Zoom adds extra layer of security for classrooms

Video meeting platform Zoom has released an external authentication feature in a bid to keep classrooms secure amid the pandemic. The Single Sign-On (SSO) feature allows users to log in one time, under one set of credentials, to get access to all the applications, data, and services they need, Zoom has said. Zoom already has an SSO option to make it easy for faculty and staff to securely access their Zoom account.

That experience is now extended to the classroom for students, who do not need a Zoom account but benefit from a more unified access experience. “With Zoom’s external authentication, school IT administrators can now set up their Zoom account so students are required to authenticate against their school identity system or SSO provider before joining a meeting,” Brendan Ittelson, Chief Technology Officer, Zoom, wrote in a blog post.

Zoom said that for school and IT administrators, its external authentication adds an extra security layer to their hybrid learning processes. “Students are properly identified within the meeting using the name from your identity provider (IDP), and only authenticated students are allowed into the session, which provides a host of advantages,” Ittelson said. “Additionally, every student’s Zoom meeting history gets logged in the Zoom dashboard, so taking attendance has never been easier,” Ittelson said.

While Zoom gained popularity as remote learning became a requirement due to the Covid-19 restrictions, there were several zoom bombing episodes where a meeting on the popular video meet platform was hacked into and spammed with pornographic content and threatening messages emerged, adding to worries of parents and teachers. In view of the concerns, Zoom has introduced several new features over the past few months to protect users’ data and prevent security breaches.