Today it seems like the king of the business world is technology. New programs, hardware, theories and methods are coming out all the time to boost productivity, simplify design and empower communication. Because so much of the technological emphasis has been placed on advancing techniques for communication, there are now a multitude of methods to conduct business, over the phone, internet and even via video conferencing. When you’re dealing in trade secrets, preparing to reveal a new product or just trying to maintain your edge over the competition, protecting your proprietary information and plans is a great concern. Transmitting sensitive information over the internet has collected an element of stigma against it due to the frequent reporting of stolen information, hacking and the misuse of what has been illicitly obtained. Protecting yourself, your partners and your information comes down to the protocols and equipment you utilize.
Your Contribution to Security
How secure a conference held over video protocols and the internet is, depends on the software, hardware and precautions you take in order to ensure your information is safe from prying eyes.
Companies like Blue Jeans offers a complete security package with their hosted video conferencing, ensuring you receive enterprise-level security through the hosting and software used to transmit and receive your conference, no matter where your participants are located. Ensuring that you are using a service or software package with a high level of security for your information is an important step in ensuring that your conference is secure enough not to leak information or allow uninvited guests to snoop. It’s not the only thing you should do to ensure you’re information is secure, however.
General security and protection guidelines should be in place for all participating machines- whether they’re a cell phone with video capabilities, computer or entire boardroom. This second level of security ensures that the machines you are using to connect to your conference can’t be compromised and snooped upon.
There are a number of things that individual users should make a habit of doing before, during and after a meeting to maintain the security so it cannot degrade or be compromised over time. Here’s a list of some best practices when it comes to securing your information:
- Don’t divulge personal information unless it is absolutely vital to your conference. You can compromise security that has nothing to do with your business or products by being too free with your personal information around people you may not know well or regularly work with.
- Check that none of your computer windows contain sensitive information or personally identifying information before you launch your video conferencing software. Close any windows that aren’t necessary and make sure you input all passwords before you start the video.
- Once the conference is over, change your passkeys and make sure you lock out all members immediately after they’ve been disconnected at the end. Eliminate the possibility that former employees or those looking for a company in can gain access to your virtual conference room the same way you’d lock a physical one.
Perspective on Security
To answer the question or how secure video conferencing is, you need to understand what it means to attempt to break through 128-bit AES security, which is the sort of built in security that most video conferencing tools come with directly off the shelf. To get through that kind of security with a direct or “brute force” attack using even the most sophisticated supercomputer in the world would take more than a billion years to succeed. In fact, statistics generally suggest it would take 1 billion, billion years to succeed at breaking 128-bit AES encryption. For reference, the age of the universe as we know it, according to modern science, is around 14 billion years.
AES stands for Advanced Encryption Standard and is the bar that security is generally set to for most applications today and were actually established as the federal government’s standard for encryption in 2002. There are many theories available on how 128-bit AES security could be broken through but the methods currently proposed aren’t feasible with today’s technology.
Even without taking the additional precautions that are recommended and excellent habits to develop and practice, the technology packaged today with standard 128-Bit AES encryption is far superior to any technology designed to break through it. Trusting your data and your company to a virtual conference room might seem a bit dubious given the media’s proclivity for sensationalizing instances of hacking, but in truth video conferencing, with all the additional tools and precautions that are designed to make it work securely and simply for whatever tasks you put before it, is one of the most secure of the electronic methods of transmission.
When you pair the powerful encryption protocols with personal habits and practices that help to secure information that may inadvertently be revealed through your screen activity or conversations during a conference, you have a solution that will connect you to your partners without broadcasting your intentions to the world before you’re ready to reveal them. Companies like Blue Jeans are working hard to keep things as secure on their end as possible—it’s really just up to you to do your part to keep your information private.