As cyber crime becomes increasingly common, consider these 10 basic ideas for rights holders, attendees and speakers.
- Be vigilant. “The real X factor is how distracted we are when we travel,” says John Sileo, president and CEO of The Sileo Group, noting how often planners are on the road and the valuable information they carry electronically. The advice extends beyond airports to conference rooms.
- Beware Wi-Fi networks. Pathable CEO Jordan Schwartz says one common mistake planners make is counting on a secured Wi-Fi network. Noting all it takes is for someone to ask an attendee for the password to make the network unsecure, you never know who has the ability to monitor your online movements and passwords once they’re in.
- Delete old records. Sileo suggests planners delete attendees’ information from devices within three days of the event’s conclusion. He says the time between opening registration (usually six months out) and the start of a conference is not enough for most hackers to steal information.
- Use trusted sources. For downloading apps, Meeting U.’s Jim Spellos suggests using an official app store or a reputable company like MajorGeeks because attendees will know how the app works and why it asks for so many permissions.
- Provide room monitors. The mere presence of someone checking an attendees’ badge before entering a session is a deterrent to criminals, says Sileo.
- Keep registration tables manned. Having a staff member present at all times where attendees’ information is stored is a necessity, says Sileo.
- Educate your staff. It’s one thing to know basic cybersecurity protocols yourself, but a planner needs his or her staff to be able to make smart decisions quickly. “You’re only as strong as your weakest link,” notes Schwartz.
- Protect passwords. Beyond avoiding a personal security blunder, like writing a password on a note or emailing a password to yourself, Schwartz says it’s wise to invest in a password manager who will ensure you don’t use the same phrase on two different sites.
- Quiz vendors. Does your vendor use SSL, a standard security protocol to encrypt information? If not, look elsewhere, Schwartz says.
- Be careful overseas. Schwartz advises against using public kiosks or Internet cafes during international trips. It’s also wise to know the country’s record on Internet issues, noting a friend of his Googled the phrase, “Tiananmen Square” in China, and promptly lost Internet access for a day.