Even with some businesses returning to the office, many are finding that the benefits of a remote workforce, such as improved productivity, employee satisfaction, and cost savings, are driving a more permanent work-from-home plan. Businesses are planning for long-term collaboration technology solutions for remote work, and one of the key priorities in this area is secure collaboration.
The shift to remote work resulted in a major increase in the number of collaboration applications available, and Metrigy’s report entitled “Workplace Collaboration: 2021-22” included the responses of representatives from 476 companies. Among the participants, 41% indicated that they were using more than one meeting application. More than one-third (38%) are using more than one team collaboration tool, and 15% have more than one phone system.
Perhaps most importantly to the concerns of secure collaboration, 58% of respondents report that they are allowing external users access to their collaboration tools or will plan to do so by the end of the year.
Are Collaboration Tools Secure? Collaboration tools are flooding the market, and they come with varying security features, with the best offering fine-grained policies that control who can join meetings, file sharing, and external access. Providers are moving toward offering end-to-end encryption, but it’s not available in every application.
The primary concern around secure collaboration is whether outside parties can gain unauthorized access to meetings and team spaces, including the content shared in these spaces. There’s also a lack of consistency in how these tools offer security features, and with the fast growth, there are challenges with trying to enforce consistency in security policies or trying to establish end-to-end visibility to identify threats. Additional threats include toll fraud attacks and denial-of-service attacks
Step One: Prevent Security Risks. The constant challenge for enterprise IT and security teams is balancing secure collaboration with effective collaboration. According to the study from Metrigy, only 41% of respondents have a collaboration security plan in place, while an additional 31% are considering a plan or working to put one in place this year.
The effort put into developing a security plan tends to pay off; while there is no causation established in this finding, the study shows that organizations with a proactive plan for secure collaboration were associated with the highest ROI levels and improved productivity.
Components of a secure collaboration technology plan include application layer gateways or firewalls, the use of data loss prevention (DLP) controls, and policy in place to promote compliance with regulatory requirements. They may also include third-party security audits, patch management, and structured assessments of providers.
Step Two: Implement Secure Collaboration Technology. There are platforms that are designed for secure collaboration, enabling policy enforcement and management from a centralized dashboard that can be used across collaboration applications. Security teams should carefully examine the features and capabilities of the security platforms being considered, as some are more focused on protection against voice over internet protocol (VoIP) threats that target session initiation protocol (SIP) trunks or endpoints. Others prioritize a centralized policy management for secure collaboration that applies across platforms to limit the ability to share content.
Step Three: Build Risk Awareness. Across many businesses, secure collaboration is a subject discussed by chief information security officers (CISOs) and their teams, but they may not be fully up to date on the latest collaboration threats. It is ideal for security teams to have a collaboration security lead among their members.Creating a secure environment for technology-based collaboration requires a holistic perspective. It is important that every aspect of your business be evaluated to identify the best combination of collaboration solutions for your unique needs. Contact us at Safari Solutions to learn how your business can safely leverage technology for business growth.