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Conference Room to Conference Call

 

Author – Arjun Sunil Kumar

 

The year 2020 has brought a drastic change to the way we live our lives, in a matter of days our world changed in a way we thought could never happen. The pandemic forced people into their homes and has managed to keep them there for the near future. This meant that people in the industry could no longer work in a common space. The four walls of the conference rooms that once held meetings that could change peoples lives in a matter of hours, now remain empty. The inability to be in a common space forced people to move to alternatives where they could be in a single space but yet be miles away from each other, and that was the online meeting platforms such as Zoom, Cisco’s Webex and Google’s Meet. These platforms have revolutionised the way we conduct meetings, classes, lectures and communicate with each other. These platforms have existed for a few years now, but they became relevant to people only when they were confined to their homes and could no longer meet with people in person. In the world of technology theoretically speaking, nothing that is connected to the Internet is secure, that includes all of these meeting platforms. A standard conference room was in a way too basic to be insecure, any discussion or discussion that took place in the conference room never leaves the 4 walls of the conference room.

 

This calls into question how secure are these online meeting platforms and can they be trusted with the proprietary information that is discussed amongst the members who use these platforms for meetings. Ever since the surge in the popularity of online meeting platforms we have heard reports of the lax security that these online platforms have and how information shared on these platforms could potentially be leaked. One of the common issues faced were the unauthorised entry of participants into a meeting, several issues were reported where people entered a meeting without the consent of the host due to certain security measures like waiting room being off. Some might say this is poor journalism as the host has the ability to turn it on when the meeting is scheduled. But sometimes some hosts are not aware of what each option is, which means they won’t know what options are essential for them and which options to avoid. 

 

The meeting platforms while having existed for so many years have never had such a large number of users or have heavy traffic like it does now. The security implications of online meeting platforms are a real threat to industry and government. Platforms like Zoom have also been berated for their poor privacy policy and data protection as it allowed them to use user information pretty much however they please. 

 

6 Months into the pandemic, all tech giants and service providers have enhanced their security protocols in a significant manner to ensure the safety of their customers. Zoom for example has gradually improved and made certain features mandatory like meeting room password and waiting rooms. Google Meet is rolling out features that are focused on the education industry to all educational institutions to conduct online classes easily. The pandemic has forced a positive change in the shift towards digital technology which now replaces traditional practices.

 

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Arjun Sunil Kumar

Author
Rajagiri School of Engineering & Technology,Ernakulam

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