John T, Here Are Your Articles for Thursday, October 22, 2020
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5 Best Practices for Online Video Meetings


Online videoconferencing has been a game changer for businesses in general. From an HR standpoint, videoconferencing can be used to prescreen and interview candidates and onboard new hires, thereby saving time and money. However, many employers still relied on face-to-face interactions for recruiting, hiring and meetings among staff members.

The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed business communication by instantaneously forcing millions of employees to work from home. Now videoconferencing is a must rather than a preference for numerous employers. Notably, use of Zoom's videoconferencing platform and Microsoft's collaboration tools has reportedly skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic. 

But due to COVID-19, videoconferencing platforms also pose new privacy and data risks, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Below are five best practices to keep in mind when holding video meetings online.

1. Protect your business against videoconferencing hijacking.
In the wake of COVID-19, videoconferencing platforms are being hijacked by malicious actors. 
On March 30, 2020, the FBI alerted the public about hackings related to Zoom. According to the FBI, hijackers are disrupting Zoom videoconferences through lewd "and/or hate images and threatening language." 
To mitigate hijacking risks on Zoom, the FBI suggests:

  • Making the meeting private, not public.
  • Not sharing meeting links on unrestricted platforms, including social media. Instead, give the links directly only to those participating in the meeting.
  • Changing your screensharing option to "Host Only." 

Per the FTC, some companies reduce risks by protecting the meeting with passwords or by giving each meeting or participant unique ID numbers. 

2. Do not click on suspicious links.
The FTC says cybercriminals are transmitting emails that imitate video meeting invitations. The criminals may also copy features of the company, such as its logo, to increase the appearance of authenticity. Links in these emails might have viruses or malware, so it's crucial not to click on them. 

3. Try to avoid sharing confidential information.
According to the FTC, videoconferencing services cannot guarantee that your information will be secure. Therefore, this might not be the best medium for discussing sensitive topics. 

4. Be prepared for dress-code concerns.
On April 14, the Associated Press reported that a Florida judge admonished attorneys for showing up underdressed to Zoom-held court hearings. One attorney was still in bed, under the covers; another was shirtless. The case has sparked some debate about what signifies proper attire for video meetings. 
Best practices dictate that employees should follow their company's dress-code policy when attending video meetings. But for employees who are working from home, more casual, comfortable yet appropriate attire is generally allowed. 

5. Establish videoconferencing protocols.
The FTC advises that you develop preferred videoconferencing practices for your business to help keep everyone on the same page. For example, share tips from the FTC and FBI with your employees, educate your staff on videoconferencing cyber threats, set clear expectations for video meetings and make security a top priority.

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John T Andrews CPA, PC
John T Andrews CPA, PC
45 Sterling Street Suite 3
West Boylston, MA 01583
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