How To Ensure Ethical And Secure Video Conferencing
Video conferencing has become standard practice in many companies, but concerns about security and ethics remain. Implementing several effective practices can help to ensure an ethical and secure video conference for all participants. Law firms should take ethical video conferencing seriously. Law firm owners can begin by learning more about security measures they can take and compliance with ethics guidelines governing confidentiality. If you have questions about improving your video conferences, consider contacting Kusar Court Reporters by calling (800) 282-3376.
How Can You Ensure Secure Video Conferencing?
Courtrooms turned to remote alternatives like video conferencing at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, video conferences have become increasingly widespread in the legal industry. However, just like other types of technology, video conferences are susceptible to a variety of external threats. Webcams can be remote-controlled, and video conferences can be hijacked and controlled by cybercriminals. To ensure video conferences remain private and secure, video conferencing hosts can take several steps to reduce vulnerability to cyberattacks. These steps include:
- Using only approved video conferencing tools
- Avoiding the use of public networks and hotspots
- Setting up encryption and security settings via video conferencing tools
These are just a few of the security measures that can be implemented. However, not all recommendations will apply to every video conferencing platform. When lawyers need to ensure the safety and security of video conferences for their clients’ cases, the court reporters from Kusar Court Reporters may be able to help.
Limiting and Verifying Access
There are multiple ways to improve the security of video conferences as well as mitigate any potential ethical considerations related to their use. The following are some of the ways to be proactive with your video conferencing system, rules, and regulations.
Verify Attendees and Utilize the Waiting Room
Be sure to verify participants and utilize a waiting room option that allows the host to grant access to attendees individually. This way, anyone who should not be attending the video conference will not be admitted.
Never Reuse Meeting IDs
Use new meeting IDs for each video conference. Although using the same meeting ID may be more convenient, anyone who has received the meeting ID in the past can send that ID to others or lose the ID to a hacker, thereby putting the new video conference at risk for uninvited guests. Creating new meeting IDs for each video conference, therefore, helps to ensure that the conference will remain secure and that only those provided with the meeting ID will be able to attend.
Use Meeting Passwords
When setting up a new video conference, include a meeting password. This is an additional layer of protection for meetings that should remain confidential. Meeting passwords serve a function similar to two-factor authentication, which requires multiple ways to verify the user’s identity. Since conferences are conducted virtually, the meeting password is a way of verifying the attendee’s identity. Meeting passwords should only be provided to those authorized to attend the video conference.
Enforce Meeting Start Times
Review the settings of your video conferencing platform. Some platforms allow meetings to start as soon as the first attendee arrives. However, setting up and utilizing a waiting room prevents attendees from speaking to one another before the meeting has officially begun. For ethical as well as security reasons, hosts should always control the start time of the video conference in professional settings.
Lock the Video Conference
Once all video conference attendees have arrived at the meeting, the host can lock the video conference room. This way, no one else can enter the meeting without the host’s approval.
Limiting Technical Vulnerabilities
Some of the tools and strategies available for hosting an ethical and secure video conference are technological solutions, which can vary by platform.
Utilize End-to-End Encryption
Become familiar with the explanation of end-to-end encryption according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Look for video conferencing software that offers end-to-end encryption, and make sure that those encryption protocols are activated. Often, encryption capabilities will only be set up if the host enables the encryption features through the video conferencing tools, so it is important to check privacy and security settings before each use.
Use the Chat Feature Cautiously
Many video conferencing platforms offer a chat option whereby attendees can share files, contribute information, or ask questions. As is often the case with user-generated content, however, there is a risk of malicious links and inappropriate content being shared through these chat functions. Since video conferencing tools rarely offer anti-malware protection, it may be wise to discourage or be cautious with the chat feature in any video conferencing platform.
Disable Unnecessary Features
Take steps to disable all unnecessary features before the start of the video conference. If video is not required, and the video conference can be held through audio only, the host should disable the video feature.
Hosts might also limit who can share their screens to prevent unnecessary or inappropriate visual interjections. Hosts do have the option of granting screen share permissions as needed. Some organizations may also find it in their best interests to automatically mute all attendees as they arrive to the meeting.
Update Software Regularly
The security of any software code only lasts until someone engineers a way to breach its defenses. If video conferencing software is not updated regularly, unethical hackers will have an increased opportunity to take advantage of the digital systems. Conferencing software should be installed and updated on all users’ devices as often as the platform offers updates.
Limiting Exposure to Maintain Privacy and Confidentiality
A video conference may theoretically be attended from anywhere. While this flexibility has ushered in a new era of remote work options popular in many career fields, it also means that people are often attending from locations that would otherwise be private. Organizations can demonstrate their commitment to ensuring privacy and appropriate confidentiality by adopting a few best practices for ethical and secure video conferencing.
Record the Meeting
Many video conferencing platforms offer options for recording meetings, either as a form of documentation or for the benefit of colleagues who are unable to attend. Such recordings can be immensely valuable. For legal and ethical reasons, however, organizations should employ these recording capabilities with care. As the meeting begins, remind video conference attendees that the meeting is being recorded.
According to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, in 11 states, recording any conversation legally requires the consent of all parties. Even in one-party consent states, as a matter of professional courtesy, video conference hosts should typically inform the attendees that the meeting is being recorded. A best practice for hosts is to announce at the beginning of the meeting that the video conference will be recorded, reiterate in the middle of the meeting that recording is in progress, and remind attendees near the end of the meeting that their participation has been recorded.
Use Virtual Backgrounds
Not all video conference platforms allow virtual backgrounds, but both Microsoft and Zoom offer background flooring and virtual backgrounds. Employing these backgrounds can help maintain collective focus during the conference, ensuring that attendees are not distracted by any activity in the backgrounds behind other attendees.
The backgrounds, which are typically chosen by the individual user, can be used to create an additional privacy layer, obscuring attendees’ immediate surroundings that might reveal parts of their lives that may not be appropriate to introduce into a professional meeting.
How Do You Know if a Video Conferencing Platform Is Secure?
Though it may sometimes be unclear whether a video conference platform is secure, when looking for a platform, determine whether it has the following:
- Data erasure options
- Single sign-on (SSO) or multi-factor authentication (MFA)
- End-to-end data encryption
- Data retrieval through data backups
Video Conferencing Etiquette
The etiquette of video conferences is evolving as the use of these platforms increases. The current etiquette for hosting includes the following:
- Acknowledge attendee arrivals
- Speak to attendees to see if they have anything to contribute
- Utilize the video feature when needed
- Include remote participants in the conversation
Contact Kusar Court Reporters for Help Today
Having proper ethical and security practices in place for your video conference is essential for a successful meeting, whatever its purpose. Implementing some of these steps will help you provide an ethical and secure video conference for all participants. Consider contacting Kusar Court Reporters by calling (800) 282-3376 to learn more about how an experienced court reporter can help with your video conferencing.