Apps can add real value to the attendee experience, but it’s vital to keep delegate data safe. Michael Douglas, Director of Sales, Mobile Solutions at GenieConnect by Lanyon, explains how to be safe rather than sorry.
In her recent Conference News blog ‘Event apps – all the rage or ALL THE RAGE’, Jayne McFahn rightly makes the point that data security should be the utmost priority when developing an app.
So what can event organisers do to ensure the security of their delegate’s data when using the now almost ubiquitous event apps, which are playing an increasingly important part in adding value to the live experience?
Well for me, as Jayne says, it’s all about how you choose your technology partner. The more selective you are, the less chance you’ll experience a leaky app – along with all the negative publicity, not to mention possible legal ramifications, that goes with it.
If your vendor is using a commercial cloud service, such as that provided by Google, you can be assured of enterprise-grade security. However, if they are hosting it themselves, you might want to take a closer look at the safeguards they have put in place.
In evaluating potential event app partners, there are some broad criteria that can be used to assess their suitability from a security perspective:
1. Third-party security certification
This is an excellent indication of quality. For example, Websense and Veracode – recognised by research company Gartner as leaders in application security testing – certifies that organisations have used the most widely accepted and comprehensive methods available to secure their software.
You should look for the VerAfied security mark, which signifies that an application has received an independent assessment from Veracode and that the provider has remediated any identified vulnerabilities.
2. PCI accreditation
The Payment Card Industry (PCI) has also developed a Data Security Standard, a proprietary benchmark for organisations that handle cardholder information for the major debit and credit cards. If the data on your app is being hosted by an organisation that has achieved PCI accreditation, then you can be confident that it has implemented appropriate security measures.
3. Banks and IT firms
Finally, certain types of company – such as banks and large IT firms – have rigorous security checks that apply to all suppliers. So if your event technology partner regularly works with such organisations, then that’s a good sign they take great care in safeguarding their clients’ data.
Event apps are transforming the delegate experience to such an extent that they are definitely here to stay in one form or another. In fact, many delegates feel short-changed without them. The key is to make them relevant rather than gratuitous by looking closely at what delegates are looking to get from the event, and ensure your app delivers this effectively and efficiently, then see where you can add even more value. What you don’t need is to have to worry about data security, so this should definitely be a priority when looking for an app supplier.
Any comments? Email Zoe Vernor