In recent times, collaborative working tools have become more and more popular, as workforces look for new ways to revolutionise how staff carry out their jobs. Such tools have widespread advantages, including an increase in communication and productivity, a more flexible work environment, the ability to seamlessly manage and track tasks, and the secure sharing of documents.

However, with the introduction of any new workplace software, management may have concerns over security, particularly regarding web-based threats, potential data breaches and application-layer vulnerabilities. For these reasons, security threats remain a primary reason as to why many company decision-makers are cautious.

We discuss several ways in which businesses can overcome these concerns and safely use cloud collaboration software to enhance workplace security.

Restrictive access and full audit trail

Within the workplace, managers often have valid concerns regarding which employees are able to access sensitive company data.

Secure collaboration software does, however, adequately address these trepidations, by allowing managers to grant tool access to only specific people or teams, as well as creating stringent controls over which information can be viewed and by whom. Alerts can also be set up to notify the relevant people when an unauthorised access attempt is made, including the ability to block access in the case of an attempted breach. This means confidential files and data are kept secure and can only be viewed by trusted people in specific roles.

Full audit trails, which log each interaction within the platform, can also be viewed by those with top-level access, providing full transparency regarding who has uploaded, viewed or edited specific files.

Password security

The majority of tools on the market require a username and password in order to login to the software. Basic passwords are, obviously, very easy to hack, and the consequences of a data breach, particularly to small-and-medium-sized enterprises, can be devastating.

To overcome such issues, the best cloud collaboration platforms will have stringent controls with regard to password security, including factors like prevent password re-use, using long-tail, complex, and combination password patterns, and insisting users set up two-factor authentication processes, requiring a back-up code sent via phone. Rigid platforms should also automatically log users out after periods of inactivity.

A secure network

One of the core benefits of collaboration tools is that users can work anytime, from anywhere in the world. As such, a highly secure network, with https/SSL connections, is at the heart of this type of software. The most reliable tools on the market will ensure data encryption during every step of the journey, as well as having systems in place to continuously monitor the network in case of threats.

Company data breaches are often caused as a result of negligent or improperly trained staff, which can easily be avoided through thorough training and making use of all the security features included within the platform. Providers of cloud collaboration tools are on-hand to ensure their users are well-versed in the functioning of the platform and how it can securely protect data.

Moreover, managers can encourage employees to act sensibly, by fostering a company culture whereby staff understand the gravity of their actions, and work to minimise security threats overall.

Data that is always available

Good security isn’t just about keeping your data safe – it’s about giving you peace of mind that your data is always available when you need it.

Imagine if one of your critical systems went down for any length of time. What damage would this do to your organisation’s productivity? Or worse, to its reputation?

That’s why you should select a tool that is resilient against network, power, connectivity and hardware problems so it is available round-the-clock.  Preferably one with a service level agreement guaranteeing a minimum uptime 99.95%.

Certified providers

Once you have decided to invest in a workplace collaboration tool, it is important to only choose one from a valid provider. Those that have been granted an ISO 27001 accreditation are able to prove that the security measures used within their tool are secure, rigorous and do not compromise sensitive data. This certification is industry-respected, since an impartial, trusted third party tests the software and confirms whether it has met the required security standards.

Another way to determine security credentials is to establish whether the platform provider has completed an annual IT Health Check (ITHC) through an accredited CHECK testing partner. Undertaken by security experts, the test is extremely stringent and determines whether the platform remains secure in the event of a hacking attempt. Once a provider passes the test, it guarantees that the tool is protected from known attacks and that the user authentication and session management are secure.

When used correctly, and with security firmly in mind, cloud collaboration tools provide numerous benefits. The risks outlined should be used as a tale of caution, helping to steer businesses in the right direction when deciding which platform is suitable and which vendors meet the strict security requirements laid out.