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Does organization size affect a remote collaboration deployment?

A remote collaboration deployment takes planning. Organizations of all sizes should consider a few guidelines when introducing a new platform.

Businesses large and small need remote collaboration, but how each goes about it might be different. The question is less about big vs. small business and more about approaching remote collaboration the right way vs. the wrong way.

Small businesses tend to have less structured IT and are more likely to jump into remote collaboration in an unstructured fashion, which is the wrong approach. Larger businesses will have more IT resources and will likely have a more developed and structured approach to working with new collaboration technologies, which is the better approach.

Regardless of business size, resist the temptation to just jump into a new collaboration environment. To be competitive today, collaboration tools should be easy to use, but that can be a double-edged sword. If tools are too easy to use, organizations can start building working environments without giving due consideration to longer-term items, such as user IDs and group names.

Many larger companies mandate a prototype phase with new technology, but that step could get skipped for smaller organizations. Ideally, a prototype system should be a throwaway that provides hands-on learning for the collaboration system. Generic usernames and team IDs, such as Bob1 and TeamA, are fine for a prototype system, but they aren't suitable for an official system deployment.

Smaller companies should be sure to take the prototype path. Build a system with a few users to test out features, but don't transition a prototype into an official system deployment by simply adding users. Run the prototype, learn about key features, clean the slate and start fresh with usernames, groups and other applicable features that make sense and can grow with the company.

Larger companies will divide responsibility for different aspects of IT, making it unlikely the group responsible for collaboration tools will be the same group responsible for security. Because secure collaboration is essential, it's important to bring the security team in at the beginning to make sure the collaboration environment is protected by next-generation firewalls, web application firewalls, VPNs and other elements of modern data security.

No matter the business size, the challenges to remote collaboration are the same. Organizations should aim for a secure collaboration system where users, groups and other system elements are well thought out for future growth. Fortunately, the opportunity to implement remote collaboration effectively exists for businesses of all sizes; it just takes planning.

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