Everyone is familiar with the story of the Dutch boy who saved his country from flooding by plugging a hole in the dike with his finger. (If not I inserted the hyperlink just for you.) Modern day data leaks may not have any of the inspirational undertones, but the allegory is a good reminder that leaks of any kind must be plugged somehow.
Data leaks can cost money, and in the context of the current economic climate the consequences can be damaging for any company. Industrial espionage may not be talked about as much as it used to be, but there are still other ways to lose data. Environments such as open meetings and webinars can present an open invitation to hackers.
Web conferencing, like so many computer related technologies allow companies a greater level of freedom. This comes in the form of accessibility and the ability to move information and generate feedback at a rapid pace. Think of it as a highway, which allows for rapid transit, but which at certain points can be blocked off to prevent unauthorized access.
A Breakdown in Security
The two main areas of concern with web conferencing security are transmission security and access security. With transmission security, the aim is to protect the information while it is the process of being moved from one point to another. The latter is related to preventing unintended parties from being to gain access to a meeting or webinar.
Generally, passwords are issued to those invited to take part in a web conference or remote support session. The obvious danger is that passwords or IDs can be cracked, leaving the appliance vulnerable to attack. Some services offer a secondary password which only enforces the idea that using passwords is not a reliable form of security. If the hacker cracks the first password, why wouldn’t he be able to crack the second? It is always best to generate irreversibly encrypted passwords and to integrate it with the use of your own firewall.
Web conferencing data that is being transmitted is stored temporarily on a server. While this also presents an opportunity for hackers, security protocols such as Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption usually prevent stolen information from being read.
How Your Appliance Can Protect You
To prevent data theft, choose a web conferencing option that utilizes the first line of defense against attacks, namely your own firewall. Internal meetings can be held behind the firewall thus preventing outside access. DMZ deployment is also another effective security feature of web conferencing. With this option you can control access by determining whether internal or external parties will be involved in the meeting. In this way anyone who tries to gain access from outside the firewall will be rejected.
If you have concerns about the possibility of data loss during web meetings examine the security features of your conferencing solution. Even if the information is not of a highly sensitive nature you still have the right to be protected. If you have already fallen victim to data loss it may be time for you to consider other options.