Cybersecurity tips for SMBs that conduct online meetings from home offices
Welcome to the era of corona, where elbow bumps have replaced handshakes, hand sanitizers have become a hot commodity, and working from home is becoming the rule rather than the exception.
This increased shift towards remote working is illustrated most dramatically by major tech companies, such as Twitter, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and Alphabet, who have been asking increasing numbers of employees to work from home as a result of the coronavirus. These companies are well prepared for this since they have long had a culture of remote working. However, other more traditional businesses, large and small, which are also facing the need to implement work-from home-policies, are not as well situated for such a work arrangement, especially when it comes to security protocols. And the new corona cyber attacks are prime examples of how hackers are ready and willing to take advantage of not only the pandemic itself, but also the greater attack surface created by so many remote workers.
A solution and a problem
The problem is that many employees, even if they are working from home, still need to be able to interact with clients. Or if they work with a team, they need to be able to communicate and collaborate with team members. To enable these meetings, businesses use different software and services for conducting online meetings. However, while this solves one problem, it creates another: online meetings can be vulnerable to cyber attacks, especially through their cameras or microphones.
According to wizcase.com, there is a significant amount of private web-connected cameras around the world that can be easily accessed by the general public. This puts businesses at great risk for cyber attacks and for small and medium businesses, cyber-attacks are especially damaging: a whopping 60% of small businesses that experience a cyber attack go out of businesses within six months of the attack.
So just what should small businesses do?
Thankfully, you don’t have to go all “Defcon 1” to protect your business meetings. There are simple online security measures that, when implemented, will protect the privacy and integrity of your meetings, so you won’t have to worry about malware infiltration or unauthorized access to company data and information. Towards that end, to help ensure that these online meetings don’t become a source of vulnerability for your business, make sure you follow these five cybersecurity tips for secure online meetings.
Use a safe online conferencing software. Look for online conferencing software with important security features such as encryption of all file transfers, voice and video conversations and the ability to manage user access so you can choose which employees have access to an account and which features they are allowed to use.
Install antivirus software. In a business environment where cyber attacks represent one of the most serious threats a business will have to face, a powerful endpoint antivirus is a must for every business, but there are two features in particular that are critical to securing online meetings: camera and microphone protection. Camera protection stops hackers from spying on your business meetings by using your webcam, and microphone protection makes sure your private conversations and meetings aren’t recorded by malicious software.
Safeguard access details. Much like anything that requires protection, online meetings use passwords as their first line of defense as well. Make sure to send individual passwords to attendees for joining a meeting rather than a group or account level password.
Keep the number of participants to a minimum. The larger the number of people participating in the meeting, the greater the security risk. With too many participants, it’s easy for the meeting host to lose track of who is attending. If sensitive company data is revealed to unauthorized people during the meeting, it could cause a security breach. When meetings are kept to a smaller, more manageable size, this sort of breach is less likely to happen.
Encourage employees invited to the meeting to keep the meeting details private. Employees that are participants in the meeting should be reminded to keep access details confidential and to avoid using public Wi-Fi while participating in the meeting.
Working in the age of Corona
The age of corona has ushered in not just a global healthcare crisis, but also a disruption in how we experience our daily lives, including our work lives. Large and small businesses across many industries are adapting to a work-from-home arrangement that offers both a great solution to avoiding crowded workspaces as well as a greater attack surface for hackers. Nevertheless, while we can’t prevent cyber attacks from happening altogether, we can stop hackers from targeting and accessing our online meetings.