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[ RESEARCH COMMUNITY ] January 14, 2019

Security risks conference organizers can't ignore

Conference organizers need to manage hundreds of moving puzzle pieces to ensure their event is a success, so it's not surprising that security sometimes slips down the list of priorities. To help you avoid any nasty surprises on the day, we’ve put together a list of technology tips that will help protect your attendees throughout the conference.

Conduct a thorough security assessment: Before you get started, make sure you create a detailed plan for emergencies and potential security threats. Work together with your team to map out all risks – both physical and technological - and come up with a plan so you can tackle even worst-case scenarios.

Double-check the WiFi: Hackers target public WiFi networks and may create a fake account associated with the name of your conference to deceive attendees and trick them into logging into the wrong network. Make sure you keep an eye on the available WiFi networks and flag any that seem suspicious immediately.

Keep the connection speedy: Slow internet won’t kill anybody, but it will definitely frustrate your attendees and decrease productivity at your event. Before your conference kicks off, make sure your WiFi network can support many users logging in without becoming spotty or crashing. It also pays to do a test run of the attendee check-in process to ensure no technical glitches slow you down on the day.

Include emergency information in your app: Add a clearly marked section in your event app detailing what attendees should do in case of emergency. Include a map with all emergency exits and lost and found office, along with details on where they can seek medical help or who they should contact if something goes wrong.

Data compliance: With GDPR already in effect in Europe, there’s never been so much interest in data rights and privacy. Make sure your event is compliant with laws and regulations surrounding how you collect, process, and secure attendee data. Otherwise, you stand to face hefty fines and lose customer trust to boot.

Recommend a VPN: To help your attendees secure themselves effectively, you can recommend that they use a VPN plugin while they're at the conference. This obscures their identity from hackers, which is especially important if they are inputting sensitive data such as passwords or banking details.

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