Answer

Do high-definition video conferencing tools provide security features?

Do high-definition video conferencing technologies come with security features out of the box? If my company requires confidentiality on these types of HD video calls, is there any way to achieve it?

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All high-definition video conferencing systems today come with built-in security features like Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption. Specialty firewalls are also available that support high-definition video conferencing. It is possible to secure video conference calls, even when some participants join over Internet connections.

However, using all of the technical security features that a video conference system offers will not guarantee that calls remain confidential and intruders are effectively precluded from eavesdropping on executive conferences.

Follow these six steps to ensure that video conferencing sessions remain secure:

  1. Turn on built-in encryption in video endpoints and bridges. Use your vendor's firewall traversal or proxy for video calls over the Internet, not the enterprise firewall.
  2. Turn off auto-answer on all endpoints, especially those in executive or sensitive engineering areas. If someone were to turn off the meeting room monitor power switches, they could watch the proceedings unnoticed.
  3. Secure confidential meetings with a PIN number. It's best to use a bridge, or a virtual meeting room with a lobby. This way, the meeting will not start until an administrator opens the meeting and admits participants. The administrator can also lock logins to prevent further participants from joining once the session begins.
  4. Change PIN numbers frequently for recurring meetings, ideally for each individual meeting. Executives tend to resist doing this because they perceive it as a hassle. Such complacency provides an opening for would-be intruders. Meeting notices can be left on the printer, mislaid or even fished out of recycling bins, potentially allowing PINs for recurring meetings to fall into the wrong hands.
  5. Protect externally accessible virtual meeting rooms with PIN numbers. Assuming one could learn the meeting room number for key executives, an intruder could park on those extensions and observe or record sessions. 
  6. Learn how to see who has dialed in on the meeting's audio bridge. Identify each participant and then disconnect anyone you are unable to identify.

Confidentiality can be achieved with today's video conferencing solutions. The technology must be used and supported with advanced video conferencing security procedures to be effective.

This was first published in September 2012

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