How to Keep Your Web Conferences Secure

How to Keep Your Web Conferences Secure

June 2, 2020

The number of teleworkers has skyrocketed over the last few months. New processes and tools have been adopted to make working remote more successful. One of the most popular tools to see an increase in adoption is web conferencing software. This increase in popularity of platforms like WebEx, Teams, and Zoom also attracts malicious actors that look to hijack meetings and cause headaches for users new and old.

Luckily, there are many ways to combat these attacks and most platforms have built-in security tools to protect your meeting and its participants. And these processes are not just for new users, even veteran users should start to change some behaviors as the threat landscape surrounding web conferences has changed dramatically in just a few months. Let’s take a look into some of the best practices for hosting a web conference to ensure your meetings stay secure.

Avoid dialing-in as the host –

If you are the moderator of the meeting, it is your responsibility to manage the attendees. You may need to mute a person who has a dog barking in the background or is causing an echo. You would also be responsible for muting or removing an unauthorized user that has gained access to the meeting. Joining via dial-in makes it far more difficult to control your meeting and its participants. However, if you join via your computer, you can quickly mute, remove, and block users to ensure your meeting will go smoothly.

Password protect meetings –

This is easily the most effective way to bolster the security of your meetings. Passwords protect against unauthorized access in the same way they protect your computer and digital accounts. And most platforms, like WebEx, can apply passwords to both computer and dial-in users.

Join settings-

The host should always be the first to join the meeting. To accomplish this, consider utilizing ‘waiting rooms’ or ‘lobbies’. These settings will keep attendees from communicating prior to your arrival. You can then admit attendees on an individual basis to ensure that they were invited.

Check default attendee settings –

You want to make sure that you give your attendees the minimum amount of control and interaction possible as a failsafe. If you know that attendees will not need to share their screen or audio, turn those settings off for all users. This will help mitigate the impact of an unauthorized user gaining access to your meeting.  

Lock meetings –

You can lock meetings once they have started to ensure no one else enters. You will need to be prepared to unlock the meeting for late arrivals and in the case that someone drops out. While this may seem like an inconvenience, it is outweighed by the risks of leaving a meeting open. This is another reason that it is a good idea to join a meeting via your computer.

Assign an alternate host –

Assigning an alternate host can eliminate the possibility that the host role becomes assigned to an unexpected or unauthorized attendee in the instance that you lose connection to your meeting. This could also be helpful if you cannot join via computer and must dial-in. This way there will be a user with the ability to quickly mute or eject an attendee or even end the meeting.

Eject participants –

If an unauthorized user gains access to your meeting, make sure you eject them. This not only immediately prevents them from causing trouble, but it will block them from re-entering.

As the host, you are the decision-maker regarding the security settings of your meeting. Always remember that you manage virtually every aspect of the meeting, including when it begins and ends. By following these web conference best practices, you can keep your meetings and information secure.