Multiplatform Collaboration Security Preparedness
In our Top Seven Trends in Enterprise Collaboration and Communication for 2020, we discussed how multiplatform environments will grow to encompass even more collaboration platforms for the average organization. Currently, the average number of platform vendors in use for collaboration and communication operations is 3.8 per organization. While companies are eager to zero-in on a single platform, IT and InfoSec teams should be prepared for a continued uptick in platform usage with additional collaboration and communication apps like Glip, Mattermost, RingCentral, Fuze, and more emerging on the network to fit with and satisfy the needs of certain user groups or departments.
Controlling user and application policies, as well as permissions, through traditional means is cumbersome and over-reaching when applied to the modern digital workplace. The normal IT top-down governance approach can frequently cause users to shift to some level of shadow IT solution as a workaround. Because of this growing number of platforms that IT and InfoSec teams need to support, it becomes more critical for them to understand what Unify Square calls the Three M’s of Collaboration Security. This approach introduces a much more cooperative process for creating and implementing collaboration security policies.
What are the Three M’s of Collaboration Security?
In the new world, enterprises need to allow a much broader and more lenient set of user behavior and subsequently manage issues after the fact, as required. This is where the Three M’s come into play.
Rather than just quickly jump to a fix, IT first uses software tools to carefully observe and monitor behaviors and usage patterns that are occurring in the multiplatform collaboration environment.
Based on the analytics provided by the software tools, IT can compare the risk exposure profile that it sees with the pre-defined workstream collaboration policy. This then allows IT to measure and report on whether any corporate policies are being violated, or are predictably at risk of being violated.
Both IT and/or empowered end-users can jump into action to either remediate or to create a new policy if governance standards are exceeded. In many cases, with proactive systems, either pre-defined workflows or AI workflows from software tools will be initiated well before any human touch or intervention is necessary.
Why Native Platform Tools aren’t Enough
With the additional complexity posed by workstream collaboration platforms, traditional (and manual) means are just not possible. With the modern digital workplace, software is needed to help observe and detect what’s going on.
While native collaboration platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams have built-in administration tools to help support basic collaboration security efforts, they’re both not enough, and in Microsoft’s case, the tools are not even confined to one admin console. Instead, because of Microsoft’s robust software and service options, security controls span across four different places. Because these platform-tools typically focus on a broad set of solutions that need to apply to most users, they can’t dive into the nitty-gritty details that each individual business may need. Instead, they focus on issues like the exterior perimeter of collaboration and communication, offering multifactor identification, single sign-on, and encryption. But it’s important to address what is happening inside that perimeter too – such as if someone inside the organization shares information externally. Native tools can only cover the basic surface area of these concerns. Instead, AI and ML are needed to facilitate security checks and workflows that protect the business.
Plus, factor in the multiple platform environments that are currently here to stay, and it’s clear where native platform tools fall short. They only apply to their own platform, making it difficult to monitor, measure, and manage, all the platforms in one place.
How to Efficiently Implement Collaboration Security
As organizations move increasingly toward a portfolio approach for workstream collaboration platforms, it is even more common for two to three different WSC and UC platforms to be strategically in use at a given time in an enterprise (for example, Microsoft Teams for internal collaboration and Zoom for external communication).
Not only are cloud solutions driving multivendor environments, but they are also usually simultaneously leading to reduced IT resourcing. IT is then left with increasing technology diversity being managed by fewer resources in the face of an increasingly independent and technically astute set of end-users. The result: IT management complexity and increased collaboration security exposure.
The solution? A software tool like Unify Square’s PowerSuite that offers consolidated solution management using the Three M’s of collaboration security. Thus, ubiquitous collaboration security policies created at a high-level can be pushed “down” and applied at each individual platform level. At the same time, the process of simultaneously monitoring and measuring can be implemented concurrently, looking at all app platforms in the entire environment. IT’s analysis of the organization will be able to verify collaboration security compliance at certain macro levels and then dive down into platform-specific breaches (and be able to identify where and why).
The advantages are obvious. It is significantly easier and more efficient to manage policies from a single console. Additionally, enforcing security policies from a single control point ensures there is a single place to review and remediate all incidents, rather than a separate dashboard for each WSC platform.