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Teleconferencing

Teleconferencing encompasses conference calls or videoconferencing between colleagues or different organisations. Sometimes, there is no alternative to a face-to-face meeting, but this virtual forum provides a highly convenient, non-disruptive way to communicate without the time and expense of travel or the wasting of resources... to say nothing of sustainability and environmental considerations. 

One of the key requirements of business meetings is confidentiality, and the same is true of teleconferencing. 

The Risks

  • Because conference calls and videoconferencing sessions are pre-arranged, anybody with the dialup and access details – perhaps by seeing the invitation email – can access 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 Teleconferencing

  • Use strong passwords, and do not disclose them to anyone else.
  • 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.
  • If you use Skype for conference calling or videoconferencing, 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 antivirus/antispyware software and firewall running. 
  • After the call, always replace the handset or, in the case of Skype and other video services, click ‘End call’ to ensure that what you say or do subsequently remains confidential. 

 

More Information

Skype’s guide to managing your privacy settings.

 

See also...

 

Wireless Networks and Hotspots
Simple rules on setting up and using wireless networks and hotspots.

Computer Use in Public Places
Using computers, smartphones or tablets in public places safely

Viruses & Spyware
A basic understanding of computer viruses and spyware.

Privacy
Maintain privacy and avoid identity theft or fraud.

Wireless Networks and Hotspots
Simple rules on setting up and using wireless networks and hotspots with mobile devices and smartphones.

Public Places
It's especially important to be careful about going online when out and about.

Skype and Internet Calls
Use the Internet to make calls safely.