Are collaboration tools secure?

Collaboration tools have been a hot topic across business for years, and as many companies have increased remote work over the past year, they have become more and more critical for businesses and productivity.

So, what does it mean for data security and privacy when collaboration tools are rolled out to employees? We’ll break this down into three areas: which tool is selected, how the tool is used, and how you set permissions within the software.

Which tool is selected.
The tool you select is a large part of the security of your system. Cloud-based vs. server-based tools can have security differences based on how the data is stored, whether servers are shared across the vendors’ customers, and many more factors. While most collaboration tools can safely handle day-to-day tasks, holding confidential, legal, or medical documents in these tools is often not good data practice. Selecting a tool that is GDPR or HIPAA compliant, or meets other security measures indicated by your IT team and data policies will increase the level of security for all documents.

How the tool is used.
No matter how secure your collaboration tool, your data security is only as good as your data policies and hygiene. A tool that takes great care to secure your data cannot do so if confidential data is input in the wrong place, is downloaded to an unsecure computer, or is shared outside the tool in some way. Setting data policies and training employees in proper data hygiene for confidential documents will ensure your teams collaborate with their tools to maintain your data security.

How you set permissions within the software.
Referring back to which tool you selected, different tools offer different levels of permissions for users. Not only should your selection of a collaboration tool take into account how they secure data generally, but it should consider the options you are given to lock down confidential information to specific team members, teams, or departments. Tools have varying levels of permissions options. You may be able to provide a department access to all their information with no options for further securing types of work or individual tickets, or you might be able to decide on a ticket-by-ticket basis who can see it and what they can see. When selecting your software and setting up permissions, consider who should see what, whether they should be able to work on or edit that work, and if there are any fields or conversations surrounding that work that should be hidden from certain users/groups with visibility. Tools with nuanced permissions should be able to easily set this level of permission to keep your data secure within you organizational chart.

So, the answer to whether collaboration tools are secure? Often, the system itself is. And, specialized systems offer higher levels of data security and more options for permissions and privacy within your teams. But, you and your team still need to participate in the data privacy policies at your organization to ensure that the data is secured in the system and is not held in unsecure locations.

Brycellyn LaBorde

Brycellyn LaBorde

Operations Manager, Bigfork Technologies