Tag Archives: Security

Zoom Video Conferencing Best Practices

UPDATED: 09/11/2020

As the use of Zoom has exploded in ICCSD and around the country, here are some best practices to implement in order to ensure that your Zoom meetings run effectively and securely.  

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a Zoom alternative, you should check out Canvas Video Conferencing or Google Meet.  

1. Do not post Zoom links publicly

Share Zoom meeting URLs by email, Canvas site, shared document, or another form of direct or secured communication.  

2. Create meeting-specific URLs, rather than using your personal meeting room

If you use your personal meeting room, you run a greater risk of the URL being exposed than when using a one-time or meeting-specific URL.  

3. Ensure that you (and your students) are using an ICCSD Zoom account

  • To log in, visit Zoom’s Sign-In page and click “Sign in with Google”
  • NOTE: Unfortunately, this is currently unavailable for most students due to Zoom’s age verification rules.  ICCSD is working to determine whether Zoom can configure our domain to bypass age verification. 

4. Consider using secure options for your meetings

These options include: 

  • Add a passcode to your meeting
  • Require all students to use their full name when joining class.  
  • Enable your meeting waiting room to approve attendees. Only allow students to join who are using their full (first and last) name. 
  • Control or disable in-meeting chats, if the chat feature isn’t required for a meeting
  • If your meeting includes only ICCSD individuals, you can check “Only authenticated users can join meetings”.  Note that students and staff would need to log in to Zoom rather than joining as a guest; all ICCSD users can log in using Zoom’s “Log In with Google” option.  
    • NOTE: Unfortunately, this is currently unavailable for most students due to Zoom’s age verification rules.  ICCSD is working to determine whether Zoom can configure our domain to bypass age verification. 
  • If you are sharing your screen, you can lock annotation by clicking the “…More” button in the main toolbar, then choosing “Disable Attendee Annotation”
  • Lock your meeting after all expected attendees have joined.  You can do this by clicking the “Participants” button, then clicking “…More” toward the bottom of the participants panel and selecting “Lock Meeting”.  

 

Securing Your Account with a Passphrase

Password ImageIt is often said that data and networks are far less vulnerable to sophisticated technological attack than they are to human mistakes.  This is borne out time and again with news of large-scale hacks that were made possible not by expansive, high-tech eavesdropping operations, but instead by individuals who were tricked into giving up a password over email, passwords that were written down, or passwords that are so simple as to be cracked in seconds.  

Indeed, the use of difficult-to-remember passwords – and the steps that people take to keep track of them – is one of the key ways that attackers compromise a system.  In order to protect yourself and any organizations – including the Iowa City Community School District – whose systems you have access to, one easy solution is to switch from passwords to passphrases.  Continue reading Securing Your Account with a Passphrase

iPad Update: Summer, 2018

All ICCSD staff members have received several email notices over the past couple of months regarding our upcoming iPad update project, which will begin at the end of the school year.  I’ve received a number of questions with regard to this project, and wanted to provide some overview information for those of you who use – or have students who use – iPads.  

Project Overview

All ICCSD-owned iPads – this includes those purchased with building, department, grant, or PTO funds – must be turned in to your building office or the ESC tech center by June 1st, 2018.  iPads will be reimaged and connected to our new management system, at which point they will be redeployed back to you.  The purpose of this project is to bring all of our iPads under a unified management system that will allow us to easily deploy and recover application licenses, improve security and manageability, and to identify and fix problems with devices.   Continue reading iPad Update: Summer, 2018

Technology Annual Report

Each year, I provide a report to the board that provides a high-level view of our technology program, through the lens of particular projects completed, underway, or planned.  This will certainly not be the most riveting content I’ve posted to the blog, but for those of you who are interested, I’m posting a summary of that report here.  

The 2016-17 school year was one of transition in the Iowa City Community School District’s Office of Technology & Innovation.  As we move into winter of 2017-18, we have completed a number of major projects and still have significant initiatives underway or in planning stages.  Our departmental performance metrics have generally improved slightly, though I’m excited to see how our work in terms of specific initiatives and in targeted locations will manifest itself in the coming year’s technology program evaluation.   Continue reading Technology Annual Report

Password Resets and Policy Development

We experienced a number of issues yesterday morning with students being unexpectedly forced to change their passwords; we avoid this type of unanticipated password change requirement due to its clear, negative impacts on instruction.  We believe that we have resolved this problem as of 10 AM yesterday morning, and have begun reviewing our policies to ensure that this does not occur again.  

On a related note, we’ll be beginning work next week to update our password policy to ensure that we’re safeguarding our students and staff while making sure that accounts are accessible and easy to use.  This work will be driven by newly released standards from the federal government’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); you can read the full Digital Identity Guidelines here.  For a nutshell version of some of the changes between the newly-released guidelines and previous recommendations, check out this article.  

I’ll be posting more information as we move ahead with the process of updating our policy.