Conference calls and web meetings—virtual meetings—are a constant of modern work. And while many of us have become security-conscious in our online interactions, virtual meeting security is often an afterthought, at most. Who hasn’t been finishing one call when attendees of the next call start joining – because the access code is the same? In the moment it may be annoying, or even humorous, but imagine if you were discussing sensitive corporate (or personal) information. Unfortunately, if virtual meetings are not set up correctly, former coworkers, disgruntled employees, or hackers might be able to eavesdrop or disrupt them. Using some basic precautions can help ensure that your meetings are an opportunity to collaborate and work effectively – and not the genesis of a data breach or other embarrassing and costly security or privacy incident.
So…where to start? Most virtual meeting services have built-in security features, and many providers will give you some basic security suggestions.
Regardless of your provider, here are a few simple options for holding a secure virtual meeting:
This list is not all-encompassing, nor must you use every tool for every virtual meeting. Know your organization’s policies, think about the sensitivity of the topics to be discussed, factor in the logistics of the meeting, and pick the measures that make sense for each situation. Remember to trust your own judgment!
Where highly sensitive information may be shared, talk to a security professional first and take more precautions. Additional steps you should consider include:
NIST provides resources to assist employees while teleworking. Those resources are available here.
Sometimes, when joining a virtual meeting, the camera and microphone are turned on by default. Even with my laptop camera covered, I try to turn off the camera and microphone (in the virtual meeting application interface) prior to joining the meeting not only for privacy but also to stop any background noises from disrupting the meeting.