Safe Videoconferencing

Video conferencing. Prior to 2020, many of us had little (if any) exposure to these long-distance, virtual meetings. But times have changed and whether you are chatting with Grandma and Grandpa, following up on a sales call, or joining team members for a brainstorming session, remote digital meetings have become the standard means of communication for many individuals and businesses.

This is not all bad, surely, but having virtually the types of conversations that usually take place behind closed doors has added a layer of security complications that individuals and IT departments alike have had to reckon with. “Zoombombing” has suddenly entered our vocabulary as a necessary term to describe the uninvited, unwanted “crashing” of a video conference by someone who disrupts the meeting for his own ends. Sometimes these ends are to perform a mostly harmless prank. Sometimes they are to expose participants to offensive material and/or malicious software or even to glean trade secrets or otherwise private information.

In other words, these are the kinds of interruptions that aren’t a threat to conference rooms and dining room tables, but that are now a very real possibility over the Internet.

So what should you do? Safeguarding such interactions – whether it be through Zoom or Google Meet or our own PSMail Connect – is an important step going forward because video conferencing isn’t going away. Here are some basic, simple steps you can take to avoid unwanted intrusions:

  1. Always, always use a unique password and meeting ID for each and every virtual call. These can be set when you’re setting up the meeting.
  2. Send invitations to each participant specifically instead of posting a general invitation publicly or asking participants to forward invitations on. This limits the number of people who have access to your password/ID to only those you want attending.
  3. When a guest arrives in the meeting’s waiting room, consider verifying their identity through another means (text, phone, etc.) before admitting them. This prevents someone from posing as an invitee after accessing an invitation email through nefarious means.
  4. Meeting permissions – like screen sharing or remote control – should be managed by the host and only granted upon each individual request.
  5. Avoid recording a meeting as such recordings can often be saved and/or shared outside your control. If it’s absolutely necessary to record a meeting, make sure every participant is aware that the meeting will be recorded and that they give their approval at the start of the session.
  6. If a meeting is compromised, immediately suspend the meeting and create a brand new one. Don’t simply restart the same meeting as its security has already been breached.

Video conferencing is here to stay and can be an amazing tool for carrying on under a pandemic and beyond. Following the above steps will go a long way towards assuring its safe and private use.

For PSMail subscribers, be sure you check out PSMail Connect, our own service which comes included with every account. And as always, if you have questions about our service or about video conferencing in general, drop us a line at our helpdesk!

Safe Videoconferencing