How to enable secure collaboration and 9 tools to help you do it

Rocket.Chat Content Team
September 13, 2022
min read

Secure collaboration isn't just limited to board meetings at the workplace. Given the increase in remote work, there's been a boost in the number of tools that make online collaboration possible and productive - and effective collaboration sets successful teams apart from those that are not.

Without a secure barrier, critical business information can be compromised. With numerous tools available, how do you ensure that your organization collaborates in a secure way?

This article focuses on the know-how of enterprise-level security for secure collaboration.

Why is secure collaboration a must for enterprises?

It's the organization’s role to provide the right resources for its employees. Providing user-friendly and collaborative tools is a prerequisite in the workplace. But, for secure document collaboration, secure authorization measures must be in place. 

This avoids data leaks and keeps organizational information safe. Beyond these, here are some reasons why a secure collaboration tool should be on your must-have list:

1. Cyberattacks are on the rise

secure collaboration

With rising data infrastructure comes the complexity of data security. In the last 12 months alone, 66% of businesses have experienced a cybersecurity attack. This translates to high costs and a loss of brand reputation. 

With only a minority prepared to defend themselves, secure collaborative tools should be your trusted first line of defense. 

2. Rising costs of cybersecurity breaches

The cost of a cybersecurity breach is a window into how spending on security measures is the better option. In 2022 alone, the cost of a data breach can be a whopping $4.35 million. With the frequency and the cost of cybersecurity breaches only rising, organizations must revisit the benefits of secure collaboration tools. 

3. Damaged business reputation

As a consumer, you wouldn't like it if your personal information was compromised in a data attack. Knowing that your credentials or any information are out there is unsettling.

This is equally damaging to the organization, which would have to try many times to regain consumer trust. A recent report found that about 46% of organizations suffer reputational damage due to a data breach. The only way out would be to take responsibility and ensure better security steps in the future. 

4. Privacy compliance risks

secure collaboration

Privacy compliance varies globally but has the same intent-to secure consumer data. About 69% of the world’s countries now have data protection and privacy legislation in place. GDPR, HIPAA, and CCPA are being enforced across the EU and US. 

This is a priority for highly regulated industries such as healthcare, education, government, and finance. For such sectors, encrypted messaging apps can ensure better and more secure document collaboration. 

How can you ensure secure collaboration in your organization?

Besides data exchange, collaboration involves chats, calls, compliance with privacy regulations, cloud servers, and so on. It goes beyond using a host of tools that may be ‘secure’ and requires stringent rules. Rather than put your organization at risk, here are some simple tips that can ensure secure collaboration in the workplace: 

1. Use secure collaboration tools

It's important to check the security credentials of collaborative tools. This ensures that they have security protocols to manage your data securely and responsibly. Some key features are companies that are transparent about their security protocols and are compliant. 

Another tip is to go for user-friendly tools with plenty of integrations, such that employees don't resort to using consumer-oriented applications. These may not have the same level of security as an enterprise-level secure collaboration tool. 

2. Regularly conduct security awareness training

Prioritize reducing human error as a potential entry for data breaches by regularly conducting security awareness training. As information is constantly shared between employees and across tools, being aware of the security protocols to follow is beneficial. Employees can also be aware of the latest technology and its security requirements. 

3. Manage document access

Secure document collaboration involves a proper document access management solution in place. The required types of files must be easily retrievable by the administrators that have access to the information. For existing and ex-employees, document access must be allowed or restricted based on position and usage. 

4. Regular security audits 

Peer-reviewed security audits scour the entire workflow and collaboration process. Auditing third-party integrations and apps are also necessary. With such peer-reviewed audits and reviews, loopholes and any other issues can be fixed prior. 

5. Expand the role of the data officer

A data officer can check for instances of shadow IT, insufficient security training, or when there's an additional tool included in the workspace. While the application handles the data security, the data officer can ensure that there are no additional applications used, no loopholes or lack of training that may cause data breaches.

6. Focus on customer data security

Consumer data is valuable. Organizations must go beyond secure tools to secure consumer data. This eliminates opportunities for an attacker to expose customer data. There must be strict policies in place for accessing customer data. 

7. Collaboration guidelines

A hallmark of secure collaboration tools is how they set security for internal and external stakeholder communication. Whenever a piece of information is outsourced to an external stakeholder, some degree of security is lost.

But, having the right controls and collaboration guidelines in place can boost risk tolerance during data sharing. Monitoring the network, file, compliance, and controls before sharing should be a prerequisite for secure collaboration tools. 

Top 9 collaboration tools with enterprise security features 

In our recent article, we have listed the top 9 extremely secure collaboration tools you can use in your organization 

Here's our list:

1. Rocket.Chat

2. Element

3. Pexip

4. Nextcloud

5. Pumble

6. Yalla

7. ExoPlatform

8. LogMeIn

9. Toggl

Get started with Rocket.Chat’s secure collaboration platform

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The enterprise-level security is what differentiates these tools from consumer-oriented collaborative tools. Some major security features include: 

1. Encryption

Encryption ensures that only the sender and the receiver access the message content and hold the decryption keys. As a standard data protection protocol, encryption provides an additional layer of security. Most secure messaging apps will always entail this feature.

2. Multi-factor authentication

Even within a collaborative environment, not sharing documents unless explicitly required is an essential practice. Secure collaborative tools include multi-factor authentication as a feature, and file sharing or embedded apps may lead to unwanted access. Multi-factor authentication verifies an employee's identity in multiple steps and methods, restricting access and securing data. 

3. On-premise deployment

On-premise deployment is an additional method for deploying and enhancing security. Especially for highly regulated industries, on-premise deployment guarantees the organization complete control over the data exchange within the workplace. 

secure collaboration

4. Data loss prevention 

Confidential data may move within and outside an organization. A collaborative documentation tool must be able to restrict access, automatically back up required data, and have policies in place for data loss prevention. Additionally, disposing of old or unused data, based on its nature, is a helpful feature. 

5. Open source code

Not only is there an increased reliance, but open source tools have a larger community supporting their growth. The transparency of code, better compliance cost effectiveness, lack of vendor lock-in, and enhanced security lead to consumers shifting to open source collaborative software

6. Matrix Federation 

The Matrix Federation is an open-source project for secure, decentralized, and real-time communication. It provides simple APIs and the most complex, state-of-the-art end-to-end encryption. Hence, Matrix Federation helps organizations have reliable and secure communication within and beyond company borders. 

7. Data retention suitable for business and compliance requirements

A step beyond organizational data is consumer data in terms of security. Due to the large fines issued by regulatory bodies, it's crucial to ensure customer data stays protected. These applications adhere to compliance based on the country and ensure regular updates to privacy policies. 

8. Careful use of metadata

Metadata can include sensitive data or login credentials when used with different devices or users. The secure collaboration tool must have a metadata-protecting scheme or protocol in place such that an attacker cannot leverage the information to acquire organizational data. 

9. Customization 

Off-the-shelf software does not provide customization features that an organization may require. On the other hand, customization is easy with open-source software, and custom messaging experience and user experience are possible with such tools. 

To summarize: the best time to secure your collaboration is yesterday.

Communication and collaborative security has rapidly changed over the decades. This requires organizations to adapt, put strict policies in place and secure confidential data. Compromising on collaboration can be a costly and reputation-damaging affair. 

Secure and collaborative tools ensure that the right security protocols are out in place for your workplace to be productive and worry-free.

If your goal is data protection and security, then our commitment aligns. Get in touch with our team to create a worry-free collaborative experience for your workplace! 

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Rocket.Chat Content Team
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