In this digital age, many companies are choosing to hold meetings virtually. Since employees may have to communicate with a corporate office in another state or another country, a virtual meeting is an inexpensive alternative to flying hundreds of miles for a few hours of face time with a colleague. Many companies also need to send information to vendors, clients and advertising firms. Although these meetings are virtual, the issues that communicators have to discuss can be very real. Some of the topics that may come up in a digital meeting could involve an upcoming marketing strategy or an unreleased product. Because this information could be useful to a competitor or hacker, companies must make sure that the information they send and receive online is secure. There are several actions that privacy-conscious companies can take to ensure that their confidential communication is secure online. Keep Track of Saved Information Many employees who communicate by email are not aware that the information they send is saved digitally. When a computer user deletes an email, that information is not immediately wiped from a system. Most modern email systems have a “trash” folder that will save deleted emails for a set period of time. Some systems will not erase any of these messages until a user chooses to empty the files. For some companies that deal with sensitive information, simply deleting data may not be enough to erase it from a system. Some email systems will systematically or accidentally store data that can be retrieved later. Others may be vulnerable to intrusion from outside sources. Companies that send or receive a great deal of confidential information by email should consider using an additional security or encryption system to protect the data that is entering and leaving their systems. Use a Secure Video Messaging Service Video conferences have become a popular way to hold virtual meetings. International companies will sometimes send pre-recorded video to offices in different time zones. This makes it easy for a network of offices scattered across the globe to communicate. Other companies prefer to hold meetings in real time. Modern webcams can help computer users have a face to face meeting with a colleague who is hundreds of miles away. When these videos contain sensitive information, many security conscious companies prefer to use secure video messaging services to send their data online. These secure video messaging services make it easy for businesses to send confidential information without risking a privacy breach. Train Employees to Use Secure Channels Internet security experts know that the largest liability in any company that handles sensitive information is employees. Poorly trained workers who do not understand how security systems work may jeopardize sensitive data by failing to take adequate security measures. Employees should be taught to keep confidential information within a secure email system. They should not back up sensitive data by emailing it to a personal address or saving it on an unauthorized storage device. Employees who need to take their work home with them should be issued company-owned computers or phones with security devices already installed. No one should use a personal device to handle sensitive data.

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