As holders of highly-sensitive personal data and financial information, businesses in the insurance and financial sectors need to be especially aware of major cybersecurity concerns. This is especially true when using video conferencing technologies like FaceTime, Zoom, and Google Meet.
All of these technologies are fallible when it comes to security. Still, by engaging best practices, you can greatly reduce your chances of being breached by hackers — or by other unauthorized visitors with an interest in wreaking havoc.
We spoke with several IT professionals and managed service provider experts to hear their take on the best practices for video conferencing technology usage. Here's what they had to say:
What Are Best Practices When Using Video Conferencing Technology?
Tip #1 – Always require a password for entry to a call.
“Who would want to ‘Zoom-bomb’ our conference call on new year incentives at my insurance company?” you say.
You’d be surprised.
Whether it's a hacker with sinister motives to obtain sensitive data or someone just looking to mess around, always “protect your Zoom meeting with a password to avoid unauthorized attendees or attacks,” says Michael Anderson of 365 Technologies.
Demetrius Cassidy, of In The Cloud Technologies, also recommends locking your meetings: “Once all your attendees have arrived, you can easily lock your meeting from the security menu, preventing any additional attendees from joining. This will stop someone from joining un-noticed right after you have started presenting or discussing sensitive content.”
Tip #2 – Close out all potentially-sensitive apps and programs.
It’s not uncommon for a video conference call to require screen sharing or screen grabbing. You might want to show others in the meeting a diagram, picture, or chart; how to perform a specific action within a program; or something else.
This is perfectly fine; however, a potential security issue can arise if you, for example, receive an instant message notification with sensitive information in it or accidentally show your email inbox where personal data might be located.
To prevent this from ever happening, says Nick Allo of SemTech IT Solutions, “Have an open web browser up, close email and other private tools, and have the presentation ready. This way, if the conversation goes to a web resource or somewhere else, they are not exposing other clients’ data [and] notifications do not pop up during the presentation.”
In other words, don’t wait until your screen is already shared to fumble around closing out windows and opening up what you want everyone (or one specific person) to see. Not only is this a waste of others’ time, but it’s also a good way to accidentally share confidential data.
Tip #3 – Keep the call organized by muting all attendees (who are not meeting presenters).
Video calls can easily get out of hand when we can’t see each other’s subtle facial and body expressions and “read the room” so to speak. It’s common for many people to speak at once and for the organizer (as well as others) to become flustered and confused. For this reason, it’s important for the point person to keep the call organized. This can be done by leaning heavily on the mute button.
Says Demetrius Cassidy: “Make sure to disable attendees from being able to disrupt your call by speaking out of turn. If you want to hold a Q&A session and let people ask questions on video, the best practice would be to selectively un-mute the speaker, and then mute them back when done.”
Tip #4 – Consider recording all of your meetings.
This tip comes from Steadfast Solutions’ Ian Brady: “I’d encourage them to record the meeting for compliance purposes. [However,] they need to vigilant [concerning] how those recordings are accessed. Generally, recordings are saved publicly faceable by default.” For this reason, it's a good idea to add a security password so that not just anyone can view the recorded videos.
Why record your meetings?
Basically, it's a good way to track your compliance with company policies and other regulations. It's also an easy way to look back at what was discussed if minutes were not taken.
Tip #5 – Don’t forget about work professionalism.
Finally, “When using video conferencing technology from home, it is important to know that you are still a professional at work,” says Carl Fransen of CTECH Consulting Group. He suggests continuing to dress in professional work attire and keeping your home office space clean because others will inevitably see it on your video calls. You should do this consistently when “presenting to clients or fellow co-workers.”
Learn as You Go and Don’t Be Afraid to Implement New Policies
If you’re still getting used to Zoom calls and other video conferencing technologies, know that you’re not alone. This is still very new to a lot of businesses, so there’s a steep learning curve. What’s important is to learn as you go and not be afraid to implement new rules and boundaries. It might be a bit rocky as you first begin to enforce these best practices, but in the end — for the safety and convenience of you, your staff, your co-workers, and your customers and clients — it will be well worth the effort.