Can you believe it? Madonna, Amy Schumer, The Lumineers and even Broadway shows like Lin-Manuel Miranda’s co-created “Freestyle Love Supreme” have made headlines for forcing attendees to hand over their phones when arriving at performances.
While artists claim this is intended to enhance the audience’s experience, these are no more than thinly veiled attempts to prevent recording and and sharing of content.
Planners in the pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical meetings industry face this issue every day: How do you engage your meeting attendees, provide a remarkable experience and keep confidential or sensitive information secure? It’s a lot like walking a tightrope. Consider the current landscape:
- Hotel and public venue WiFi networks are notorious for data theft
- Cyberattacks are growing increasingly sophisticated
- Hackers are peeking around every corner
- Corporate spies are real (really!)
- Social media enthusiasts are constantly looking to post exclusive news to increase their audience
Scary, right? Admittedly, it’s a lot to worry about. But make no mistake: These threats pose significant security risks if you don’t take preventative action.
Admit it. With all these security risks and the distractions of phones competing with your presenters and content, it’s tempting to ban smartphones.
Tempting...but not realistic.
Imagine holding a meeting and asking healthcare professionals to check their phones at the door. There would be a mutiny before your meeting got started! And, you could pretty much say goodbye to those hard-earned key opinion leader relationships. Bottom line, your HCP attendees need their phones as a lifeline to their practice and to respond to urgent matters.
Since banning or forcing healthcare meeting participants to lock-up their phones is definitely not an option to solve security or confidentiality issues, what's a better game plan?
Keep reading because I am going to share some proactive approaches that we at Educational Measures have compiled from our experience with thousands of medical and life sciences meetings to help planners like you.
Let’s jump in.
First off, I want to be clear that these tactics work well for in-person meetings. If you want to learn about security tactics for virtual or hybrid events, please contact one of our experts to discuss your needs.
It may not surprise you that taking a proactive approach to data security at your meetings and events starts with effective communication.
As a first step, always meet with your internal stakeholders to identify which scientific data and content is confidential. Then, be sure to convey to your technology vendors which slides are confidential and cannot be saved by your audience or shared post-meeting (more on that below).
Next, clearly communicate your data security expectations with your venue staff, technology vendors, and other 3rd party vendors. Work with them closely and come up with a strategy to ensure that your security needs are met. Will you need to constantly check badges for attendees and staff coming in and out of your meeting room? Will you need to monitor attendees to ensure they are not taking photos of confidential content? These are just a few of the questions to consider. Depending on the level of data security you require, you may need more staff than you initially anticipated.
Additionally, you’ll need to communicate your data security expectations to your audience at the start of your meeting. Unfortunately, even with signed confidentiality agreements, each attendee has the potential to use their personal device – either accidentally or intentionally – to disseminate confidential information.
While covering housekeeping items, don’t miss the opportunity to request that your audience not take photos of slides or share meeting content on social media. Yes, your participants may choose to ignore this and it can be difficult to police but requesting this is an important step.
Effective communication can only take your data security efforts so far. To keep audience participation high and protect confidential information, consider utilizing secure engagement technology.
What is Secure Engagement Technology?
Before we delve into what secure engagement technology is, picture a typical meeting: Attendees download an event app on their mobile device, plan their schedule, interact with speakers and other attendees, and view maps of the meeting venue, all using the conference WiFi or their personal cellular networks.
If your meeting contains proprietary data, confidential R&D, or other sensitive information (such as with investigator meetings, advisory boards or speaker training), it’s obvious why this poses a data security risk. Not only is there more potential for your audience to share confidential information but these are golden opportunities for skilled hackers to breach your network’s security.
Secure engagement technology truly keeps your confidential content secure. When evaluating meeting technologies to enhance your audience’s experience, look for these critical attributes:
- A dedicated, local network and on-site private server
- The network is configured with multi-tenant Oauth 2.0 authentication, HTTPS 128-bit encryption for secure data transfer and change management with SOC-2 compliance.
- A dedicated device that has no access to external internet
- Attendee passwords and access codes that are alpha numeric
Whew, that’s a technical mouthful! Bottom line, this locked-down approach prevents data breaches and eliminates sharing of confidential content.
The best part? Audience engagement platforms, like Array® Premium accomplish the above without sacrificing the most important thing of all: attendee experience. So, without further adieu...
Balancing Attendee Engagement and Security
With so much focus on security and confidentiality, it’s easy to lose sight of what will make or break your meeting: audience engagement. If your attendees are not engaged, participant experience suffers and consequently, so does your meeting impact. Inherently, scientific data can be difficult to present in a way that grabs and keeps an HCP audience’s attention. Which brings me back to engagement technology. Placing dedicated, secure devices (such as iPads) loaded with interactive meeting technology in the hands of your participants has benefits beyond security. In fact, the Educational Measures’ Data and Insights team has found that with engagement technology:
- Audience engagement increases by 92%
- When gaming is used, “highly engaged” participants increases by 40%
- Response rates increase by 70%
- 52% more audience data is captured
How to Use Secure Engagement Technology to Enhance Attendee Experience
Here are a few of the ways pharmaceutical, biotech and CME companies are leveraging interactive technology to enhance audience experience at their meetings and events:
- Gateway surveys: display three to five questions before a session starts to assess knowledge levels and current skills or gather information and opinions.
- Pre- and post-polls: ask the same questions before and after each presentation to measure changes in knowledge or information retention.
- Gamified challenges: spread questions throughout the meeting and award points for fastest responders or most correct answers.
- Session feedback: questions pushed out immediately following each presentation and throughout the meeting capture feedback while it is fresh in attendees’ minds.
- Facilitated note taking: participants zoom in on slides or rate slides, and if made available due to security settings, draw or type notes on specific slides, and save slides, notes and resources.
Maintaining Data Security After Your Meeting
Blending data security with an awesome attendee experience shouldn’t stop when your meeting ends. Healthcare professionals love taking their notes and content home with them attending meetings and preventing them from doing so will impact their experience and sentiment. When sending post-meeting slides, consider replacing confidential slides with slides watermarked “confidential” so that they can still access their written notes on those slides after the meeting.
This leaves your audience with a lasting positive impression of your meeting while accomplishing your data security goals.
Now, you have some tactics for keeping confidential meeting content secure. So, take the next step.