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Tips for Making Remote Meetings More Secure

Today, especially post-COVID, virtual meetings have become a mainstream part of business collaboration. Despite the ubiquity of remote work, many business owners and managers aren't particularly security-conscious when it comes to running web-based meetings compared to physical meetings.

Fortunately, there are some basic steps you can take to start raising the cybersecurity level of your business's remote work meetings, keeping your data safe from hackers, disgruntled ex-employees, and more.

Remote Meeting Security Tips

Without the proper cybersecurity experience, personal and professional information transmitted during a remote meeting could be on display for the whole world to see. Failing to use meeting password protections, host control of screen-sharing, and similar techniques can cause your virtual meetings to become victimized by videobombing, information breaches, and other negative activity.

Just imagine the damage that could be done to your company if a hacker gained access to a private leadership meeting or a confidential accounting report. Even when a web-based work event is more innocuous, such as a virtual happy hour for those times when an in-person meeting isn't feasible, it can still be disrupted by unwanted guests who illicitly gain access to your remote meeting.

Putting cybersecurity best practices into place for your remote meetings will minimize your company's risk, as well as safeguard employees from having any of their private thoughts or data exposed.

Classify Meetings by Security Risk Level

Depending on how many virtual meetings you host, it may be prudent to categorize different meetings based on their security risk level.

For example, those above virtual happy hour would be a low-risk event, as there wouldn't be much chance of any confidential business information being disclosed or discussed. Meanwhile, a remote team meeting designed to outline a product roadmap is a high-risk meeting that requires more in-depth security to protect its communications.

A quick way to gauge the overall risk of a given meeting is to consider whether or not you'd be comfortable having the conversation at a restaurant, bar, or coffee shop. If the answer is "No," that's a higher-risk meeting that needs to be kept under extra layers of security.

Determine what level of security protocols to assign to each risk level for virtual meetings. Then, whenever you schedule a remote-work meeting, give it an appropriate risk level so that you can let your team know the type of security that will be associated with this meeting.

Keeping everyone on the same page minimizes the chance of someone sharing a Zoom link or access code to a private meeting. In the case of low-risk meetings, assigning risk levels also lets employees know when they can be less guarded in what they say or do during a meeting.

Use Unique Meeting IDs and Passwords

One of the most basic yet most vital ways to protect the safety of your virtual meetings is to generate unique meeting ID numbers and passwords. Utilizing randomly generated credentials that change from session to session makes it more difficult for uninvited persons to join your online meeting.

If a remote meeting requires a one-time passcode, only give that information to those assigned to attend the conference, and make sure the recipients understand not to share that code with anyone else.

Many videoconferencing applications automatically assign meeting participants a permanent personal meeting ID, which allows them to access a meeting as if they were using a phone number. Digitally lock your meetings to uninvited guests, and emphasize to your staff that they shouldn't share permanent ID numbers with anyone else.

Verify Roll Call at the Start of the Meeting

If you're in the habit of hosting virtual meetings for your company on a weekly or even daily basis, it can be easy to fall into the habit of not holding a roll call or verifying the identity of everyone on the videoconferencing call.

Resist the urge to slack off in this regard. Before anything of business importance is discussed, take the time to take a role from everyone in the meeting. This is especially important when a meeting member is accessing the video call from a device other than their primary computer, such as a laptop, smartphone, or tablet.

In other words, use visual and audio verification to ensure that the guest under the name "Andrea's Tablet" is actually Andrea from Accounting and not some stranger.

In case you do discover during roll call that there is someone on your video call who isn't on the guest list (such as an employee who logged into the wrong virtual meeting or a stranger who received the Zoom link by mistake), you can remove that person from the videoconference before discussing any private business information.

Limit Screen-Sharing and Other Forms of Sharing

We've already discussed how crucial it is that members of your remote meetings avoid sharing their virtual meeting link, passcodes, or other information with anyone not invited to your meeting, which may seem like a no-brainer, but also avoid sharing any sensitive meeting links on any form of social media or in-house intranet.

Employees should also know not to invite anyone else to the meeting without your permission if you do give an employee permission to invite another party to the web-based meeting (such as an employee in a different department who might have relevant experience in the topic under discussion), brief that individual about your virtual meeting security protocols and expectations before you discuss the meeting agenda or other items of interest.

During the meeting itself, change the videoconferencing app's settings so that only the host can share their screen without permission, which will prevent any unwelcome guests from taking over the meeting, which is a reasonably common prank tactic among some hackers who target virtual meetings.

Use 2FA

Finally, enable two-factor authentication (2FA) through your virtual team meeting tool of choice. This extra security feature gives you greater peace of mind that the individuals who are participating in your professional conversation are the people they claim to be and have verified their identity on whatever device they've chosen to use.

2FA can be a drag if you're not used to it, and many employees view it as an annoyance. Still, the additional few seconds this feature requires to implement provide a great return on investment when it comes to digital security.

Necessary Online Meeting Tools

Every productive meeting requires the use of the right collaboration tools. Here are a couple of virtual meeting services that have stood out over the years.

One of the most popular online meeting solutions is Zoom. This user-friendly video conferencing app offers plenty of features for professional and personal conference calls held over video, including chat features and the ability to generate a summary of recorded discussions through the "Meeting Minutes" feature.

Just be aware that Zoom earned some negative attention in 2023 over privacy concerns related to its updated terms of service, which the company has since attempted to walk back.

Google Meet is another excellent, user-friendly tool for running web-based meetings. Hosts need to have a personal G-Suite account in order to create a meeting, but attendees don't need a G-Suite account to join a Google Meet appointment.

Contact a Leading Cybersecurity Provider to Schedule a Consultation

The digital world can be a scary place, which is why enlisting the help of a trusted cybersecurity provider is so necessary. TechBldrs is all about providing quality cybersecurity training and resources for small businesses, network security assessments, and so much more.

Contact us today to find out how our digital security professionals can help secure your small business from ransomware attackers and other online bad actors!

If you enjoyed this article, check out these other articles about Cybersecurity:
Keep Your Accounts Safe with Two-Step Verification
Understanding Social Engineering in the Digital Age

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