In this digital era, working within larger groups has become easier, efficient and more productive. It is far too common for employees to use collaboration tools to encourage the communication between group and team members. These tools have allowed people to work together online to achieve a goal but at the same time, to get the work done, employees create an unintentional risk to data security.
Using collaboration tools safely has become quite an important agenda item because online data transfer is much susceptible to data leakage and unpleasant attacks. In order to use collaboration tools with great safety, first, it’s necessary to understand what collaboration tools are and how do they work?
What are collaboration tools?
The term collaboration is defined as working with multiple people to achieve one goal, usually working in project teams. (Whitsett, 2016) Following this definition, collaboration tools refer to multiple programs (software) used to foster the communication between members of a team working on a same project to accomplish the same goal. The example of collaboration tools is same as that whiteboard in a conference room which is used to resolve the problems in the presence of all concerned participants. Tools like email, workflow software and online workspaces help people to stay connected online and work effectively on the same project.
Risks using collaboration tools
Being online is all it requires to make confidential data susceptible to leakage. Simply sending an email containing sensitive information or sharing confidential data to a file sharing site can increase the risk of inappropriate exposure and data theft.
With no security vetting of the software or proper authorization, users invite risks while signing up online. According to a recent survey, employees using non-IT supported collaboration tools increase the risk and make the enterprise network vulnerable to intrusions.
Safe use of Collaboration tools
Safe use of collaboration tools is possible with right pursuing of the software. It can be done by simple making collaboration easy and efficient. Opting for tools with effective control system and fostering employee ownership and accountability also play an important role in increasing collaboration tool safe usage. (Ray, 2017)
Easy and efficient collaboration
Many collaboration tools are safe to use but employees avoid using them because of their complex functioning and difficult use. It is usually the case when the tool is not used quite often and only preferred for little tasks. The truth is that employees don’t want to waste their time learning new complex tools and prefer using old easy ones. (Martinez, 2017)
It is very much important to understand that a tool is only effective if it is being used and embraced by the organizations to enjoy safe collaboration. Security isn’t a primary concern of most of the users as they only want the tool to be easy enough to use.
Choose tools with multiple control settings
Every organization has certain data security policies for data sharing practices. But it won’t be wrong to say that practices don’t always follow policies. To ensure the confidential data security while working in groups, it’s better to opt for collaboration tools having great control system. Collaboration tools with higher functionality allow the organizations to restrict the access for users based on their designation and type. It will shrink the access to confidential data and decrease the data leakage threat to much extent.
Foster Employee ownership and accountability
To use the collaboration tools with safety, it’s very much necessary to have a complete audit trail log containing all the record of user activities. This trail log will provide a better accountability of employees using the collaboration tools and also help in identifying any inappropriate use of the software. (Martinez, 2017)
Collaboration tools are quite effective but come with many threats hence, make sure you opt for safe tools having great functionality to increase data security.
Martinez, I. (2017, November 2). How to Make Collaboration Both Easy and Secure. Retrieved May 30, 2018, from CIO from IDG: https://www.cio.com/article/3235908/security/how-to-make-collaboration-both-easy-and-secure.html
Ray, S. (2017, September 6). 5 Ways Collaborative Tools Builds h2er Teams. Retrieved May 30, 2018, from ProjectManager: https://www.projectmanager.com/blog/5-ways-collaborative-tools-builds-h2er-teams
Whitsett, D. (2016, August 3). What Are Collaboration Tools? – Definition & Types. Retrieved May 30, 2018, from Study.com: https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-are-collaboration-tools-definition-types-quiz.html