Wales

Tele & videoconferencing

Sometimes, there is no alternative to a face-to-face meeting, but conference calls and videoconferencing provide a highly convenient, non-disruptive, cost effective and environmentally friendly way to communicate without the time and expense of travel. One of the key requirements of business meetings is confidentiality, and the same is true of tele and video conferencing. This article applies to services such as Skype, Zoom, Google Meet, Webex and Microsoft Teams.

The risks

  • Because conference calls and videoconferencing sessions are generally pre-arranged, anybody with the dialup and access details – perhaps by seeing the invitation email or using spyware – could gain access to the call.
  • When conference calls are made over a VoIP connection, there is a slight risk of eavesdropping because VoIP works over public internet connections. However, the risk is lower than that of using a conventional landline, which can be easily snooped on.

Safe tele and videoconferencing

  • Use strong passwords, and do not disclose them to anyone else.
  • Do not reveal dial-in details to anybody but the authorised participants in the call.
  • If your service includes a public profile, do not reveal any sensitive, private or confidential information in it.
  • Consider a managed service. Different providers offer different levels of security, which may include:
    • The ability to request a head count which will review the number of participants on the call. This overcomes the issue of an unauthorised participant joining the call early.
    • Locking calls once all participants have arrived to stop anyone else joining the call even if they have the right PIN.
    • Dual PINs allowing the chairperson tighter control over a call.
    • Time-limited PINs which will expire after a call ends.
  • Be wary about whom you accept contact requests from. Set up your service to allow connections only from people you know.
  • Check regularly with your provider for updates or patches.
  • Ensure you have effective and updated internet security software and firewall running.
  • Ensure you are using secure Wi-Fi. Do not rely on public Wi-Fi / hotspots being secure, but use 3G / 4G instead, or a VPN.
  • After the call, always replace the handset or, in the case of video services, click ‘End call’ to ensure that what you say or do subsequently remains confidential.

In partnership with

Jargon Buster

A Glossary of terms used in this article:

Virtual Private Network

Virtual Private Network: a method of creating a secure connection between two points over the internet. Normally used only for business-to-business communications.

Profile

A list of personal details revealed by users of social networking, gaming, dating and other websites. Profiles may normally be configured to be public or private.

PIN

Personal Identification Number.