Safe and secure video calling in 5 steps

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? If you pay attention to a few things, you can make your video calls more secure.

Perhaps you feel you have already gotten used to the dos and don’ts of video calling. But have you also thought about the security of your data and the privacy of the customers you speak to online? What should you pay attention to when choosing a video calling app for business purposes?

1. Choosing the right app

Giving a cooking workshop online as a caterer is different from having a confidential conversation as a psychologist. If you discuss sensitive information online, it is even more important that the app you use for video calling is properly secured (in Dutch). For example, make sure that your conversations are encrypted. This ensures that no one is able to overhear the conversation. Do you work in healthcare? Via the Royal Netherlands Standardization Institute (Nederlands Normalisatie-instituut, NEN) you can check which providers have a security certificate (in Dutch).

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 Signal, the non-profit provider for messaging and video calling. It is free and has no advertisements.

3. Paying 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. Nonetheless, 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. 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.