Technology is constantly evolving, making it easier for unauthorized users like hackers to get into your system. This puts all sorts of sensitive data at risk, and if your organization or business relies on online systems to set up events and keep track of attendance, you don’t want to deter people from signing up to attend by having a risky, unprotected website!
Your potential event attendees won’t want to participate if they don’t feel as if their private information is protected. People will feel more comfortable entering their information on your event’s website or app if you take a few extra security measures, which can help to drive increased registrations.
You can have a surefire event idea, thorough planning, and virtually no management mistakes, but that means nothing if your data isn’t secure. There are 4 straightforward approaches to almost instantly boost your event website or app’s security:
- Implement an authentication tool.
- Choose the right third-party app/site.
- Stay up-to-date on the best digital practices.
- Be prepared in the event that there is a breach.
As an event coordinator, it’s your responsibility to protect your attendees’ private information, such as home addresses, credit card numbers, phone numbers, and so forth.
These best practices won’t always protect your event site’s data, but it will make it much harder for unauthorized users to access it. Don’t wait; get started protecting your event data now!
1. Implement an authentication tool.
A username and password are no longer enough to protect users’ accounts from hackers. Multi-factor authentication is the primary tool for data protection and is arguably the easiest security tool to implement.
Two-factor authentication has been around since 2011, but many sites and apps still aren’t using it. When you implement one of these tools on your event’s site or app, users will use a traditional username and login plus a second component, often a text message including a security code.
Passwordless options are an increasingly effective choice, too. With a password-free login tool, there’s a slightly different approach to traditional logins. Instead of a user entering their username and password, they tap a button that creates an automated email that contains an encrypted keycode. Once they send the email, their key gets processed and they’re automatically logged in.
This unique twist on authentication is a quick process for users and has been proven to be much more secure than password-based logins! To learn more about this unique type of authentication, visit Swoop’s passwordless authentication guide!
Authentication is vital for ensuring your guests’ sensitive data is secure. Using a password-free login tool might be the way to go! When you implement additional security tools, attendees will know that you’re actively taking steps to ensure their data like their payment info is protected, increasing their trust and easing their concerns!
Want to learn about other alternatives to risky, traditional logins? Click here.
2. Choose the right third-party app/site.
In today’s technology-dependent world, you may find it useful to leverage some sort of online event page or app. That way, you’ll target the largest audience possible and increase both the accessibility and visibility of your work. Remember to make security your main priority. Otherwise, it won’t matter who all sees your page or signup form.
If you’re considering a third-party event app or website, there are a few built-in security features you should consider, such as:
- Badge scanning. Guests aren’t attending your event to spend the day standing in line! An app or site that features a built-in QR code scanner will allow you to quickly check guests in. Best of all, this is a safe, reliable way to track attendance!
- Secure integration. Hosting an event requires a lot more than just keeping track of the event itself. It also requires ticketing, registration, and maybe even Smartwaivers. Make sure you can integrate different platforms with your event’s page or app in a secure and reliable way, so you won’t have to worry about manually managing data transfer across different platforms.
- Scrambled data. Every database has to worry about data leaks, but mobile apps have to worry slightly more. Most web-based services have to store all data in one central database, making it easier for hackers to access the data. Just in case, it’s worth looking into an app that stores information in a way that’s useless to unauthorized users who breaks in.
When using a third-party platform, you should be worried about protecting your guests’ data. To make the most of your event app or website, look into these different security features as well as any additional features before splurging on an external platform for your event!
Before buying, arm yourself with the knowledge you need by reading ePly’s guide to event planning software.
3. Stay up-to-date on the best digital practices.
The prominence of technology is only growing more and more rapidly in today’s society, so it’s best to go ahead and familiarize yourself with common practices to maintain cybersecurity.
There are a couple of planning components that are consistently important for all events: communication and accessibility. When you digitize your event planning, you can simplify most steps in the preparation process, but as always, you run the risk of data breaches.
When conducting your event planning via email, it’s easy to let security fall through the cracks. One click of a button, and your attendees’ sensitive data could fall into the wrong hands.
When it comes down to the wire and you’re confirming last-minute details for your event, it’s easy to get in a hurry in order to finalize everything before the deadline.
Don’t stop using email altogether; just watch what you send out! Think about what information you’re sharing, like invoices, and who you’re sharing it with, like attendees or your colleagues.
If it’s something that you even think might be a security issue, try handling it over the phone, or, time permitted, visit that individual in person.
Not only should you limit access to those outside of your business, but you should also limit access internally. Not everyone in your business or organization needs to be able to access guests’ contact information or payment data.
When limiting access, try doing the following:
- Restrict access by email. Start by restricting access to only those who are registered with your event. Do this by having them enter their email address and associating that email with all their registration information.
- Require passwords for all accounts. Without passwords, anyone can guess your participants’ email addresses and potentially access their personal data. This could also give them a route to others’ data through direct messages.
- Provide passcodes for private events. Require participants to have a passcode to log into your event app. That way, you can control who sees any of the event information — such as location, time, and agenda — by only sharing that passcode with a predetermined list of registrants.
Technology won’t ever stop growing, but you can stay on top of the game by incorporating these digital communication and accessibility tactics into your event planning strategy. As technology expands, so do your opportunities for engagement and for advertising your event. Know what’s considered secure and what’s considered a security risk, so you don’t accidentally expose sensitive information!
4. Be prepared in the event that there is a breach.
It’s inevitable; people make mistakes. Every time a programmer creates a new security measure, a hacker finds a way around it. Aside from planning ahead and implementing as many security features as you can, there’s no avoiding it.
It’s unlikely that your data will be breached if you take extra security precautions and stay aware of developments in the field. However, you should still make sure you’re prepared for a breach and that you know what steps to take in the event that one occurs.
How to Prepare
When you’re still in the planning stages, there are several precautions you can take just in case a breach occurs.
- Integrate your data with all systems. Whenever you have event data in hard copy print form or move it around on USB devices, you run the risk of it being breached. Instead, integrate your event data with all the other systems you use for events. That way, you won’t have to transfer data back and forth between multiple devices. You’ll just need to pay extra-close attention to the security measures offered by your software and other web-based tools that access that data.
- Train your employees. All employees who interact with or have access to your event data should be properly trained. For instance, they should know not to leave any sensitive data lying around, like leaving a company iPad unattended at the event. They also shouldn’t discuss sensitive information in public areas. Make sure your coworkers are protecting your guests’ data from prying eyes and ears.
What to Do After-The-Fact
So a breach occurs. You’re devastated, and there’s nothing you can do now. Or is there?
Alert the proper authorities, even if there’s not much they can do, so that it’s on record. As uncomfortable as it is, the best thing you can do is be transparent and tell your event registrants. They won’t be happy, but if you did all you could to protect their data, they’ll more than likely understand that it wasn’t your fault.
Inform them of the steps they need to take — like changing their account passwords or reporting their credit card information as lost or stolen — and tell them what steps you’re taking on your end — like finding out what information was stolen.
You can take all the necessary steps for cybersecurity, but it’s still possible for a breach to occur. All you can do is prepare, be honest with your event registrants, and hope for the best!
Security is a high priority, but you also don’t want to intrude on the user experience. Make sure you take all the extra necessary security measures, like implementing an authentication tool on your secure app or website.
Technology is constantly evolving, and hackers are constantly finding new ways to surpass security protocols. Stay up-to-date on the best digital practices, and make sure you prepare just in case all these extra security measures don’t work!
The digital world can open up so many doors for your event, so don’t be deterred from using new platforms. Instead, implement all the security features you can so that you can spend the rest of your time planning the event itself. Don’t just sit back and let your guests’ sensitive data be exposed; get started now!
About the Author:
John Killoran is an inventor, entrepreneur, and the Chairman of Clover Leaf Solutions, a national lab services company. He currently leads Clover Leaf’s investment in Swoop, an authentication service that eliminates the need for passwords on websites and apps.
Swoop launched in late 2018 and helps software providers upgrade their single or multi-factor login experience and shed obsolete passwords. With Swoop, instead of logging in, users “message in” with two taps: one to create a pre-addressed email and the second to send it. Authentication is secured by cryptographic keys inserted by the email server—infinitely more secure than a password. Swoop is now the authentication expert for teams that build everything from data analytics platforms to e-commerce apps.