The key ingredients in secure collaboration software

By Stefan Radulian on 04. July 2019

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Compared with other countries, it’s the Germans who most enjoy working in a team. These were the findings of the latest Happiness Index published by the work management specialist Wrike, who surveyed about 4000 full-time employees from Britain, Germany, France and the USA. As many as 82 per cent of the Germans had a positive view of teamwork, followed by France at 77%, the USA at 75% and Britain at 67%.

Collaboration solutions boost teamwork

Against this backdrop, many companies now use collaboration solutions to ensure good coordination and communication. Over half of the respondents (54%) in the Happiness Index survey said they used a collaboration tool in their everyday work. At CEO and executive level, practically everybody uses one. These results are not that surprising, given that collaborative software really does help when you’re allocating tasks within a team and sharing information between team members. It can be used anytime and anywhere and it’s easy to include external people in the team.

However, one thing that companies don’t always think of when optimising their working processes in this way is data security and how information is protected on collaboration platforms. Yet this is crucial, especially when people are working on confidential projects. Regardless of company size or industry, businesses that want to stay competitive must handle business information carefully. And they still need to share it between team members – and perhaps also external people – not only quickly and efficiently, but also transparently and securely.

What a collaboration tool must offer

As with a great dish, good collaboration software also requires several key ingredients. These obviously include the typical collaboration features that enable people to work together seamlessly on documents and files. These features go beyond simple file sharing capabilities - they should comprise editing a document as a group, a search function and the ability to restore previous versions of a document. Users should be able to select or create groups of people who need to receive a file as part of an approval or similar process. And there should be an audit trail to ensure the traceability of every change to a file. With all this functionality, the usability of the software is also primordial, because the team members will only accept it if it’s easy to use – especially if they can also use it on their smartphone and tablet. If it isn’t user-friendly, it increases the risk of user errors and – in the worst -case – of unintentional security breaches. And that can affect the security of the software itself.

When it comes to security, collaboration platforms need additional, concrete protection functions. For example, confidential documents should always be encrypted when in storage and during transmission to other people, while access to the document itself should require two-factor authentication. In addition, the platform will need comprehensive Information Rights Management capabilities, enabling companies to define individual access rights and concepts for each user and team.

In other words, a user should be able to specify who is only allowed to read a file and who can also edit, save and even print it. Digital watermarks and document IDs are other features that ensure the integrity of a document in accordance with a “protect beyond sharing” principle that always tracks who has done what with which data. In addition, these solutions should include effective provider shielding at all times to block access to company data by datacentre workers and solution provider staff. In the case of confidential data, the solution should enable a company to prevent even its own IT administrators from having access to the information. It should also be certified in accordance with the ISO 27001 standard.

Team collaboration: productive and secure

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Collaboration, Secure Collaboration, Brainloop

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