Monday, May 1, 2017

Conference Call Security Tips

Those of us whose job involves a lot of travelling, work with remote clients or work in an organization with many remote staff, know that conference calling is very beneficial. One issue which doesn’t appear to have caught up with the growth of this practice is the establishment of its security to prevent unauthorized access to a conference, and the ability to host calls. So, here are a few things to keep in mind regarding the security of your conference calls.

Do not Share your Chairperson's Pass Code with Others
Only distribute the participant's pass code to the conference call participants. The chairperson's pass code is only for use by the chairperson. So, keep that secure.

If you are the Chairperson, Always use your Chairperson's Pass Code
Always use your chairperson pass code when dialing into a conference where you are the chairperson. It gives you access to some additional commands that enable you to control and manage your conference.

Take Attendance
The obvious need to take attendance is to ensure all required participants have joined the conference. From a security perspective, taking attendance ensures you are aware if there are any unwanted participants in the conference.

Monitor the Number of Lines
Some conference call services allow you to manage calls via the service's website. If there is a discrepancy between the number of lines in the conference and the roll call, you can remove unwanted callers via the service's website.

Lock Your Conference
Some conference call services allow you to lock the conference call once all participants enter.  This feature is valuable when you do not want additional participants to join your call after it has begun.

End the Conference
Use the "end the conference" feature to ensure that your conference ends when you hang up. That will prevent anyone lingering on the conference, and will prevent anyone from using the meeting for their own conference after yours has ended.

Change Your Participant Pass Code
If you do not regularly change the participant pass code, it is possible for someone who was invited to a prior conference to join future conferences. Changing your participant pass code will prevent unwanted participants from joining future conferences.

Limit Recurring Meetings
If you host recurring meetings, anyone with those meeting details and knowledge of the time of the meeting will be able to join even if they are no longer supposed to be involved.

Don't Schedule Back-to-Back Conferences
If you schedule two separate back-to-back conferences with two separate groups of people, and you use the same participant pass code for both, it would very easy for participants from the first call to stay on the line for the second call, or for participants from the second call to join in early. Keep your conference calls separated by about 30 minutes to limit unwanted conference attendees.

Don't set "Start Without Host"
Disabling this feature will prevent participants from talking to each other before the chairperson joins the conference. In the end, it will prevent people with the participant pass code from trying to use the conference service for their own conferences, and without the need of having a chairperson.

Change Your Chairperson's Pass Code
Check your call log on the service's website to make sure that no unplanned conferences have occurred. If you see any unplanned conferences, or feel that your chairperson's pass code has been compromised in any way, immediately change your chairperson's pass code.

Thank you to my long-time friend Andy Hladek, IT Director at Princeton Information, for suggesting this terrific topic and contributing to the creation of this post.

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  1. Very thorough article and very helpful to those using conference calls as a part of their job. Nice contribution, David.

  2. Very helpful article, David.


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