How can IT evaluate team collaboration apps for security compliance?

Choosing the right team collaboration apps for your business must include looking at your organization's security and compliance needs. IT should focus on tools that meet established security standards.

The emergence of team collaboration apps in the broader unified communications stack offers many productivity benefits for end users. But team collaboration integration poses a unique challenge for IT departments, particularly in highly regulated industries. The ability to share files within an organization, but outside of the corporate network, creates the potential to leak sensitive information or intellectual property, even accidentally.

IT administrators should ensure that chosen apps offer a level of data security that aligns with established security and compliance policies within the organization. Data security for apps may include end-to-end encryption of app data, both in transport and at rest within a vendor's data center. In addition, a number of team collaboration providers support audit capabilities to enable a full accounting of who can access a given piece of data. Access includes both internal users and external guest users, such as partners, customers and suppliers. When evaluating team collaboration apps, existing compliance and security requirements need to be included in the evaluation criteria. Only platforms and tools that align with an organization's policies should be considered.

One of the most important compliance considerations an organization needs to consider is how it can actively combat the rise of shadow IT. IT should work to prevent teams from going out on their own and using freemium team collaboration tools. Many of today's team collaboration apps offer free versions of the product for small teams or small businesses. While these tools offer workgroups an avenue to collaborate without involving IT, without proper controls in place, they can expose the organization to data leakage and compliance violations. Users need to be educated and reminded of the risks involved in using non-approved tools.

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