The digital age has brought about advancements and innovations in the world of business and communication. These improvements have opened doors for companies internationally, no longer confining them to a singular office, and allowing them to branch out to different locations worldwide.
With the use of different forms of digital media communications, what was impractical and complicated only several years ago due to the lack of efficient tools is now as simple as installing a program that allows the company to connect with its different branches miles away.
However, it seems that recent studies have uncovered that there have been an alarming number of offices that have opted to modify the implementation of these to increase convenience of use. While this creates a seemingly faster and more efficient system, the method of setting this up results in businesses unknowingly sacrificing their security.
Innovation in Business
To comprehend why companies might be unwittingly putting themselves in a vulnerable state, one must first understand the importance of having the right equipment to run an innovative and international business. As mentioned above, advancements in technology have allowed business networks to expand beyond limited physical locations, allowing them to hire international workers and set up branches worldwide without the costs of traveling the distance to meet with them in person.
Even the process of meeting face-to-face is made easier through the use of web conferencing systems such as encrypted video conferencing offered by the BlueJeans Network, allowing individuals to see each other for regular meetings where they can report on their progress and share files in real-time. This is a big leap forward, especially that these can now be connected to the Internet, allowing for fast speed data transfer with better video and audio. This, therefore, allows for quicker and more efficient exchange of ideas between departments, but also allows companies to improve their network by connecting with different professionals in their field, increasing the opportunities for discussing beneficial deals for their businesses.
With this focus of speed of communication and the clarity of the audio-visual quality, the role of encryption in the program is downplayed and not comprehensively discussed. This is because cybersecurity precautions tend to revolve around phishing scams and data leaks, and are therefore more associated with services such as email, file sharing, and data storage. However, its role in video communication seems to lack in explanations for potential weaknesses against cyber attacks.
Importance of Encryption in Conference Tools
In an article published by the New York Times, there has been an important report given by Rapid7, a cybersecurity team that researches potential vulnerabilities in digital systems, when they found a significant flaw in how an alarming number of companies setup their equipment. They have concluded that those with malicious intent can take advantage of this weakness and hack into the unprotected systems and effectively access their data remotely. What’s even more alarming is that this is not limited to groups that may not have the proper tools that offer encryption, but is also a problem with companies that are presumed to have invested in the services that also offer the highest-level security.
What’s happening? Are the security programs in the systems not working? On the contrary, the source of the problem is even simpler, and even more worrying: These companies aren’t using the encryption features in their web conferencing tools. As a result, hackers are effectively given access to the systems’ cameras, and live access to the video and audio feed. In addition, this acts as an open backdoor into anything connected to these tools, such as the recorded data that has been shared through them.
Use Proper Encryption as Intended
There is a high chance, however, that companies are creating these vulnerabilities unknowingly, which is why it is important to discuss how these features work in the first place, so that important data is properly secured against these cyber attacks. According to Wired, it has been discovered that, for the sake of convenience, the vulnerabilities exist because they have been set up outside the protective parameters of the programmed firewalls. This exists in the form of automation, allowing calls to automatically connect without needing to be accepted, and also making it so that the conference can easily be found by scanning the Internet.
The minor convenience offered by modifying the programs and setup is not worth the risk that this puts your company in. The video conference technology that offers high-end, military-grade encryption, exist to protect the vulnerabilities that can be manipulated. While it is unknown if this is already being exploited by hackers, the fact remains that this point of access exists. To conclude, the longer companies go without fully utilizing their encryption tools, the longer they put themselves at risk. Therefore, it is of great importance that these programs are used as intended, in order to effectively secure the company’s system and data against cyber attacks.
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