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The importance of choosing a collaboration platform that’s secure

Cloud collaboration platforms are central to the modern workplace. Last year, Forbes estimated that 83% of businesses will rely on cloud collaboration by 2020.

Such popularity is unsurprising, especially when we consider the ways cloud collaboration can enhance any business strategy. Platforms such as Slack, Asana, and Kahootz are helping teams to communicate and manage projects in any time, anywhere, revolutionising the way business is conducted in the 21st century.

Leading platforms also have strict cyber security measures in place to ensure your communications remain private. This isn’t merely another handy feature; it’s arguably the most important factor to consider when selecting a cloud collaboration tool.

So, why should you prioritise security when choosing a cloud collaboration platform for your business? This article covers this and more.

Markers of trust

Many businesses handle sensitive information about their customers, which could be dangerous if it finds its way into the wrong hands. Even throwaway messages between colleagues can give hackers a lot to work with. As such, you need to ensure you’re only communicating using trustworthy platforms.

This was a common concern when online communications relied on standard HTTP connections. HTTP is an unencrypted protocol requiring no markers of security, so it would be very difficult to know whether a party has been compromised by a bad actor.

A truly secure cloud collaboration platform will circumvent these risks by using HTTPS. This is an ultra-secure protocol that creates a trust system between the user and the host. HTTPS websites have ‘certificates’ that indicate the website can be trusted.

When you’re choosing a cloud collaboration platform for your business, you need to ensure they handle your data using HTTPS connections. It makes it far more difficult for bad actors to infiltrate the system, so you can rest easier knowing you can trust the vendor who is handling your information.

Encryption and eavesdropping

The other major problem with HTTP is that it doesn’t encrypt the information being transferred across the network. Anyone who intercepts this information can easily read it because the data is stored in plaintext. This technique is known as ‘eavesdropping,’ and it can be highly problematic for your data security.

Thankfully, HTTPS connections use cryptographic protocols to ensure that the data can only be read by the user and the certificate-approved host. These tools—namely SSL or TSL—garble the information in transit, which makes it impossible for eavesdroppers to read the information should they intercept it.

The right cloud collaboration platform will take this a step further by using the strongest cryptographic cyphers, or ‘hash functions.’ This is the tool used to decrypt the transmitted information, and the more powerful it is, the less chance any eavesdroppers have to decrypt it for themselves.

The hash function you should be looking for is SHA-256, which provides the most complex encryption available today—or, realistically, ever. These hash functions use 256-bit ciphers and are practically impenetrable, meaning there is no way any third party could obtain or read the information you’re sharing.

Virus scanners

choosing a collaboration platform

One of the greatest risks to business cybersecurity doesn’t initially target the business itself. The supply chain attack is a hacking technique exploiting weaknesses in third parties that have access privileges to the target data.

Even if your own systems are secured to the hilt, your contractors and partners may not be so safe. A patient hacker would try to compromise your weaker partners in order to gain control to their systems. This grants them access to whatever information you share with such parties and can allow malware to infiltrate your own systems, thus compromising your own data.

Of course, the best solution would be to ensure your partners’ cybersecurity is tight enough to prevent the risk of this happening. (You could even send them this article!) But using a secure cloud collaboration platform is another helpful step in reducing the risk of supply chain attacks, because you will have more control over the security of your data, which you don’t with your partners’ systems.

As we mentioned, HTTPS offers greater protection against instances where a once-trusted contact becomes compromised. Also, a platform will take the added precaution of providing scanning software to ensure none of the files you’re receiving are dangerous.

Behind the scenes

With any online service, your details are stored on the company’s servers. That goes for everything, from e-commerce websites to social media platforms to virtual private networks.

If you’re running a business, you need to ensure your information is being stored correctly. A secure cloud collaboration platform will store passwords using one-way encryption, which means even the company staff will not be able to see it.

Better yet, the best platforms will constantly try to better themselves through software updates. They will frequently submit their software to independent auditors such as CREST and Cyber Essentials Plus which will test their own cybersecurity credentials to ensure their servers cannot be penetrated. Both accreditations offer assurances your data is in safe hands.

Of course, candour is extremely important in this regard. Background checks on employees are also commonplace which is another sure-fire way to ensure your data stays in safe hands.

In summary

There’s a general consensus on the right tools to use for cloud collaboration, and the risk factor is too high to accept anything less than the best. No matter the reason you’re investing in this technology, security must come first.

Don’t forget that your organisation’s image is reflected by its security credentials. Using a secure cloud collaboration platform, (in particular, one trusted by the most security-conscious organisations,) is the best message you can send to your stakeholders and customers. It shows you value their information, custom, and privacy, and gives a trust factor that’s central to a strong business relationship.

Next steps

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Are you currently assessing cloud collaboration tools? Want to use a platform built for securely sharing OFFICIAL information? Download our guide to discover how Kahootz’s cloud collaboration software meets the 14 Cloud Security Principles defined by the UK government.

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