Videoconferencing Security: How do I keep unwanted participants out of my meeting?

Security is relatively simple with video conferencing.  First, there are no spinning hard drives to hack into a video conferencing CODEC. It’s all solid state components with firm ware – very difficult to hack let alone launch a virus. Second, most systems have AES encryption as a feature and this works cross platform with most manufactures.    Keep in mind Federal government agencies purchase and use the same equipment made by the same manufactures you would purchase from.  In some cases they require much higher levels of encryption like the installed units in the White House and on Air Force One.

The major concern for most users is unauthorized entry to a meeting.  Keeping unwanted participants out of a meeting is relatively simple.  Most CODECS can be set up to manually accept a call.  This means that someone in your conference room would have to click on a menu button through the remote to accept the video call.  Also, there is caller ID so you can easily spot an unfamiliar number or location and simply decline to answer.   You can program most any CODEC to except any call automatically and mute your mic and/or video feed yet still connect.  If you have your CODEC set to auto connect with the video muted you will certainly see who is connecting – Just like looking through the peep hole in your door before you open it.  Some clients simply keep the CODEC turned off when not in use.  In fact some units can be programmed to power down after a period of time.  These are very simple ways to insure privacy and discretion and keep unwanted guest from showing up in your conference room.

Video conferencing bridges have similar security features.  In fact some will not allow any connection until the moderator arrives at the meeting.  Additionally after all the participants are connected the moderator controlling the meeting can “lock the room” so to speak and not allow anyone else to connect even if they have the proper credentials – Similar to what the teacher did if you were late for class. For those connecting to a bridge from the outside, they need the proper credentials and pass codes to attend the meeting.  So are there are several layers of security with most video conferencing solutions.  Common sense and simple adjustments make security very easy in video conferencing.

The bottom line with security is that it certainly shouldn’t stop you from considering implementing video conferencing in your enterprise.  This is a relatively minor issue.  Much larger security breaches are found in email and Internet access.