Communicating during lockdown

Willis Towers WatsonBy Legal Futures’ Associate Willis Towers Watson

The current travel restrictions in the UK have led to more businesses having to work remotely, and so are utilising existing, or introducing new, technology to ensure that they can continue to operate. What has been apparent during the change in working patterns is the requirement for software that allows internal and external meetings to operate virtually.

For some firms this has involved installing new software and inevitably that software has come under increasing strain. For example, the use of the video conferencing app Zoom has increased from 10 million meetings per day in December 2019 to over 200 million in March 2020, and the use of Skype increased by over 70% during March. Any system and database experiencing this increase in usage and new users will inevitably face challenges. Those challenges for Zoom have been well documented, but with whichever system is being used some basic and obvious considerations are needed.

Consumer facing software is unlikely to have all the security features that a business meeting requires. Typically, those security features may not be made available by default, and business users might need to understand all security features to appreciate how and when they should be utilised. Security features might include: –

  • Secure passwords to access meetings
  • Waiting rooms, from where participants are brought into the virtual meeting
  • Screen sharing – consider what the default setting is and whether this is appropriate for both the audience and content

Beyond utilising the security features there are some more basic, common sense, actions that users should consider: –

  • Have an administrator who understands the software, knows how to set up the meetings, sends out invites and can manage attendance appropriately should any issues arise
  • Do not share the details of the meeting on social media platforms
  • Ensure that the latest software is being used
  • Record the meeting. With most software you can record the meeting, but in doing so have you considered all your data protection and security requirements? Have all participants consented to the recording, where will the recording be stored and how will participants access the recording?

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has provided further thoughts on some of the issues to consider around data protection, which is available here.

With restrictions on travel set to continue, and organisations reviewing their business model following the pandemic virtual meetings are likely to become the norm. New working practices will likely require new software.  In choosing and utilising the software it is important to consider the security features to ensure that they are satisfy the requirements of data protection legislation, as well as the ease of use, and ensuring that those security features are understood, utilised and appropriate for your business and compatible with your clients’ needs.

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