Recent changes to working conditions have increased the use of online conferencing tools throughout the humanitarian sector. These conferencing technologies are invaluable when face-to-face meetings are impossible, but they also pose a significant information security and data protection risk when not used responsibly.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Data Protection Office, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the OCHA Centre for Humanitarian Data have developed this tip sheet to support the responsible use of online conferencing tools by humanitarians around the world.

This tip sheet offers:

  • an overview of the risks associated with online conferencing, including unauthorized access
    to meeting rooms/calls, breaches of confidentiality and data protection, third party retention
    of conferencing data, and malware or social engineering attacks
  • recommendations to mitigate those risks to help you protect yourself and your organization,
    maintain security for online conference calls that you initiate, and maintain security for online
    conferences initiated by persons outside your organization
  • a set of resources for further reading

For more on data responsibility in humanitarian action, visit the Data Policy page on the Centre’s website or contact our team at