How to choose the most secure online conference tool for your organisation

More and more people experience the advantages of using online conferencing tools for their job, like Skype, Chime, or Zoom. Even more so because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us still have to work from home and we barely meet our colleagues and clients in real life. Working from home helps to fight the coronavirus but it is also better for the environment to meet each other online. Moreover, it saves travel time and costs. Despite the convenience, there are some snags about using virtual meetings. In this blog we would like to explain which they are and give tips for meeting your colleagues and clients in a safe way on the internet.

Posted on June 25, 2020 in Blog.

How to choose an appropriate conferencing tool

First of all it’s important that the conferencing tool meets all regislation that apply to your company. For example, it is a strict requirement for some organisations that all data is hosted within the company or that the data remains within the country or continent. In this case, it’s a better idea to host the teleconference software yourself. Keep in mind that this requires a completely different set of measures. In addition, when selecting a conference tool, it is important to think about the information you want to share and whether or not this is allowed. Some data is necessary to share, such as your username or information about the connection. But what other data does the tool store and for how long? Does the tool share data with third parties? You can find the answers to these questions in the privacy agreements of the software. We advice you to always read those agreements carefully.

A private virtual conference room

You have found a suitable conference tool for your organisation: what is the next step? Who gets access to the virtual meeting? How do they gain access? With conference tools you can be in direct contact with one of your colleagues, but also with a larger group using a virtual conference room. To enter the virtual conference room, everyone generally needs a correct URL or security code. This code must be unique and long enough so that hackers cannot track it down. The conference tool must also be configured in such a way that it gives a (sound) notification when someone enters the virtual room. Our advice: send everyone a personal invitation with their own unique security code and ‘lock’ the virtual conference room as soon as everyone is present and verified.

Who is watching and who is listening?

We would also like to give you some tips to take into account during the virtual meeting. For example, some conference tools have the functionality to record meetings. Do not lose sight of the privacy of those who are present in the meeting. Report that you will record the meeting and what you will do with the recording. In addition, the software stores the recording on the local disk or on the servers of the service provider. In the latter case, make sure you know how to get to the recording safely and that the software deletes the data after downloading.

Another commonly used functionality is screen sharing, for example, to discuss documents or presentations. You can imagine that it is important to be aware of the information you share via a conference tool. For example, is there a document on your screen that shows your connection with a certain company that you do not want to publicize? Or a new technology that no one should know about? You may even have a password visible on your screen somewhere. Therefore, it is wise to only share the application that contains the information that you actually want to share, for example only Word or PowerPoint. If that is not possible and you have to share your entire monitor, first check what is visible on your computer screen.

The tip of the iceberg

Naturally, there is a lot more to consider when looking for a suitable conference tool, but it is good to keep in mind that safety starts with common sense. A final tip from Qbit: start your search with this sheet (Dutch) of the Dutch Data Protection Authority which helps you choose a safe and suitable conference tool for your organisation.

Would you like to get more information about the privacy and information security aspects of conference tools? Our privacy experts are happy to answer all your questions and provide you with advice on how to work safely and remotely with your colleagues and customers. Feel free to contact us.

Willem Westerhof

By Willem Westerhof

Hacking & Testing

Any questions about this post or our services? Just Email me or call me on +31 6 51 933 862.

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