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Security and data protection: Guidelines for virtual Events

February 10, 2022
reading time:
04:06 minutes
Thomas Neuwert
Data Protection Officer, External


Virtual event platforms are experiencing a sudden surge in usage as the COVID-19 pandemic causes people around the world to interact via the Internet. In one of the fastest technological developments ever, these platforms are suddenly being used for many new purposes.

Companies are encouraged to use these types of digital events, and thus these technologies, even though many of these platforms have insignificant security and privacy deficiencies. Many of these systems have limited security and privacy controls that may have been sufficient when they were used only occasionally.

As a result, virtual event tools suddenly come under scrutiny, sometimes due to security or privacy flaws that have been noticed in the past. Any platform that is widely used can become a target for attacks, trolling, disruption, and surveillance.  

Many new users, agencies, and visitors alike, of digital event platforms are not familiar with the use of these technologies or the basic principles of online security and privacy. In most cases, adoption is done quickly and out of necessity, without much opportunity to consider important issues such as security training, privacy threats, or laws such as the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the U.S. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Virtual events pose special requirements and problems

Let's focus on the security and privacy principles that are particularly relevant for virtual events. We put less emphasis on general principles, such as classic programming errors and best practices for regular patching. Although these can be just as important, we do want to focus on special requirements for virtual events in this article.  

Virtual events are distinct from many other forms of Internet communication as well as face-to-face meetings or traditional conference calls, in the following ways:

Problem categories

The following categories & principles in the field of security and data protection are defined based on the above-mentioned characteristics:

Whitepaper: Basics for securing and protecting data on event platforms

To help you assess the risks of virtual platforms, we have compiled a list of recommendations and principles. This guide will help you do design a safe and compliant virtual event. Download the whitepaper now:

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