Fredericton, NB (PRWEB) February 9, 2006
Audio conferencing or teleconferencing has emerged as a popular tool to bring together information from different points in real time improving efficiencies all across the organizations.
A number of companies use third party conferencing service providers for their conferencing requirements. This raises the question of whether the conferences are completely secure or unauthorized people participating in the conference are compromising them. The risk is real and the mitigation has to be done to secure data and protect information at all costs. Therefore, being knowledgeable about what features in an audio conferencing system or service will contribute to ensure data security is advantageous.
The most basic features to expect would be entry announcements. This may be a beep when someone enters or exit a conference. In an upgraded version, a recorded name is played to alert the moderator of the activity of the participants when they enter or leave the conference. The ability to hear a named head count and a roll call feature allows determining those who regularly attend and those who do not. Real time web access interface for the moderator, allows the moderator to observe all the details of how many participants are connected, their caller ID etc and change anything if needed by merely a change of setting. A moderator can easily remove or disable access to unwanted guests.
Ability to lock the conference once it begins and unlock at the end prevents even the operator being privy to the conference. Similarly the moderator has the authority to start the conference when he logs in, and end it when he leaves, and this prevents the port from being used for other purposes than intended, as well as, the account from incurring charges from unwarranted usage. Some offer advanced Pass code Verification where moderators have the authority to generate or refresh participants Pin’s rather than adopt the one given by the conference provider. In this way, even if the older PIN has been compromised, the newer PIN prevents any unauthorized participant. Individual unique Pin’s to identify participants would be useful in case of large conferences to identify those joining the conferences.
Sophisticated audio conferencing systems present a “lounge feature”, where participants are brought into a lounge area and the moderator or operator can pre-screen them and then usher them into the conference. Typically, it’s a two-stage entry process which weeds out unauthorized participants before the conference takes place thereby securing it. Operator assisted calls, another version of the two-stage feature, is one where the participants who dial in are greeted by an operator and pre screened based on a criteria before sending them into the conference.
Dial Out conferencing features, where only the invited parties are called, may be executed by either the moderator or assisted by the operator. Dialling out to participants is a definite way to ensure security, since only those needed are called upon.
There have been numerous incidents of documented highly exposed breaches and leaks of confidential and sensitive information resulting in data losses but also loss of goodwill and reputation for the enterprises that have taken long-term efforts to be built. The need to protect real time information is critical and knowledge of what to look for when a conferencing system is selected will be beneficial.
The author of this document, Priya Srikanth works for Indosoft (http://www.indosoft.ca) a company that is a leader in the application of Computer Telephony Interface (CTI) and Voice over IP (VoIP) based in Canada. She can be reached via email.
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