3 Things to Consider for Safe and Secure Team Collaboration

3 Things to Consider for Safe and Secure Team Collaboration

how do I keep my users and my company safe? Regardless of whether you’re a large Fortune 50 enterprise or a start-up, your data is critical to your business. And you need to keep it safe and secure.

As you go through the process of deciding how to set up and secure your collab solutions, make sure you are thinking about how to best facilitate your users getting work done. Make decisions, but be ready to change by asking: “What are people using these tools for that I wasn’t considering before?” and adapt your policies to keep that work getting done, not prevent it. There will always be patterns that are straight-up incorrect. But for the most part, people find new ways of doing things to be more efficient at their job, so help them do that securely and within boundaries. No reasonable employee starts their day hoping to compromise the crown jewels of their employer!

To help you on your journey to addressing this challenge within your collaboration architecture, we will share insights into our own approach.  However, we truly believe that deploying an IT solution is never a one-off activity. You need to be able to adapt and evolve your solutions as your business grows and develops. So it is key that you choose a solution that gives you the flexibility to monitor adoption and activity, and adapt accordingly.

Top considerations when securing your team collaboration solution

The most secure cloud in the world is one with: (a) no users (b) no code and (c) that is not connected to the Internet. Where no-one can do anything wrong, or inject malicious code and compromise the system! But, security like that gets in the way of getting work done. On the other hand, the most easy-to-use deployment is one where there are no boundaries or gates, just wide-open and free-form collaboration and sharing between your users and others. Once again, not a great solution. The best solution lies somewhere in between. But your best solution is unlikely to be the same as that of IT leader to your left, or to your right either.

How do you choose the best solution for your business?  Here is our list of top 3 considerations

1) This is not just a lift and shift exercise, but needs careful planning. A cloud-based collaboration solution is fundamentally different from tools like on-prem email servers or chat. The flexibility and velocity of the Internet mandates a different paradigm for the way that services operate. You need to make sure you plan for the different modalities that online collaboration takes – audio, video, screen sharing, sending files, etc. – much more than was possible in email. Find the tools that will help you manage these modalities – Data Loss Prevention (DLP)/ Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) solutions like Cisco Cloudlock can help.

2) Set policies that allow but control the types of interactions you want your users to engage in.We’re now seeing an uptick in pre- and post-meeting activity to make high-bandwidth, synchronous activities as efficient as possible. Business critical decisions are now being made in real-time in messaging – with screens being shared, files being authored, and tasks being assigned. You need to define security policies that support and control this – will your users be allowed to work with others outside your organization? Can files be shared? Remember – it’s important to give employees the capabilities that they need in order to be as productive as possible. Rather than saying “no files can be shared,” consider defining what kind of files could be shared openly? How long should data be retained for? Do you need to comply with legal regulations? Get clarity on what your users should be doing, set policies to control those capabilities, and, again, make sure you monitor.

3) Understand the sensitivity of the data that will be exchanged during those interactions. Which teams handle the most sensitive data? What tools do you currently have in place that need to be part of your architecture going forward? Choose a solution that is sufficiently open to support any integrations that you need, and which doesn’t prevent you from changing those integrations in the future. Also remember to monitor – choose DLP engines that help you to make sure the right things are happening with your data. Again, a product like Cisco Cloudlock can help you in this journey.

These 3 considerations aren’t easy to combine with a good solution – it’s an art more than a science. And if you’re part of a bigger company, addressing issues like litigation and legal discovery proceedings are also realities you’ll need to contend with. Make sure your platform supports the capabilities you need! Cisco Webex Teams has a wealth of capabilities to support eDiscovery, Legal Hold, and content retention management. Our goal is to give you the connective tissue between disparate apps and services to deliver a seamless and efficient experience for your users to get work done.

Jono Luk
March 28, 2019