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Online Registration

How can you be sure your platform is secure?

By Christine Wong

While doing your best to boost attendee numbers at your events, there’s one unwanted guest every organizer should beware of: the cybercriminal. In a 2014 Websense survey, 36 per cent of Canadian companies reported suffering one or more “substantial cyber attacks” during the previous year. Although the Internet has made event registration quicker and easier than ever, it has also exposed the entire process to the gamut of security and privacy threats lurking online.

How can you be sure your platform is secure? We got some tips from Jim Romanik, president of Vancouver-based ePLY Online Event Registration and Eric Eden, senior vice-president of marketing at Cvent in Tysons Corner, VA.

Encryption: The system’s e-commerce section should meet Payment Card Industry (PCI) encryption standards for financial data. If the entire site is encrypted, you should be able to view the security certificate by clicking on the lock symbol inside the browser bar, says Romanik.

Physical security: “Make sure the servers running the software are located in a professionally managed and secure data centre,” says Romanik. He favours climate-controlled data centres with backup generators in case of natural disasters or power outages. Adds Eden: “We have key-card controlled access at every door and video cameras.”

Privacy: The system provider’s privacy policy should be posted on its website and promise “never to use the data for anything other than providing it to their client for the event itself,” says Romanik. That means the data won’t be sold to third parties for marketing or advertising. A certification from international privacy auditor TRUSTe can provide extra reassurance, says Eden.

Passwords: Event staff should never share the same username and password. “If you have four or five event planners, they should each have their own log-in so they’re responsible for their own password,” says Romanik. “You can track what each person is doing or lock out individuals if they leave the company.”

“It’s smart for even small- or medium-sized organizations to ask these questions,” Eden says. "It’s about ‘I’m trusting you with my customer list. Are you going to protect it?’”

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