The present situation has created numerous changes to our working environment with many people working remotely from their homes, shed and garages. In addition to the need to create new arrangements and structures people are struggling with managing work, home life and home schooling.
The growth in use of video conferencing facilities and portals does however create a new concern for employers. The news in recent weeks has shown the rise in those hacking, or even just inviting themselves in to, work conferences and meetings. These intruders have either committed acts of indecency or even uploaded pornographic material (some extreme and including images of child abuse) into these work forums.
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) is currently investigating a recent incident at a law lecture where distressing images were broadcast during the online presentation.
Employers have many new risks and concerns to manage such as the mental health of their employees in strange circumstances, the risks related to use of home equipment, “workplaces” not normally subject to the rigorous standards of health and safety of the offices and factories normally used and the impact of this type of exposure is another matter needing serious consideration.
Not only is there a risk of the employee being exposed to inappropriate and potentially traumatic material but the families of the worker must also now be taken into consideration.
We are seeing almost daily announcements of security upgrades to the various video portals but each employer needs to consider the risks to their staff. Online training is available to staff on how to use these services safely and securely and staff should be directed to these and some record kept of who has “attended” a course and which course it was. Employers should also check what type of encryption and password protection they have access to and ensure that all staff adhere to those safety protocols.
Passwords to meetings should be sent securely (not on social media) only to participants in the meeting and should be changed for each meeting or event. If your event is infiltrated it is essential that the police are informed immediately.
It is a difficult exercise keeping everyone safe at this time and the use of these events by abusers must be condemned and every step taken to protect lawful users.
Written by Fintan Canavan at BLM