Keeping it confidential: why cybersecurity matters when you’re meeting online

Virtual meetings have become the new way of working in many organisations so it pays to ensure your platform and business are secure, writes Claudio Cardile, ANZ Managing Director, Barco

Hands up all those who hadn’t heard of Zoom or Teams until early last year? If you answered in the affirmative, you’re far from alone.

The Covid-19 pandemic forced thousands of Australian organisations, and millions of individuals, to start doing things very differently in 2020, after government shutdowns aimed at slowing the spread of the virus made business as usual an impossibility. During April and May of last year, 4.3 million Australians – around a third of the country’s adult workforce – were busy ‘on the tools’ at the kitchen table, or in the home office or spare room. Digital technology and connectivity allowed their employers to maintain business continuity in a way that wouldn’t have been possible just a decade earlier.

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Fast forward 18 months and businesses in the nation’s largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, are preparing to – finally – leave lockdowns behind, as Australia’s accelerating vaccination drive heralds a return to some semblance of business as usual.

What that so-called ‘new normal’ will look like remains to be seen but all signs suggest that many organisations will look to retain some form of hybrid working model, keeping their overheads down and their employees happier by allowing them to spend a chunk of time out of the office each week.

Forty-one per cent of people with a job were working from home at least one day a week in February 2021, up from 24 per cent a year earlier, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Almost half of those surveyed expected those arrangements would remain the status quo throughout the year.

Virtual meetings are here to stay

Online meetings are also likely to remain a fixture of business life, given the flexibility and efficiency they can offer – no more lining up for a conference room or casting about for a date and time that suits everyone on the invitee list.

Ensuring their systems aren’t compromised via these virtual get togethers should be top priority for local organisations that want to protect the integrity of their operations, the customer data in their keeping – and their reputations.

That cyber-crime is real, rampant and on the rise since the onset of the pandemic is not news, at least not to anyone who follows the news. Hackers and cyber-criminals are nothing if not opportunistic and online meetings have emerged as another potential easy ‘in’.

As a long-time specialist in the remote collaboration space, these are my top tips for keeping your company’s virtual sessions secure.

Provide security guidelines

Cyber safety starts with getting the basics right. Encouraging or mandating employees use a secure wireless network, protected by a strong password, when they’re accessing remote collaboration software will make it harder for uninvited participants to happen upon a meeting.

Switch to a secure conferencing system

Less than secure networks and an insecure conferencing system – if this is your platform for hosting regular online meetings, it’s fair to say you’re flirting with trouble. Investing in a premium collaboration and conferencing platform with comprehensive, multi-layered security controls, from a vendor that continues to enhance its cyber protection measures, will solve that issue for you. As an added bonus, you’ll receive a stable, high quality user experience that will help make your team’s online sessions far more productive and enjoyable.

Get serious about upgrades

Lax security patching regimens remain the cause of a depressingly large number of cyber-attacks, despite the ongoing efforts of security vendors to raise awareness about the importance of good cyber hygiene. Regardless of your choice of collaboration platform, ensuring it’s maintained and updated with the latest security patches is the simplest and smartest way to protect your systems and data from infiltration while your team meets in cyber-space.

Claudio Cardile has more than 20 years’ sales and business development experience in this IT industry. As ANZ Managing Director for Barco, Claudio is responsible for leading sales, marketing and operations for the company’s entertainment, enterprise and healthcare divisions which provide visualisation and collaboration solutions to help users work together, share insights, and wow audiences. He previously worked at Samsung Australia for ten years in several business development roles, including as Director of Display & Brand Memory Group. Prior, he was also National Business Manager at BenQ and National Sales Executive at Mitsubishi Electric Australia.