Running a Web Meeting

Hints for Running a Web Meeting

Prepare Visuals – Rehearse

Just like any other meeting you must prepare in advance. I have heard and seen a lot of issues that could have been avoided with a little planning and practice. How do you think the CEO of your company will feel if he arrives at the web meeting and is unable to join the event due to technical issues?

Here are a few hints:

  • Countdown Timer or Clock – When you are practicing it is a good idea to have a countdown timer or clock nearby to help keep you on schedule.
  • Multiple Screens – If you have multiple monitors available use them! I place my content in order of appearance on the right screen. If I have links that I want the audience to see via the web I will have those ready in a document. Also helpful is a list of interactions or your agenda items placed near your web cam. The audience does not want to look at you reading something on your desk.
  • Practice with your tools – Nothing is more annoying than waiting for the presenter to figure out how screen sharing works.
  • Back up recording plan – If you are recording practice with two separate people recording the event. Once again this will save you an embarrassing moment when recording important meetings.

Send out invites – Your invite should explain how to get the web conferencing software loaded / tested before the meeting. Make sure you highlight this to the attendees. If they are prepped beforehand you will have an audience that can join the event easily.

Keep pace with the audience – Use the polling tool to ask if the next topic slide is loaded. This keeps the meeting moving along without having to ask if the can see you slide every time.
Realize that web conferencing will have a slightly slower pace because of the time lag caused by variable bandwidths for each participant.

Use Assistant Leaders/Instructors – Designated member of your staff can be assigned to answer chat questions. This ongoing chat can then follow along with the main discussion without interrupting the flow. Some webinars need to push on because of available time while others can handle a slowdown and side discussions.
Make sure you plan for how you will handle questions when presenting.

Keep the Audience Engaged – With a large group use your polling feature and ask for opinions. Then share the opinion metrics with the group. Depending on the structure of the meeting or content hand raising can provide a method for keeping the discussion under control and eliminate talk-over conversations.
Keep it organized and to the point!

Is your Web conferencing secure?

Secure Web Conferencing

By Bob Van Hoof

Experts warn some security gaps could be expose your web conferencing data –  learn how TACLAN Connect keeps your data secure.

Web conferencing services are “pretty secure,” especially since many of them have abandoned Java-based software, said Marcus J. Carey, founder and chief technology officer at vThreat Inc., a cloud-based cyberattack simulator.

Hackers could set up vanity URLs, steal static phone and PIN numbers or simply social engineer an organization. According to Carey, many Web conferencing services now have vanity URLs like www.join.me/YourCompany, where a phisher could set up a presentation, impersonate a company and ask for money.” I think vanity URLs could be exploited,” he said. “I see a way for people to masquerade and pretend you’re someone else as far as Web conferencing goes.” Anyone can sign up for a Web conferencing service and set up a legitimate-looking domain, Carey said.

Carey added that companies should monitor any static dial-in credentials for their conference calls. Often, the call-in and PIN numbers don’t change. If a person’s email is hacked, the hacker could find those numbers, dial them and eavesdrop on calls.

Web conferencing a less attractive target

Despite some security risks, Web conferencing poses a less significant threat than more common attack targets, said Chris Grayson, a security associate at Bishop Fox, an IT security consulting firm.

“The lion’s share of communication in modern organizations is through email,” Grayson said. “And meetings are commonly followed by meeting minutes shared via email. Attackers will typically prioritize attacking textual communications over targeting Web conferencing systems.”

But both Carey and Grayson stressed that companies need to keep their Web conferencing software patched and up to date. Grayson added these standard safeguards: Use encrypted protocols, choose mature software that has been developed with an eye toward security and use strong passwords. Multiple layers of passwords and regular risk assessments are helpful precautions, said Courtney Behrens, senior marketing manager for Web solutions and services at electronics provider Brother International Corp. She said other safety measures include understanding how IT can govern cloud-based services and simply having the ability to turn features like recording on and off.

TACLAN Connect Safeguards

We have been hosting and repairing customer’s conferencing solutions for over 16 years.  When we decided to build our own solution we wanted two key elements security and inexpensive customer cost. The TACLAN Connect solution begins with a layered security approach.  First of all we use a Verisign SSL certificate – these have proven to be reliable and strong.  Next, we built our application to also encrypt the stream of data being passed between meeting participants using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).   In addition to these security settings, administrators can lock down events so that a pre-registration and password are needed to attend the meeting.

Lastly, we decided that the storage of customer data on conferencing systems for long periods of time created a two-fold problem.  First, the customer’s private information was sitting unattended on a server which could be exposed by their own employees mishandling of web meeting settings.  An example would be creating an event as an “open” meeting instead of using registration and a password protection.

Secondly, the cost of storing unattended “stale” content can grow out of control.  Many large clients allow their instructors to store years of data in the web conferencing system without a managed review period.  The TACLAN Connect system is offered at less cost without overage changes for content storage because we do not store the content.  Once the meeting ends the content is gone.  Recording of sessions are immediately stored on the instructors computer for their use and internal distribution.

 

bobRobert Van Hoof is the CEO of Strategic Vision, Inc. He has developed technology-based training programs for multiple U.S. government departments and Fortune 500 companies, which include U.S. Army, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of the Interior, United Technologies, Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne and Duke Energy.

Mr. Van Hoof can be reached at vanhoofr@stratvision.com.

 

 

 

Thanks to: Luke O’Neill – Site Editor of techtarget.com for a portion of this article.