October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a national holiday intended to protect businesses and individuals from online threats. And as technology advances, threats to confidential data become more commonplace.
With this in mind, we wanted to address the issue of cybersecurity from an event planner’s point of view. If you rely on an online system to set up your event and track attendance, as most planners do, you’ll need to make sure you take the right measures to keep your data protected!
The following are ways you can boost your website or event app’s security and protect your attendees’ sensitive data.
Implement an Authentication Tool
Usernames and passwords are no longer enough to protect accounts from getting hacked. Your best bet is to use a system with multi-factor authentication. While that may sound like a difficult task, MF authentication is actually the easiest security tool to implement.
Don’t skip over this first step. Authentication (which could be something as simple as getting a text message with a one-time passcode) is vital in ensuring attendee data is secure. And, when you implement additional security tools, attendees know and appreciate you are taking extra measures to protect their sensitive data.
Choose the Right Tech Partner
Most event planners leverage some sort of online event page or app to help them target the biggest audience and increase their visibility. Just be sure to make security your main priority when choosing your tech partner.
Here are a few built-in security features to consider as you look for an event website and/or app:
Not only does badge scanning mitigate the need for your attendees to stand in long lines, but it’s also a safe and reliable way to track attendance.
Hosting an event means planners need to track the event itself as well as stay on top of ticketing, registration, and perhaps even Smartwaivers. Be certain your page or event app can integrate other platforms in a secure way. This is important because who has time to manually manage data transfer across multiple platforms?
While every database is susceptible to dreaded data leaks, mobile apps are even more at risk. What puts databases at such risk is that most store data in one central location. This makes it super easy for hackers to access said data.
Look into an app that stores data in a “scrambled” way, which essentially makes the data useless to whoever hacks in.
Stay Current on Digital Best Practices
After reading this article, we hope you will sit down with your team and make some important changes to how you are handling attendee-sensitive data. But once you’ve new tools and protocols in place, that doesn’t mean your job is done.
Technology is constantly evolving, and so is the ability of hackers to gain access to data. You’ll need to commit to staying current with cybersecurity best practices from here on out.
Guard Those Emails
Many of us plan the majority of our events using good ol’ fashioned email. But by doing so, we’re letting good security practices fall by the wayside. With one mouse click, your attendees’ sensitive data cold fall into the wrong hands.
This isn’t to stay you have to stop using email entirely. It simply means you should be more mindful of WHAT you are sending and to WHOM. If you must share sensitive data, best to do so either in person or over the phone.
Along the same lines, do an audit to see who on your internal team really needs to have access to attendee data. The fewer hands and eyes on the data, the more secure it will be.
Do Your Best – But Prepare for the Worst
The more precautions you take, the safer your data will be. But there is always the chance, even a slight one, that a breach could happen. If it should, you’ll want to be prepared by developing a plan and a playbook.
- Who will be involved in the clean-up process?
- What will each team member be accountable for?
- Will you reach out to forensic experts to help you locate the breach and stop the next one?
- What laws affect how you handle the breach?
- What will your communication plan consist of?
You’ll want to test and refine your plan moving forward consistently.
It’s much more fun to focus on decorations and food vendors than cybersecurity measures. We get it. But as event planners, it’s our responsibility to ensure our attendee’s sensitive data remains secure at all times.
We’ve been helping clients choose technology platforms that help make event planning easier and safer. If you need any guidance on this front, please reach out to us.
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J.Shay Team is the generic alias for our event staff that want to submit work anonymously.