As the world of work moves home and telecommuting becomes the norm, employers and their workers have faced some unique challenges, including how to properly secure their online meetings and video conference calls.
The problem has become so widespread that there is even a name for it. Zoombombing happens when outside agitators or pranksters invade a videoconference, often posting pornographic images or other inappropriate material on the screens of baffled users.
Unfortunately Zoombombing is not confined to the popular Zoom video conferencing platform, and other types of conference calls have been victimized in the same way. Whether you are attending videoconferences as an employee or setting them up for your employer, it is important to follow some best practices designed to protect your data and safeguard your company. Here are some timely tips to make your next virtual meeting more secure.
Choose Your Videoconferencing Provider with Care
As the trend toward telecommuting has accelerated, videoconferencing services have seen their stocks rise and their market shares soar, but not all providers are equally secure. Some sell their user data to the highest bidder, while others gather demographic information for their own internal use.
If you are the one choosing the videoconferencing platform, take the time to do your homework. How does the company handle its user data? Can individual employees and entire companies opt-out of this data sharing? What safeguards are in place to protect the meetings and ensure the privacy of the attendees? The answers to these questions are essential, and you should not move forward until you receive satisfactory answers.
Enable Optional Security Features
Most video conferencing platforms are designed for ease of use, with security often treated as an afterthought. Even so, the majority of videoconferencing platforms include additional security features, and turning them on is an important first step in protecting proprietary customer and corporate information.
For employers, enhancing the security of online meetings means researching these optional features and making sure all attendees are using them. For workers, it means double-checking security settings before each meeting. These best practices are vital for meetings where sensitive information will be discussed.
Take a Look Behind You
Sometimes the problem is not in front of the camera; what is going on in the background can also be a security risk. Once you have taken steps to make sure the videoconferencing software is top quality and additional security features have been enabled, it is time to look at your own surroundings.
You may not think much about the background when you log on to your daily Zoom meetings or join a Microsoft Teams event, but others on the conference call will be looking over your shoulder, and taking note of what they see.
As the time for the videoconference approaches, take a few minutes to see what the camera will see. Remove any work-related paperwork that could reveal company secrets or compromise the privacy of vendors, clients or fellow employees. Once the meeting starts, it may be too late to make those last-minute changes.
Videoconferencing can be a cost-effective solution for businesses trying to manage their remote workforces. As millions of workers around the world trade their cubicles for home offices, the importance of videoconferences and virtual meetings is only expected to grow.
At the same time, security is still a major challenge for those virtual get-togethers, and many businesses, schools and institutions have experienced that lack of security firsthand. If you want to avoid these problems and safeguard your secrets, the best practices listed above are all good places to start.