Strong authentication for secure meetings
When holding an online meeting, particularly one where voting is involved, how can you be sure that attendees are who they say they are? If you think that visually confirming attendees’ identities through a video conference feature is sufficient, you would be mistaken.
While it may seem like simply seeing attendees’ faces is enough proof of their identity, it doesn’t verify that they are the only ones casting votes in the meeting, and it doesn’t prove that their votes are not being cast by an impersonator. Since votes in an online meeting are cast from personal devices, you need authentication methods that can both verify a member’s identity and guarantee that only eligible members have access to and can vote on agenda items.
Luckily, there are a few ways this authentication can happen.
SMS and E-Mail Authentication
A particularly secure method of member verification relies on using members’ phone numbers or e-mail addresses. In this procedure, members go to the meeting’s homepage and enter their phone number or e-mail address, along with a personal identification number, which is commonly their internal organizational ID.
The online meeting system then compares the submitted information with the meeting’s voter roll to verify the user’s eligibility for that meeting. If positive, it sends a unique code that the member will need to access the meeting’s private area. Once the member is authenticated, their vote weight and any predetermined delegated votes are automatically associated with their profile, if applicable.
Username and Password Authentication
An alternative authentication method relies on having members log into the private voting page using a personal username and password. When a member enters this information, the online meeting tool compares it with a pre-determined voter list and verifies the member’s eligibility.
Usernames and passwords can be provided by the meeting organizers, and can include members’ internal identification numbers, birth dates, or other personal information. Alternatively, usernames and passwords can be generated by the online meeting system provider and securely distributed to members via their preferred channel (e.g., e-mail or SMS) prior to the meeting.
Regardless of the authentication method, it is always important to use at least two factors for identification–like a username and password, or a phone number and a unique code–in order to prevent potential impersonators from gaining access to the system. With the proper procedures in place, an online meeting tool can help increase your meetings’ and assemblies’ transparency and efficiency, allowing members to vote on agenda items from anywhere and on any internet-connected device.
To learn more about choosing the right meeting management solution for your organization, take a look at our previous article, What to Look for When Choosing an Online Meeting Management Solution.