It’s no wonder why businesses are relying more and more on the internet to say connected. With online conferencing, a meeting that once would’ve taken months to organize can be scheduled before morning coffee, and completed by lunch. The speed and affordability of connecting around the globe makes virtual meetings not just a convenience, but also an integral part of conducting modern day business. But this day-to-day ease can lead to complacency, and there’s an illusion of privacy when it comes to online interactions that can lower your guard. Just like you wouldn’t hold a business meeting in the middle of a restaurant, it’s important to be aware of security in your online meetings. Here are some tips to help keep information safe during your conferences online.
- You Are Only as Secure as Your Connection
It’s a nothing short of a luxury to conference in to work from the comfort of your own home, but this new convenience brings new risks that can catch even the tech-savvy off guard. If you lack adequate firewall or antivirus software, you’re leaving your computer network exposed, along with any information on it. Even with the best firewall, there are many seemingly innocent accessories and programs that can compromise the integrity of your computer without warning. Forbes advises that network administrators and home users act immediately to resolve a “monstrous security hole” that’s enabled by default on many routers. If you have a router, there’s a good chance you’re one of 23 million users being exposed to hackers through this breach. Staying proactive, cautious, and mindful of such vulnerabilities is a must if you’re going to be discussing sensitive information on your network.
- Pick the Appropriate Client
Selecting a third party software for your business is something that requires time and research, and your video conferencing tool is no exception. There are thousands of chat clients out there, but those designed for more casual use have vulnerabilities that can be exploited or even accidentally triggered. It’s not a big deal when you’re saying hello to Auntie Sarah, but slightly larger when you’re discussing a potential employee’s application, or files that contain customer social security numbers. Not only should you look for ease of use and accessibility when selecting your chat client, but whether or not the program is actually designed to handle business meetings, and the unique demands thereof. Software such as BlueJeans are built specifically to provide secure video meetings, with security measures built into the program that that tech-reliant businesses cannot afford to be without.
- Know Who is in the Room
Conferencing with video has an obvious a leg up on calls: instead of relying on an ominous chime to know when someone has logged in, or having a single moderator studying a long list of names and doing roll call, each participant can literally see everyone else in their virtual room. There is no reason to render this useless by inviting too many people to keep track of. Be prudent and mindful when sending out invites to your meetings; just because it’s possible to invite everyone in your department doesn’t mean you should. Each person invited into a conference room should have a specific purpose, something to contribute, or something to learn. Anything less is a waste of time at best and an easily prevented information leak at worst.
- Lock Your Door
Dr. Robert Statica, a cybersecurity expert of over 25 years, makes the point that you can have the best safeguards in the world, but the biggest risk to keeping secure is almost always the person holding the keys: yourself. Keys are useless if you’re not going to lock the door. Having the right tools is essential, but actually utilizing them properly is the only way you’ll stay secure. If you’re not locking your computer when you leave, the strong password you have to replace every three months protects nothing. If you’re gathering more private information than required, or holding onto that information past business need, you’re needlessly placing yourself and your company at risk. Stay vigilant about the cost of information itself, and do not raise that cost needlessly. If it’s not necessary to discuss in detail, then don’t. You wouldn’t juggle a precious family heirloom, and you shouldn’t put private information in unnecessary risk.
It’s no secret that the information security industry is in high demand, and there are not enough skilled workers to go around. While it is easy to make a boogieman of the ever-increasing struggle for online safety, it’s important to keep in mind that for every vulnerability, there is almost certainly a way to guard your data, one that you can utilize with a bit of research! The burden rests on you to have the right tools and make the right decisions in your online interactions. Keep these tips in mind to stay proactive and vigilant, and neither you nor your company will be caught off guard.
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