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Mitigating risks of board communication in an era of virtual work

Mitigating risks of board communication in an era of virtual work

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Working remotely and holding virtual meetings brings security risks to organisations. Hala Halaseh, Regional Customer Success Manager (MENA) at Diligent Corporation, explains the risks which companies face and what they can do to be cybersafe.

Months into the pandemic, remote work still proves to be more appealing to 90% of the UAE workforce. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, companies resort to online communications platforms to hold virtual meetings and video conferences.

However, not all adaptive habits have been cybersafe. With board and C-suite level executives turning to their personal emails, apps and devices, there are increased security risks that come with sharing sensitive and targetable material. Virtual meetings have become the norm and many find that the traditional non-verbal cues do not translate well over video. Therefore, they have resorted to various messaging applications to comment, pose questions or have sidebar discussions. Although efficient, using instant messaging applications puts the information and senders at risk.

On a positive note, there is an abundance of technological advancements and digital tools available that can provide solutions and strengthen data protection.

Securing communications and video conferences

With email communications on the rise since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, so have cyberattacks. The UAE saw more than 600,000 phishing attacks in the second quarter of 2020, as people spend more time on the Internet. Companies are looking for secure workflow tools that provide boards and C- level executives with a dedicated channel for sharing, assembling and collaborating on sensitive materials. Using such channels is essential for a company’s success during these uncertain times, to ensure that all team communications are centralised, instantaneous and secure.

Also, video conferences have their share of security and safety issues, which is why board members should remain diligent of who is in the calls. Unprotected links call for uninvited guests; if shared in emails, they can easily be forwarded or intercepted by the wrong people. A better approach to sharing links is through a board management software that incorporates a calendar feature, which provides company secretaries and board members a secure channel for sharing video conferencing links.

Information security: How to keep data safe in an era of virtual communication

Information security has always been crucial for companies and even more so during a global pandemic. A secure and encrypted governance technology can protect confidential information as it flows to and from the board, as well as enables secure collaboration across the organisation. Moreover, now that the world has shifted to online work, many governance committees have moved board evaluations and other critical decision-making processes to survey software such as SurveyMonkey and Google Surveys. However, data breaching is likely to happen on such unencrypted platforms. To avoid any negative impact from breaches, companies should conduct these processes through secure platforms that are also able to analyse data and visualise results.

Virtual work has become a way of life, and board members now shoulder an added responsibility of making sure their data and information do not end up in the wrong place. Not only do organisations need to put significant importance on the wellbeing of their teams but also their cybersecurity and governance risks. Fortunately, there are various digital tools available that ensure mitigating the risks. Now is the time to invest in such technologies to keep intruders away from sensitive material that board members need to protect.

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