With the pervasiveness of internet usage globally, securing your business from cyber-threats and attacks is becoming an important aspect of every business. The greatest challenge in the sphere of cybersecurity is the identification of the cyber threat and their attribution.
In the event industry, the performance optimization and improving the overall experience of the attendees has always been the most sought-after goals of every event management company. This has resulted in more incorporation of advanced technologies, for gathering valuable data from all the sources like attendees’ profiles, demographic locations, venue details, social media, etc.
The collection of these various types of data or information has to be protected from any kind of cyber threat or attack. This is a huge challenge for event professionals as it affects both – the event and the audience.
Cyber-threats to Events
The cyber attacks or threats or frauds are done by computer programmers, called as Hackers. Globally, the hackers are becoming extremely sophisticated in their methods and usually attack large business organizations for different reasons. The reason can be financial, terrorism or a social cause.
Hackers steal information from any organization or event, to sell it on dark web. The information can be personal data, bank credentials, medical records, financial statements, etc. for money laundering.
As event planners are entrusted with a huge volume of information which can be sensitive, such as hotel check-in details and flight schedule of eminent personalities or bank transactions of the event organizing company. These can be tempting factors for cyber crimes in the event industry, which can happen even before the event commences.
The hacker can also disable the conference wi-fi and send fake updates on event app or redirect the users to a malicious site.
The dynamic cyberspace is evolving continuously in every sphere of man’s world, be it commerce, communication or entertainment. Globally the internet based crimes are rising alarmingly for economic gains and still cybersecurity is not an extensively explored area of concern in the public sphere.
Cybersecurity in Events
Cybersecurity is so crucial for an event, that the potential of the cyber-attack can vary from simple data breach to high-scale system attack or it can be an act of terrorism also.
As the risk of breach/theft/ fraud of sensitive information is growing exponentially with more incorporation of digitalized technology. An event professional should address a higher importance to cybersecurity at the earliest stage of event planning.
It is the responsibility of the event manager to secure the event of any cyber attack. He/she should ensure the customers’, attendees’ data, event data and secure all 3rd party transactions by implementing appropriate data security strategy.
The event planner can make a foolproof cybersecurity strategy by mapping out all loopholes or vulnerable points and measures to resolve the cyber attack. Otherwise, one has to bear the financial losses and as well, test a legal battle for being responsible for the leak of data.
Risk Factors in the Event
For an event professional it is crucial to assess different risk factors in an event, like:
- Identifying any dignitaries coming to attend the event
- Event category and accordingly protecting the data related to it
- Event theme and identifying the hacker’s interest in it, if any
- Event Venue
- Political, economic, social or local controversial reasons associated with the event
The cyber attack can be done in a number of ways and it is often hard to identify and track the problem until it’s too late. The hackers use multiple methods to break into the programs in the same time frame.
How to protect your event from cyber-threat
The tools, technology and the standards of practices to combat cyber-attack are very vital for an event professional’s help. These are some of the measures to implement before the things go wrong.
- Hiring knowledgeable and trustworthy staff for events
- Reducing the number of people and agencies involved in the event
- Use of private servers for specific clients or events
- Use VPN and firewall
- Installing web and email filters
- Use of surge protectors (keeps data safe during a power outage)
- Hiring cybersecurity professionals to monitor the flow of data and identify the threats or risks
- Investment in cybersecurity technology and hardware
- Cybersecurity insurance cover
- Educating the people involved in the event management on how to safeguard the event from cyber attack
- Change of passwords on a regular time interval of computer systems, programs, emails or where sensitive information is stored.
- Follow a standard procedure in the wake of cyber attack
- Updating the security applications or antivirus software
- Use at-least two-step verification layers of security for all fund transfers
- Encrypting all the data on the network
- Backup and restoration mechanism should be used to recover lost information
With the rise in the instances in the event-related cyber attacks, it is of utmost importance to craft a customized cybersecurity solution and plan for every event. It should be done on a priority basis by all event planners to make a safe, successful event and avoid any event’s data breach.