Events Council Blog

Cybersecurity Series

Jan 25, 2018
cybersecurityTo assist in educating event professionals about cybersecurity risks and practices to reduce risks related to cyber threats, the Events Industry Council is launching a cybersecurity series that will focus on specific vulnerabilities facing our industry, and practices to improve data security.

In a 2017 survey of over 200 event professionals conducted by the Events Industry Council, it was found that while 82.46% of respondents feel that a data breach has the potential to adversely affect their organisation, only 26.56% are aware of having an information security policy that provides for events. 

While the EIC survey found that only 4.69% of respondents have had meeting or events adversely affected by a data breach, the effects of these breaches have included time away from managing the event, brand reputation damage, legal fees, financial damage, fines and attendee dissatisfaction. It should be noted that this number may not reflect the prevalence of the issue given that many breaches go undetected

Vulnerability: Presentation Management 

One potential cybersecurity vulnerability for events lies with how we manage presentation files from speakers. While presentation management processes vary from event to event, they often involve presenters bringing last minute presentations to the meeting room on a USB key. These devices may unintentionally be infected with viruses or malware that are then installed on the presentation laptop. If that laptop is connected to a larger network, the network could also then be infected. A second risk related to presentations is the possibility of confidential materials being shared on social media by event participants. 

Best Practices: Event Professionals

  • Avoid having presenters upload their presentations directly to a laptop in the meeting room
  • Collect presentations in advance using a presentation management system that allows presentations to scanned prior to being uploaded or updated
  • Offer a speaker ready room with staff available to scan presentations prior to uploading them
  • Inform participants of the social media policies regarding the distribution of proprietary content

Best Practices: Individuals

  • Use your own laptop or device connected to the projector rather than transferring your files to a different laptop via a USB key
  • Do not allow other presenters to use your laptop for their presentations
  • Limit the risk of business intelligence being shared by not posting it on your slides

This article is an excerpt from EIC’s soon to be published cybersecurity white paper, co-authored by MaryAnne Bobrow, CAE, CMP, CMM, Bobrow Associates, Inc., Matt Harvey, Vice President, Internet Services, PSAV, Jonathan T. Howe, Founding Partner and President, Howe & Hutton, Ltd., Michael Owen, Managing Partner, EventGenuity, LLC, Mariela McIlwraith, Director, Industry Advancement, Events Industry Council.  For more information on cybersecurity and the events industry, and to earn 1 CE towards your CMP application or recertification, watch our free on-demand webinar.​​