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Video Conferencing: Don’t Take Risks with Your Sensitive Data

The way people work is changing: the use of video conferencing as a collaborative tool, married with the increasing acceptance of remote workers and flex-time is becoming the norm. Today, technology has advanced to the point where people aren’t chained to their desks from 9-to-5. Meetings can be held, and projects completed, from literally anywhere. From coffee shops to airports to subway systems, look around and you’re likely to see people hunched over, pecking away at their laptops or other mobile devices. Nine times out of ten, they aren’t checking their Facebook, they’re working—sending emails or drafting RFPs.

And, with employees bringing their own devices to work (BYOD), there is an even bigger incentive to allow your staff to use cloud services for video conferencing. While this is great in terms of employee productivity, cloud-based software, and software as service (SaaS) applications can bring privacy and security concerns for your organization, concerns you must be aware of, and address.

What’s at Stake? High profile news stories for a growing list of mega-companies, such as Sony, Amazon or Target, have shown the public the reality of what security breaches can do to an organization’s reputation, and its bottom line.
So what should you do? You want the benefits of video conferencing, cloud-based solutions and BYOD policies, but you don’t want a heavy security risk. Fortunately, there are measures you can put in place to limit such threats from occurring.

Covering all the bases. First of all your company must have a firm and clear security policy for all employees. Device encryption is a must. Employees need to understand when it is appropriate to use BYOD and what applications make it safe to do so. In addition, your organization needs to have appropriate security measures in place should an employee lose or have one of their devices stolen.

Next, in order to make sure data is private and users are secure, your company must place your system behind a firewall and use a gatekeeper or session border controller. It can be a bit of a hassle to set up, which is why a lot of companies don’t bother, but this is a grave mistake. For more advanced security, such as in the case of sensitive industries like healthcare and banking, your organization must work with IT security professionals to create custom firewalls and security packages. These professionals should know the ins and outs of video conferencing infrastructure.

Video conferencing in a safe environment. Don’t allow your employees to use just any application that offers video conferencing. You can ensure your company’s security by using systems designed and installed by the experienced staff of VCA.

The potential ramifications. The ramifications if corporate or customer information were to leak could be huge. Cyber intrusions for large corporations can lead to millions of dollars’ worth of losses, significant detriment to a brand image, and in the case of government agencies or contractors, could even be dangerous to the public’s wellbeing.

Accessibility frees up room for creativity and innovation, but with convenience comes risk. Don’t allow the possibility of your firm becoming another news headline, embarrassed by leaked confidential company data. Allow the professionals at VCA to design and install your video conferencing equipment, instead of opting for free non-secure applications, and you can rest a little easier at night knowing you’ve taken the right steps to safeguard your data against any future threats.

How does VCA protect our clients? We build security protocols for our clients from the video system manufacturer (i.e. Cisco, Polycom, LifeSize) specifications.  For example all these systems can be encrypted, but it’s up to us to work with our client and their IT staff to adhere to existing firewall/security requirements, OR help them develop such practices.  This can be as drastic as deploying a secure overlay network dedicated just for video traffic. VCA utilizes best practices for engineering standards in all our video and collaboration deployments. It boils down to this: the larger share of responsibility in ensuring secure conferencing – be it Web or video – rests on the users. Besides choosing the right service providers, a lot depends on the use of these technologies. Utilize prescribed security measures and make sure you secure supplementary systems.

With these best practices in place, you can safely enjoy the benefits of conferencing technologies without jeopardizing your business.