To be frank, 2020 has become a train-wreck. Nobody could have predicted that 2020 would turn out the way it has, the least of them being conference professionals. Due to COVID-19, Gartner stated they canceled or postponed conferences until August, therefore taking a $158 million hit in Q2 revenues. The conference business as a whole is also predicted to take a revenue hit of $22 million during Q3.

To reduce the economic impact, many organizations have shifted to online conferences to
include IBM, Microsoft, SANS Institute, and Data Connectors.

Healthcare IT News quotes “Cybersecurity always has been one of the most important pillars in digital transformation, but its importance is heightened considerably in a pandemic.” It comes to no surprise that due to COVID-19 we have had a surge in phishing attempts. This has forced many organizations to revisit their current cybersecurity tactics, therefore increasing defensive cyber operations.

Organizations are also facing multifaceted impacts concerning their digital transformation and it’s essential that during an organizational shift to a more digital footprint, they maintain good cyber-hygiene.

How will these cybersecurity conferences ensure security for their registered users and guests? One way to do so is to utilize a cloud infrastructure for most if not all virtual conferences. This provides needed flexibility and increased security. Another way conferences are protecting guests is by using meeting passwords to prevent “Meeting Bombing,” utilizing “one-time use” meeting links, and configuring their SaaS to avoid sharing confidential/personal data with third-parties.

However, with all that in place, I believe the most reliable individual protection when attending these virtual events is to maintain your own security. Outside of giving the conference your PII information such as credit card, name, and cell number, the rest is on you.

Here are a couple of my recommendations that I utilize myself. Try and always use VPN (unless the conference won’t let you enter with a proxy server, boo), make sure your antivirus is updated and, if possible, use a virtual machine.

Last point… If you are using a reused meeting number, I highly recommend not clicking on any links that are shared in the meeting chat unless it’s provided by the host or has been recognized
by the host as a legit link. Otherwise, you can be setting yourself up to be a victim of a malicious link put there by a meeting bomber.

Here is a full list of Virtual conferences by Digital Guardian, and there are some excellent rates available.

Comment and provide me with your tips, and best practices you have been using to stay safe in this increasingly virtual age we live in now.

Make sure to maintain good cyber-hygiene!