With everyone now working from home and finding new ways to collaborate and get things done, Zoom has become one of the most popular video conferencing applications, reporting growth of 378% over just one year ago. And as its popularity has grown, so has the allure for hackers. The FBI in Boston reported that two online high school classes had been interrupted by individuals who began yelling obscenities and the address of the teacher to another which displayed swastika tattoos. So how does this happen?

To start, most recurring meetings use the same meeting IDs. Someone, in an effort to make sure other attendees were aware of the event, would share it in an unsecured way, such as on Facebook or other social media. Hackers can pick up this information, and even after the event was over, they could use the same information to gain access to the next meeting. Fortune Magazine has reported that dark web dedicated forums have popped up on popular sites like Reddit, and all a hacker would need to do on Facebook is search for “zoom.us” to find any public post containing the targeted words. So what is a business to do to secure their meetings and avoid the potential sharing of sensitive corporate information during this time of extensive virtual meetings?

First, and foremost, set your meeting to private. This means that there is a password required for each participant to enter. Although Zoom has now changed this setting to be the default setting, some users are still opting to make the meeting public for the sake of convenience. As inconvenient as it is to have invitees enter a password to get into their meeting, it’s even more inconvenient to have sensitive corporate information released. Also…and this might seem to be stating the obvious but do not share your meeting invite over social media. No matter our security settings on social media profiles, it’s best to assume that nothing you say on there will stay private.

Another way to ensure the security of your zoom meeting is to use the feature of the waiting room. This means that each invitee who logs in will first be placed into a room where the meeting host then has to approve their entry and allowing the host to assess each attendee before they enter the room.

Also, never use your personal ID. Each zoom user has a personal virtual meeting room assigned when they create an account. Defaulting to using your assigned virtual meeting room can make it easier for hackers to enter in from old meeting announcements.

You know the phrase, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas? Yeah. When it comes to Zoom (and any virtual meeting for that matter) assume what happens in Zoom does not stay in Zoom. If the information that is going to be shared is of such critical nature, you should find another medium where you have no chance of being overheard.

Should I go, or should I wait?

The Stay at home mantra is being eased, businesses are beginning to reopen. Our world is being turned on its head again, and normal will never be the same again. As we begin to reopen our doors and essentially relaunch our businesses, here are some things to think about to get you started.

Be very careful about what and where you make cost cuts.

Uncertainty naturally causes us to restrict, and this is by no means bad. You may have to make cuts in order to get things back off their feet. But Inc Magazine contributor, Graham Winfrey, cautions to you make those cuts wisely. In his interview with Manny Cosme, the CEO and President of a CFO and Bookkeeping business, he was advised to make projections before you make cuts. Cosme said that businesses need to think about growing their way out of the crisis. He said, “Every cut that you make is going to cut your ability to generate revenue or keep your business going, which is not something you want to be doing right now.” So think very carefully about what, and even if, you are going to make any cuts as you reopen.

Look closely at your business model

No matter how much we wish we could just go back to the way things were, we have all experienced significant changes over the last few months. Nothing feels better than returning to some sort of normalcy.

But one thing we have learned over this global health crisis is the ability of the entrepreneur and the business owner to pivot and meet their consumers’ needs where they are. Changing your business model in light of the pandemic just might be what saves your business. Graham Winfrey suggests you ask yourself 3 questions:

● What should your business model be when you come out of this?

● Is your current business model viable? If so, how can you hang on until it’s viable again?

● Are there ways you can pivot all of your expertise into a better revenue stream?

Along with his panelist in the article on Inc, Cosme believes that it comes down to changing one or more of the following within your business model:

● What you sell

● Whom you sell it to

● How you deliver it

Evaluate Local Support Options

Throughout this crisis, local government grants and loans have been extended to small business and their employees. Graham suggests that you look to your local chamber of commerce to see what local support programs may have been crafted to help you as you reopen your doors.

Create policies to ensure the safety of both your employees and customers

After you have completed the above steps, now you should create your communication plan for letting your customers know you will be open for business. George Brandt in his article in Forbes suggests you approach it in three steps: Emotional, rational, and inspirational.

Be Authentic

George suggests that you connect with your audience in an authentic, relatable and compassionate way. Empathise with your consumer that you know this was difficult for them as well as for you. George quotes PrimeGenesis’ saying, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Layout the facts

With calm composure, polite and authoritative, layout the hard facts of the current situation. For them and for you. George defines the facts as “things that any rational person would agree are true no matter what bias or perspective they bring to the situation – objective, scientific truths as opposed to subjective, personal, cultural or political truths, opinions or conclusions.

Think ahead and paint an optimistic view