For lawyers and many of their clients, Zoom provides a cost-effective, user friendly video conference tool. But there are some legitimate security concerns with Zoom, and while some people are choosing not to use it, it continues to be the video conferencing tool of choice for many. There is no doubt it is user friendly and intuitive to use. And the circumstances around using Zoom are evolving as a number of security enhancements have recently been added (and in particular to the paid product – it offers greater security than the free download).

Not all lawyers will turn to Zoom for security or other reasons, and clients may decide against using the platform for similar reasons. There are other video conference tools available. However, there seems to be a growing consensus that Zoom can be used by lawyers as long as steps are taken to increase the security of the meeting. Here is a list of the steps you can take to make a Zoom meeting more secure:

  • Use a password so that only people with the meeting ID and password can enter the meeting. For additional security, you can remove the password from email invitations and send it separately to meeting invitees.
  • Keep the “join before host” option disabled so that you can control who is attending the meeting. You can also consider authenticating meeting guests; however, this requires all users to have created a Zoom account and logged in through it.
  • “Lock the meeting” once all expected guests have joined the meeting. This prevents others from joining, and therefore adds an additional level of security.
  • Disable file sharing: Disable file sharing within Zoom’s chat function. Use other means of distributing documents.
  • Consider appropriate chat and screen sharing settings: Zoom allows for chats, screen sharing, annotation and whiteboard functions. Adjust your Settings to disable these functions if they are unnecessary. As work product ends up saved in your Zoom account, to minimize security risks, these tools can be disabled for lawyer-client meetings.

Managing the Meeting

Here are some other general tips for improving the meeting experience for all participants:

To record or not to record

In certain circumstances, you may wish to consider recording your meeting with the consent of all those present. There are different views as to whether it is safe to record on Zoom, given certain concerns about security of recordings on Zoom. According to Zoom, users with paid accounts can set which data center regions to use to host meetings, and free accounts are locked to the default region where the account was provisioned. However, data center region selections do not apply to and do not impact the location of data at rest, which could include the storage of a Zoom meeting recording. Zoom has a Canadian data center for Canadian accounts, which should alleviate some security concerns about where data is stored. However, if you are thinking of saving meeting recordings on Zoom, you may wish to contact Zoom directly to determine where the recording will be saved. Given Zoom cloud storage limits and its recording retention processes, you may also wish to consider saving recordings to your own local location, and store recordings on your own cloud network or other secure storage for the long term.

Keep Exploring and Watch for Updates

You can keep exploring security options via Zoom’s Privacy and Security page. For a more detailed review of Zoom security for lawyers, see ABA TECHSHOW 2020 Co-Chair Catherine Sanders Reach’s paper on Zoom.

Zoom continues to quickly roll out updates. Make sure to install upgrades to ensure that your Zoom meetings run smoothly.

Categories: Legal Technology