Security considerations for video conferences

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How to secure video conferencing

Posted on 14 September 2020 by Beaming Support

A few months ago, most businesses used video conferencing sparingly, if at all, but recently with staff working from home or socially distancing within the office, business use of video calls has soared.

Usually, you wouldn’t go from a meeting with colleagues straight to a networking group, on to a catch up with a customer and then round the day out with a drink with friends, all without leaving the same room. Now, though, that’s a reality for business leaders worldwide.

What security implications does this have?

 It can be easier to let your guard down in what feels like a more informal setting. Making sure your video conferencing is secure includes general good cyber security practice, as well as taking into account some specific issues that only come into play when audio and video streaming are involved.

Ask yourself these questions to keep your virtual meetings confidential

 How will you access the call?

  • Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Meet and GoTo are popular options, but there are many video conferencing applications out there, and different organisations have different preferences. When you’re prompted to download an app, make sure you’re getting it from the official app store where software developers are required to meet certain security standards.
  • This isn’t exactly a way of securing a video conference call, but you’re probably receiving a lot of video call invites at the moment, which would make it easy to accidentally download malware masquerading as an invitation. Get more guidance on spotting and stopping phishing emails.

 What’s on show?

  • Is there anything on show in the background of your call that could give away confidential information about you, your business or a customer? The main culprits here are whiteboards in meeting rooms and colleagues’ computer screens, but even if you’re working from home it’s good practice to have a quick check behind you to make sure there’s nothing you wouldn’t be willing to share with others.
  • High resolution cameras make it much easier to zoom in on minute details. When you’re zipping between client meetings, conversations with colleagues and networking events, it would be easy to leave some confidential notes on show. Get in the habit of slipping everything into an opaque folder or at least under something else.
  • If you’re planning to screen share during your meeting, close unnecessary tabs, check your browser bookmarks and remove any folders from your desktop that could hint at private business information.

 

Who’s watching?

  • Make sure the video conferencing application you use has the ability to “lock” the room once everyone you wish to speak to has entered it. This means no one can inadvertently (or purposefully) drop in on a confidential conversation.
  • When you’ve signed up to an online event, it’s quite possible someone (usually the organisers) will screenshot the video call and share it to social media, so bear this in mind if you’re keen to keep your personal online visibility to a minimum.
  • If your computer has been compromised by malware, your webcam and microphone are an easy next step for criminals. Keep your anti-malware software up to date, run regular scans and install patches whenever they become available to make sure your devices are protected. Unplug or cover up your camera when it’s not in use.

 Would you put that in writing?

  • Whether your webcam and microphone have been compromised or someone in your video conference call is recording without your knowledge, bear in mind that what you say in a video call might not necessarily stay in the video call. This applies even if you’re not being recorded. If you wouldn’t want to write it in an email to a professional contact, don’t say it in a video conference.

Video calls have proven to be a great way of staying in touch when it’s not possible to meet face to face, and by staying alert, recognising potential threats and keeping systems up to date, we can ensure that business information stays secure.

More tips to get the most from video networking

Read the Beaming guide to virtual business networking meetings.

Five Years in Cyber Security

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