It’s been an interesting year has 2020 first with Brexit, then came COVID-19 which led to the inevitable boom in online meetings and leadership training on Zoom.
When COVID-19 arrived on our shores is caused unprecedented challenges in our home, work and leisure lives. For some businesses it has presented opportunity, for others it has advanced their progression to an already planned online offering and for some, it has sadly been the start of their demise.
But one thing we all have in common is distance. Whether we are pivoting online, networking or quizzing with our families, online meeting platforms have never been busier.
I have tried many different platforms for various things but my personal go-to is without a doubt Zoom. For a very affordable tenner per month, I receive a platform that cleverly enables me to run my now fully home-based business effectively and host our bi-weekly family quizzes, offering me easy set-up and use, connection via my desktop or mobile device (which proved very useful for days out over the summer) and the use of breakout rooms (which I have to confess only having used for the family quiz!).
But how secure is your Zoom meeting?
Like everything data protection-related, a little aforethought and common sense goes a long way, and this is no exception. Here are my 7 top tips for secure and compliant online meetings:
Video conferencing for business
Whilst business versions of communication platforms will be suitable for both business and personal use, the same may not always be said for consumer-grade or unlicensed software which is not likely to provide the same security standards.
Opt for EU providers
You may also want to consider, where your participants are; the data protection laws in North America are not the same as they are in the UK. Online communication platforms that are based in the European Economic Area will be subject to the stringent provisions of the GDPR. If the platform of your choice is not, it will need to have adequate provisions to safeguard data.
Do your due diligence
An online communications platform is a data processor to your business. Do your due diligence and make sure you have a Data Processing Agreement in place that meets the contractual requirements of Article 28 of the GDPR.
Getting this is likely to be easier than you think and if it’s not already available online (as with the larger providers), you will receive one on request.
Involve the relevant stakeholders
If you have a Data Protection Officer, involve them in the selection process.
Also remember your obligations to put in place appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect individuals’ rights. This involves thinking about the issues in advance of the implementation. Think about end-to-end encryption, where necessary, using your own personal meeting ID’s and password protecting meetings.
Also, make full use of the virtual waiting rooms provided by many platforms which gives you control over admitting participants and keeping unwanted participants out.
Use the user tools
Make full use of the tools available on your chosen platform and manually adjust settings to suit your needs. If you are planning to use tracking, observation, logging, screen-sharing and recording functions, you should always ask whether it is necessary to use these functions. And remember, tell participants that you will be using these functions. You can do this in advance in your invitation.
Keep screen sharing to a minimum and if you are hosting the meeting, ensure you disable screen sharing until/if required. Don’t put yourself through a rebellious participant sharing a screen not relevant to your meeting, or worse!
If you are screen sharing, also remember to close down all other applications before your meeting. You don’t want to be sharing client data in a meeting with 100 participants.
Train your team
Think about incorporating the use of online communication platform into your internal handbooks, policies and processes and, more importantly, train your employees on what can and can’t be shared using the platform. Exchanging documents that contain confidential information should be avoided and remember not to exchange personally identifiable information using the chat function.
No doubt, like most of the population you have not even given Zoom safety a second thought. But don’t be fooled into thinking that your online meetings fall outside the scope of your obligations under privacy and data protection laws.
We currently offer management and leadership training on Zoom, ensuring the highest level of safety for each programme. View our leadership and management programmes and learn more about our virtual programmes here.
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Associate tutor of In Professional Development