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What are the Pitfalls of Videoconferencing?


The COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to re-think how they conduct their affairs on a daily basis. One of the biggest changes was having to cope with employees working from home as opposed to centrally located in one office. With that new dynamic in place, many companies in varying industries turned to technology to stay in contact and conduct ongoing meetings. The biggest technology that has seen significant growth during this pandemic has been videoconferencing software. Applications like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, WebEx, GoTo, Ring, and BlueJeans have become part of the routine business lexicon when they were more of a novelty just one year prior.

Since February, when many states began implementing stay-at-home orders, videoconferencing software has reported an 84 percent increase in demand with Webex, claiming that it hosts more than four million meetings per day. However, most companies just jumped right into using these technologies without researching or determining the security risks. It has led to reports of security breaches and instances where an unauthorized individual will break into a private meeting undetected and gain access to sensitive and confidential material about a company’s decision making.

What are Effective Methods for Securing a Meeting?

One of the ways that trespassers have managed to infiltrate these secure meetings is through brute force and trial and error. In the 1980s and 90s, hackers would utilize a tactic known as war dialing. They would methodically call different numbers looking for a secure modem to hack into.

Today, the strategy has been updated to try different names for video conferences. Most companies keep their chat room names consistent, making it easier for hackers to gain access. Firms must secure their own platforms and develop a strong security system. One of the first ways to do that is to host the meeting in-house rather than have a third-party do it. This gives them more control over the meeting and who participates. There are other ways to secure a meeting including:

  • Use unique meeting IDs: When creating a meeting room, most platforms provide a generic name that consists of the company and maybe the host’s name. While this is an easy one to guess and hack, it probably will not make that much of a difference for a quick one-on-one with an employee and their supervisor. However, if the meeting is more important, like a board meeting, the host should consider using a unique and different name to minimize break-ins.
  • Implement passwords: An added level of security is to provide all participants with a password. This way, only those specifically invited to the meeting can legally attend.
  • Roll call: Initiating a roll call to determine who is in attendance will also weed out those who should not be there and make sure that the appropriate people are.
  • Give host total control: As the host of a meeting, they have significant control over who is allowed in and out of the meeting. As such, it is possible to revise the setting to prevent participants from joining the main meeting room until the host arrives. This prevents them from discussing any sensitive information before the host has the opportunity to implement any security procedures.
  • Eject button: If at any point during the meeting the host suspects that it has been compromised, they can immediately end the meeting before any sensitive information is discussed.

What is the Proper Process for Recording a Meeting?

Another security risk when conducting videoconferencing involves recording the meeting. It is not so much the recording of the meetings that is a problem, it is how that meeting is stored afterward. When recording a meeting, some platforms such as Zoom, will store the meeting in its Zoom Cloud. The problem with this scenario is that the meeting, which could contain sensitive dialog, is in the possession of an outside party. Without any verification, there is no way to guarantee its safety, meaning it is prone to be hacked. To minimize this risk, the most ideal strategy is to save the meeting in-house or with a trusted vendor. This way the security of the meeting is under the firm’s control.

Philadelphia Business Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Help Businesses with All Types of Legal Matters

If your business needs legal guidance, the Philadelphia business lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. can help. We can provide you with the legal assistance to need to see you through most business transactions. Give us a call at 215-574-0600 or contact us online to find out how we can help. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.