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How Secure Is Your Video Conference?

ARTICLES - 19/11/2016 TAGS: Technology Comment(s) 0

Video conferencing offers significant benefits to businesses, making operations more efficient, increasing levels of collaboration, and saving money. With the benefits of unified communication solutions like this, however, come new – and often substantial – risks.

The primary risk is commercially sensitive information getting into the hands of the wrong people. This could be people within your organisation getting information they should not have, or individuals outside your business.

When people think about risk related to technology they usually think about hackers. This is an issue that must be considered, with measures put in place to mitigate the potential for attack, but it is not the only risk associated with IT. Many IT security breaches, in fact, are the result of actions of employees rather than external attackers using a screen and keyboard.

Businesses therefore face both technical and human risks when using video conferencing. In addition, breaches can be accidental or deliberate. You have to cover all eventualities to ensure your video conferencing is secure.

What Is The Scale?

The unfortunate reality is that both video conferencing technology, and the way we use it, is inherently insecure. This includes the streaming protocols that currently exist, as well as the actual video and audio capturing equipment installed in your offices. In addition, policies and procedures, or lack of them, has an impact.

The underlying network your video conferencing solution is built on is therefore crucial to ensuring it is secure, as is Skype for Business integration and integration with other platforms. Improving your internal rules and policies is also essential.

Improving Security – Technology

The video conferencing solution that you use must have enterprise levels of security in place that strengthens the technology as much as possible. Two absolutely crucial elements are:

  • A firewall to protect what comes in and out the system
  • Encryption to protect the data while it is being transmitted (note this should be end-to-end encryption with support regardless of protocol, i.e. it doesn’t matter what platform or system any of the participants use as interoperability ensures the encryption will still work)

Another critical element of the technical security puzzle is ensuring the system is updated with new codecs, software enhancements, security patches, and more. You should exercise caution with upgrades though, as sometimes they are fake and are used by hackers to plant malicious code. It is best that updates are processed by those with in-depth knowledge of the system, such as your unified communications solution provider.

Online Security Protection Internet Safety Business Meeting Concept

Improving Security – Processes

The internal policies, rules and processes of your organisation are critical to the security of video conferencing too. You can have the best technical security that money can buy but it is worthless if a member of your team inadvertently (or deliberately) gives a passcode for a virtual meeting to someone who should not have access.

The things you should think about include:

  • Who has access to meetings?
  • Have you a list of approved attendees? This is one of the benefits of video conferencing over audio conferencing as you can see who is in the meeting, and remove those not on an approved list.
  • Do your people understand the importance of security, what is expected of them, and what they can and can’t do?
  • Who has access to video conferencing facilities and video room systems, particularly those used by senior executives, board members, and other individuals who have access to highly sensitive commercial information?
  • What are the protocols for keeping passwords and access codes safe? Are your passwords strong enough? Can users regenerate their access codes when required? Do you encourage them to do this as a pre-emptive measure, even when they have not been compromised?
  • Are you using the locking feature to enhance security?
  • Do you understand how video calls are answered on your system? Many are set to auto answer and immediately put the mic live. This could give people at the other end of the call access to discussions or information that you don’t intend them to have: for example, hearing conversations before a meeting starts. Change these settings if required.

Remember also that the host of each meeting is a crucial person as the meeting cannot start until they join. You can use this as another layer of security – by making senior personnel hosts. In addition, one final security measure you can implement is turning off video conferencing equipment when it is not in use, and using lens caps.

Ensuring you use a video conferencing solution from a reputable solution provider that takes security seriously, while ensuring you have sufficient internal policies in place, will overcome the risks that video conferencing presents.

The Jamvee video conferencing product from Tata Communications is a good example of a solution that takes security issues seriously. In addition to facilitating the above it also deploys robust security at its data centres and physical network.

If you would like to have your current system evaluated to see where security and performance improvements can be made, contact a member of the Streamlined Communications team today.

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