December 2, 2020
Protect your event from attacks, competitors and trolls with these best practices.
With the COVID-19 pandemic and the widespread virtual events has come a rise in cybersecurity concerns for companies and their online events. Zohar Pinhasi, a cyber counter-terrorism expert and founder of the cybersecurity firm MonsterCloud, reports that ransomware attacks are up 800 percent during the pandemic. The virtual setting also makes it much easier for your company's competitors and/or unwanted trolls to enter your virtual event and access potentially confidential information.
This has enormous implications for companies hosting virtual events—and handling the personal information, payments and data of thousands of attendees on servers more vulnerable to ransomware attacks and theft by competitors than ever.
Since technology is constantly evolving, there’s no perfect solution. But through some simple proactive steps, you can protect yourself and your attendees from many common threats.
Take these cybersecurity measures to safeguard yourself, your company and your attendees to make your virtual event a success.
No, you’re not the only one who can stop data breaches. But as the host, you and your digital presence are the gateway to every process, spreadsheet and person behind your event—from your vendors’ information to your attendees’ payments and emails, etc.
And if your email is compromised, the intruder can request password changes on each of those event-related accounts, then obtain all of your contacts, change your billing, etc.
Before you start collecting information, strengthen your own cybersecurity with these fixes:
The fewer people that know about your party, the less that people will try to crash it. The same logic applies to your online events. Ensure that you’re marketing only to the people who want to hear from you by using ultra-targeted marketing tactics—think email lists, cross-promotion, sponsored social media posts. This way, you’re less likely to attract competitors, trolls and others predatory entities.
For more peace of mind, pick a software with a high volume of good reviews speaking to its security. During the sales process, ask how they process and store attendee and event information, what webinar room security features are available to presenters and whether multiple people can access the event with the same URL.
But security concerns don’t stop once your session starts. We’ve all heard about scammers sneaking into private online events and meetings, so combat those concerns upfront with your webinar software’s security settings.
So pick an online event software that offers a range of security options to limit your audience size and visibility, unwanted audience interactions and remove unwelcome participants as necessary. Some features available on BigMarker include:
Integrating your online event with your MAS, CRM and email platforms can enhance your marketing efforts and follow-up. But because they involve the transfer of your attendees’ personal information from your app to a third party, integrations can also add new security risks to your event.
The solution isn’t to stop using integrations. But always be aware of which services have access to your attendee data, stay aware of those companies’ reviews and remove any integrations you’re no longer using.
OK, so you know that your WiFi network needs password protection. But if you’re using an outdated encryption type, potential attackers can break into your systems without even needing a password.
So as you plan your virtual event, ensure that you, your team and your software provider are using best-in-class encryption—across all standards. Currently, the gold standard is 265-bit WPA2-AES (which we use on BigMarker), but stay attuned to changes and upgrade accordingly.
Devices are almost always encrypted by default. But before undertaking a big project, double check your devices following these steps: How to Encrypt Your WiFi Network
On BigMarker, all data is encrypted at rest and in motion, meaning that your information is protected when it’s stored (whether it’s your phone, laptop or server) and when it’s moving between locations within or outside of your system.
Encryption is necessary, but not sufficient to fully lock down your online event.
The next step is setting up an SSL. This encrypts data as it moves from the server to each person’s browser. It’s easier than ever to spot sites without a SSL certification—their URL starts with http instead of https, and Google marks them as unsafe. So it’s in your and your customers’ best interest to obtain an SSL before seeking registrations.
If your webinar software doesn’t automatically provide an SSL certificate, follow these steps to get your own for free. Note: All hosts are required to register an SSL certificate before creating a domain on BigMarker. Your event’s safety is a top-priority around here.
Hackers are getting better and better at breaking into one username, one password systems. Add another layer of protection by using MFA, which requires users to verify their identity via a confirmation code sent to their email or phone before accessing your virtual event website on BigMarker.
But SSO, which lets guests log in to the event one time with a single ID and password, is the best option for the most secure events like internal company town halls. However, this usually isn’t necessary for external-facing public gatherings.
Want to learn more about the world's most innovative companies are using online events to advance their marketing and business goals? BIgMarker's Account Executives are here to help! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn what's possible through online events.
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