Security for Remote ADR: Five ways to keep proceedings secure and confidential


Even as most of the world returns to in-person activities following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, ADR proceedings remain almost entirely remote.

Given the heightened sensitivity and confidentiality of mediation and arbitration proceedings, it’s clear that virtual ADR security is important. But what steps can you take to make sure your negotiations remain private?

We posed that question to Dan Nelson, the co-founder and COO of Digital Silence, a Denver company that provides privacy and cybersecurity solutions for businesses who are serious about improving compliance and security.

He gave five action areas on improving the security of your remote ADR negotiations.

  1. Stay up to date on your virtual platform: It might seem obvious, but a lot of us don’t do it. The major remote video conferencing brands – Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Webex by Cisco, Skype for Business, etc. – are fast to issue security patches, but they are no good if you don’t install them. 
  2. Look for extra security features and use them: Explore the settings on your preferred video conferencing platform. Depending on the platform, you can issue meeting codes, enable a waiting room to admit or deny entry, limit the types of files that can be shared (never allow executable files), enable encryption, and/or disable recording features. Keep in mind that adding encryption or other security features may limit the performance of the video and audio.
  3. Establish ground rules for the participants: While you can disable recording in some video conferencing platforms, that doesn’t prevent a participant from hiding a camera in the background. Tell all the parties whether they can record the proceedings and the consequences if they make unauthorized recordings. ADR proceedings often cross state lines, and laws vary on one-party recording consent. Also, even as the “Zoom Bombing” phenomenon has subsided, be sure to recieve a list of all the participants’ full names before a session, then instruct each participant to enter their full name in the video conferencing platform when they log in. This way the moderator can deny entry to anyone who isn’t supposed to be there. Also, some video conference platforms allow you to lock the meeting once everyone has arrived.
  4. Know your WiFi network: Not all wireless internet is secure. If you are on a home or business network, make sure your passwords have been recently changed and your router is configured to use WPA2 or WPA3 encryption. Do not use a public WiFi network, even in a hotel room, unless you use a VPN service as well.
  5. Pay attention to news about security breaches: While sticking to the major brands in video conferencing will help, sometimes even a trusted name will have a security flaw that takes some time to patch. If that happens, always have one or, ideally, two backup platforms ready to transition your proceedings.

For more information, The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has compiled a list of four principles and tips to secure video conferencing. This document contains detailed information about the security settings and capabilities of several major video conferencing platforms. The CISA recommends that administrators and users examine video conferencing tool user guides in their entirety.

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