Safe and secure video calling

Video calls have become a normal part of our lives - at home and at work. But how safe is your data and that of your customers? What should you pay attention as an entrepreneur when choosing a service? These tips will help you use video calling more securely.

1. Choose right app

Generally speaking, the more sensitive the information you discuss over the screen, the more important it is that the app you use for video calling is properly secured. So consider what information you share during video calls and choose an appropriate app accordingly. The Autoriteit Persoonsgegevsns has created a decision tool (in Dutch) that compares the most commonly used video calling apps.

Encrypt calls

Do you share sensitive data, such as customers' private data, during calls? Then make sure, for instance, that you use an app that encrypts calls. This is extra safe because then nobody can listen in. Good to know: in a meeting with many participants, full encryption, or end-to-end encryption, may not be possible.

2. Check free video calling services

Free online video calling providers are not necessarily unsafe. However, many free services make an income by selling your data. They may use data about your conversations to show you personalised advertisements. There are exceptions (in Dutch), such as the non-profit providers Signal and Jitsi. These are free and have no advertisements.

3. Pay for video calling services

If you can afford it, it is worth investing in a paid video calling service. The provider makes a profit without having to use your data. But beware, this does not always mean that paid services do nothing with your data. A company such as Microsoft, which offers Microsoft Teams, is known to also collect data from users. Yet, the security and encryption of such paid services are usually well-organised. Some paid services (in Dutch) also offer a free version, in case you cannot afford the paid version.

4. Read the privacy policy

Before installing a video calling app, make sure you read the privacy policy. It states how the app uses your data and whether the service uses encryption or encoding. In 2020, the Dutch Data Protection Authority checked the privacy policy (in Dutch) of various video calling services.

5. Make agreements with your conversation partner

When it comes to digital security, humans are a weak link. Therefore, always make agreements with your conversation partners. Which service are you going to use? Is it possible to password protect the call? This prevents uninvited guests from easily joining. Make sure not to send the password in the same email as the invitation, but for instance via SMS. Moreover, agree that no one will record the call without the explicit permission of all participants. And just to be safe: never share your deepest secrets through video calling.