and focus on their security features.

A big mistake that most people make is not reading the privacy policy. You should understand how the platform uses your data before you click “I understand and agree.”

It is recommendable that you read the whole policy. However, if you want to speed up the reading process, simply do a quick Control+F search for the term “sharing.” Get an overview of what type of data sharing happens within the platform. 

If needed, get in touch with the platform’s customer service. The privacy policy has to have an email or phone number for users’ inquiries. Ask them any questions that will help you clarify the topic of your privacy on that video conferencing app.

Keep Your Confidential Information Away From the Platform

Most video conferencing platforms are working on increasing security measures. However, no matter what they claim, you still shouldn’t trust them with confidential information.

Passwords, ID numbers, IP addresses, business data, trade secrets, and other sensitive information shouldn’t be exchanged on video conferencing platforms. There is nothing to guarantee you the privacy of that data.

For sharing such data, find a more secure alternative. For example, you can use Signal messaging app that uses end-to-end encryption for protecting the shared information.

Do Your Part as a Host

The host of the video conference has the ability to take certain protection measures for increased security. If you are the host, do them yourself. If not, inform the host of what they can do.

Here are some actions the host can take to improve the security of video conferences:

  • Set a password for the meeting and share it with participants on a secure platform.
  • Send email invites only to secure and confirmed email addresses
  • Use “the Waiting Room,” a feature available in Zoom. The “Waiting Room” allows the host to see who is attempting to join the meeting and make the selection.
  • Lock the meeting when the participants have arrived (if this feature is available).
  • Don’t record meetings without notifying the participants.

Clear the Cookies in Your Browser

The term “cookie” is all around the web. But do you actually understand what it means? Do you know how cookies affect your privacy? Let’s clear that out.

Cookies are small text files that remember your information once you visit a website. When your return to the same website, it reads the cookie to provide you with a personalized experience by resurfacing your login details, your browsed items, etc.

The purpose of cookies is to help businesses get a better picture of the users and thus, push suitable ads that will sell products to those users. Around 60% of cookies are in the Advertising category which is also most intrusive in terms of privacy. They track your activity to build a profile featuring your interests. Based on that profile, businesses will create personalized ad campaigns that will boost their sales.

You want to prevent video conferencing platforms to collect your private data that third parties can then leverage. If you let them have access to your information through cookies, who knows how they will exploit it.

Deleting cookies before and after a video call will provide you with more control over your privacy. You will therefore limit the information that the video conferencing platform can access.

If you don’t know how to delete the cookies, here are the guides for popular browsers:

Check Your Surroundings

Keep in mind that whatever is seen on the video can later be exploited. Don’t be surprised if a cat food ad comes up after your cat made a quick appearance during your video conference.

The fact that your surroundings are providing information about your personal life shouldn’t be something we just accept and move on. Do all that you can to keep your private life what it should be – private.

Limit the information that your surrounding provides by using a blank wall as a background. Some video platforms allow you to blur your background or customize it, so check if your platform offers that option.

Linda Ferguson, the CEO of Subjecto emphasizes the importance of being mindful of your surroundings. “I always go to a quiet place and blur my background when I host video conferences. People shouldn’t be stripped from their privacy for the sake of ads. While no one can stop the technological progress, we need to learn how to swim in this expanding ocean,” shared Linda.

Don’t Accept Unannounced Video Conference Invitations

The video conferencing trend serves hackers as a useful Trojan horse. They send emails in the form of meeting invitations whose link contains viruses or malware. The trick they use is to copy the names you know or the company logo on the invite.

Don’t underestimate the hackers’ resourcefulness. Raise your cautiousness to the maximum. It’s better to double-check fishy emails than to fall into the trap of malicious actors.

To assure that they don’t trick you, never accept invitations that aren’t announced. Teams usually set the meeting in advance. If you get an invitation that doesn’t match your agreement, don’t accept it.

Final Thoughts

No one can guarantee you absolute security on the web. However, thinking “who cares about my data” and doing nothing also isn’t the right approach. The best we can do is to do our part.

The awareness of what you can do to minimize risks is a strong start. Take appropriate security actions and you can use the video conferencing platform without feeling exposed.

Kristin Savage is a content writer and editor. Her main field of expertise is digital innovations. She is always up to date with the newest trends in the world of technology. Kristin’s passion is to spread valuable information wrapped up in a digestible format to people around to world.

Lavanya Rathnam

Lavanya Rathnam is an experienced technology, finance, and compliance writer. She combines her keen understanding of regulatory frameworks and industry best practices with exemplary writing skills to communicate complex concepts of Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) in clear and accessible language. Lavanya specializes in creating informative and engaging content that educates and empowers readers to make informed decisions. She also works with different companies in the Web 3.0, blockchain, fintech, and EV industries to assess their products’ compliance with evolving regulations and standards.

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