In the past ten months, our work world has been completely upended. Retail shops have been shuttered, e-commerce has skyrocketed in usage, remote work has become the norm, and video conferencing has become the benchmark of successful businesses across our nation. Coronavirus has truly rewritten the rules of working in 2020 and potentially for some time to come. Video conferencing has been a saving grace during these months of remote working for both clients and employees alike. It has become a regular form of life for healthcare professionals who need to meet with clients in a safe and meaningful way. According to CommuniCloud online, “video conferencing presents countless opportunities to businesses. Whether it’s engaging remote workers, collaborating across departments and locations, interviewing job candidates or managing suppliers, the technology is efficient, cost-effective and scalable.”
The Benefits of Video Conferencing
If your team was, in any way, doubting the effectiveness or efficiency of video conferencing before this year, the onset of the highly contagious coronavirus may have quelled all those doubts. In fact, most businesses have become completely reliant on this form of communication. Video conferencing has many benefits for team members who are working either remotely or at different locations around the region and hoping to stay in touch with other team members or employees who may be in the office. The video conferencing apps of Google Meet and Zoom have become easy to use and almost intuitive for the most tech-challenged among us.Improving communication and connecting your team members are among the top advantages to utilizing live meetups online. Quick team meetings are a great way to keep everyone on the same page and engaged in a project. Teams are becoming increasingly geographically separated for many reasons and video calls have become an easy way for all employees to communicate and be seen and heard, which is much preferable than a traditional audio call. In addition to increasing communication and connectivity, video calls can greatly increase efficiency and productivity. If you need a quick answer to a tricky question or clarification that would take longer in an email, connect for a quick video conference conversation and use a screen-share function in order to move on with your project.The structure of a video and the usual time limits to video calling also makes for a more efficient use of time. No longer are staff meetings or calls with clients filled with idle chatter, but rather get right to the heart of the matter since so many of us are on call after call all day long. Agendas and checklists are more often than not used with video calls than traditional emails, phone calls, or staff meetings. These agendas help to more efficiently allocate time for all who are involved. Overall, video conferencing can improve communication within your team and with clients, increase meeting efficiency, allow for more genuine connections with clients/employees, and drastically improve productivity throughout the work day. If you are striving for more team unity, streamlined meetings, lower costs, and increased collaboration, then video conferencing is a surefire way for your business to succeed going forward, even when things do get “back to normal” in our country.
Video Conferencing Security Risks
Now that we can all agree that video conferencing is a boon for your business during this strange time in history, it is time to look at how secure your connections are when using this method of connecting with your team or clients. As we have discussed, the ease of transmission through this method of connection can be a great advantage to companies hoping to continue business as usual. Unfortunately, this speed and efficiency of connections comes with some consequences. Video calls can also make information easier for cybercriminals to access. Therefore, it’s a good idea to be aware of the security risks before getting on a call with your work team or group of friends.Some of the main concerns around using any of the programs for video conferencing is that they may leave the users open to privacy breaches and data hacks. If you often ask yourself, “Did I shut off that laptop camera, or did I leave that running?” Or, “Who did I share my screen with?” You may have some security issues to hammer out. In addition to privacy concerns, there are security concerns regarding who can access the information you are discussing, whether it is sensitive data, personal information, or financial data that could be used by hackers. Zoom Bombers have recently been discussed in the news as hackers who have found a way past the security protocols of a Zoom video conference only to show up unwanted in a classroom of children or a business staff meeting. Usually these “bombers” are jokesters that are meant to disturb the meeting, but can, on occasion gain access to private business data. Don’t let these security risks happen at your workplace or organization. Here are five ways to strengthen your security protocols during video conferencing.
#1 - Control Conference Invitations
Do not make your staff or classroom meetings public. Most online meeting platforms have options to make a meeting private, such as requiring a meeting password, or using the waiting room feature to control the admittance of guests. Business leaders, meeting managers, or employees themselves need to set controls for protecting themselves from eavesdropping or hacking.Be sure to explore the conferencing tools that allow for these passwords, waiting rooms, or other control features to keep unwanted eavesdroppers out. For instance, you might need to set up two-factor authentication for anyone who wants to log into your meeting software. You may also be able to boot out anyone without permissions from a private meeting.
#2 - Manage Sharing Tools and Controls
While your business may encourage collaboration and sharing of information, you may want to limit the number of guests in your video meeting who can share their screen or share client data through their devices. With certain video tools, (depending upon the program you use) you will be able to determine which employees can share screens and files, as well as which can take control of a conversation. These simple tools, which can be set prior to the start of the meeting, can allow for a deeper level of security since screen shares often have company data and potentially sensitive information that you would not want saved for malicious reasons.
#3 - Determine Which Security Controls You Need/Want
Before you decide which video solution to use for collaboration, make sure that you check out the security and privacy solutions each program has to offer. If you are concerned about client or company data being shared or accessed by those who are trying to break into your video calls, you may want to research which teleconferencing programs use end-to-end encryption along with passwords and invitation sign-ins. In addition to tracking security protocols, meeting managers will want to ensure that users are utilizing the most updated version of the remote access/meeting applications. As we have discussed in previous blogs, having the most up-to-date software for anything is always preferable since the newest software often has the latest patches and security updates. Some teleconference software providers have added passwords by default for meetings and disabled the ability to randomly scan for meetings to join.
#4 - Constantly Monitor and Improve
It may not be ideal to constantly monitor your video conferences, but to be sure that no malicious eavesdroppers are hanging on the line collecting sensitive or private data, you will want your IT specialists or department to conduct routine checks that no hackers have attempted to infiltrate your meetings. Keep a close eye on what’s happening in your business, and how secure everyone is when they log into a conference experience. Are calls starting early with “pre-meetings” to discuss sensitive information? Are those meetings just as secure as the main meeting?
#5 - Train your Employees
Training is always imperative when it comes to security for your business. Always make sure that your employees and clients know how to properly log into your video calls whether it requires encryption, passwords, or a waiting room for entrance. Also review safety measures they can take on their own devices while working remotely. Training can alert anyone accessing your video conferencing call to any red flags that indicate the call will not be secure. Video conferencing is no longer the wave of the future; the future is here now, whether we want it or not. Coronavirus has pushed us all to investigate ways to keep our clientele informed and our team members connected via video. The positives of this model of working far outweigh the negatives, but it is always best to keep security in mind when using video conferencing. How often does your business use video conferencing? If it has become routine and you still have yet to review safety measures and safeguards needed to keep your discussions private, give us a call or contact us on our website. Spectra Networks works with many clients who rely heavily on these programs to meet with patients, clients, and to keep businesses running even in the middle of a pandemic.