Is online collaboration safe? (+3 habits that cause security breaches)
This blogpost will discuss if online collaboration is safe. We will be explaining what online collaboration actually is and how it can help business organizations. We shall also be discussing the different risks of using online collaboration software and the various habits that can lead to security breaches. Online collaboration is increasingly necessary as organizations are becoming globalized and teams are working from different geographical locations.
Is online collaboration safe?
Yes, online collaboration can be extremely safe if the right tool is being used. While selecting a tool for online collaboration in an organization, management should not only check if the tool is easy to use but also if it is secure.
Since organizations deal with a lot of sensitive information that needs to be confidential, using collaboration tools that have strong security features is a must. Many tools offer great security through data encryption, strong firewalls, two-step authentications, etc. It is also important that the provider has been correctly tested and certified for authenticity and quality.
What is online collaboration?
Online collaboration basically refers to the digital tools and technologies that team members use to collaborate with each other. Through online collaboration, teams can communicate and interact with each other despite working from various locations. Team members can also use these collaboration tools to share files and documents with each other.
Online collaboration tools can also be used for project management as well. Through these tools, tasks can be assigned easily and progress can be tracked in a better manner. This promotes accountability and responsibility among the team members. It also allows better sharing and management of information.
How can online collaboration benefit organizations?
Online collaboration can greatly benefit organizations that are widely globalized or are planning to go global. It has become extremely important especially in the post-covid era where remote working is gaining mass popularity. This can benefit not only employees in the organization but also the clientele of the company.
Collaboration tools can allow employees to access their work from anywhere at any time, thus promoting better work-life balance. It also allows organizations to cut back on costs related to collaboration, which otherwise might be high when physically organized in real-time. Online collaboration thus allows organizations to improve their workflows and their productivity levels.
Risks of using online collaboration software
As everything else, online collaboration also poses a few risks. This happens when the right tool providing apt features is not used. A few of the risks of using online collaboration software are explained below:
Risks of access
Since an online collaboration tool usually has a large number of individuals working on it, there is always a risk of someone accessing information they are not supposed to. Several teams in organizations might work on confidential projects. These, if accessed, can be dangerous to the integrity of the organization.
To counter this, organizations need to implement collaboration tools which have features for control of access. In this manner, the management can regulate who can have access to what. It also should be auditable to know what information has been shared or downloaded.
IT downtime problems
IT downtime can occur on any day in an organization. Even though most organizations have a strong IT department which protects against technical issues and sudden outages, there is still always a risk of downtime. Downtime can lead to information being lost and time being wasted, translating into deadlines being missed and the organization facing losses in business.
In order to avoid downtimes or reduce the losses caused by IT downtimes, organizations need to have a collaboration tool which has a service level agreement. Having such an agreement can lead to a smooth collaboration service that is highly-available for the organization.
Organizations always fear security risks when using any digital or online tool. Cybersecurity concerns have been growing with the advent of cloud technology and online collaboration. Business organizations deal with a lot of confidential data, which if leaked can be dangerous for their business and can also compromise the safety of the clientele.
To reduce security risks, it is important that the online collaboration tools being used are secure enough to protect valuable data. Finding a tool that has the right certification can be useful for this. Security levels can also be strengthened through tools that have a stable firewall and use data encryption.
Choosing a tool that is not suitable for the organization is the biggest mistake an organization can do. When the tool does not have the right features, organizations can get more tools in order to get the job done. Thus, it can lead to a collaboration overload leading to a drop in productivity. Also, if the tool is not user-friendly, employees might not use it efficiently or not use it at all.
Before introducing an online collaboration tool to the organization, the management has to carefully consider the needs of both the company as well as the employees. They should also select a tool that can be easy to learn and easier to use. Once the tool has been selected, the management should ensure that the right training is provided to avoid mistakes or errors.
Habits that can lead to security breaches
Since cybersecurity is really important, organizations are using online collaboration tools with strong security features and more versatility. However, some collaboration habits can lead to dangerous security breaches. A few of these risky habits are:
Employees incorrectly using the tool
When employees are not trained sufficiently, they might not use the online collaboration tool properly. This might also happen if the employees do not see the value of such a tool in the organization. When workers make errors, it can lead to security breaches. They might share passwords or even share sensitive information openly.
In order to prevent such mishaps, proper training has to be provided for all the employees. Choosing a tool that is user-friendly and easy to use can also reduce the occurrence of errors. Training should not only be conducted when the tool is being introduced. Instead, regular meetings for feedback and suggestions should also be conducted.
Personal instead of company devices
Many organizations provide employees with company devices such as computers, tablets or smartphones. These devices usually have restricted access and high security features. However, when employees use their own devices to access company information, it can be a great security risk for the organization.
For this, companies need to ensure all the employees use company devices and not their personal ones to access online workspaces. A knowledgeable IT department that check for unusual or susceptible activity can drastically reduce the risks of security breaches in an organization.
Amplifying data exposure
When there is overexposure of data, there is always a higher security risk. This happens when employees download files or share it on their personal devices. This can create a vulnerable situation where confidential data is laying overexposed.
This can be corrected by choosing the right cloud provider who meets the right quality standards. Ensuring that employees are provided with the right tools and the correct devices can also reduce the risk of security breaches.
Weak security features
Some online collaboration tools may have all the right features for communication and collaboration. But at the same time, they might lack strong and stable security features. This happens when unsanctioned tools are being used in organizations.
Thus, organizations need to invest in the right collaboration tool that provides both versatile features as well as strong security. This will allow the company to have a smoother work flow even while many of the employees are working remotely.
This blogpost has discussed if online collaboration is safe. We have also explained what online collaboration actually is and how it can help business organizations. We have additionally discussed the different risks of using online collaboration software and the various habits that can lead to security breaches.
Frequently asked questions: (Is online collaboration safe?)
How can online collaboration help businesses?
Business organizations are increasingly using online collaboration tools as they provide a variety of benefits. These benefits are advantageous to both the company as well as the employees. Online collaboration can help businesses by:
Increasing business profits
Online collaboration tools are attractive to organizations as they help in increasing business profits. This happens mainly because online collaboration reduces many other costs of the company. Through online collaboration, employees can retrieve information faster and share it quicker with others.
Online collaboration tools also promote efficient communication and interaction between the employees. It also allows better communication between different levels. Since virtual meetings can be conducted through these tools, money spent on in-person meetings can be cut back almost all the way.
Increasing productivity levels
Online collaboration tools also help in boosting productivity levels among employees. With the help of these tools, employees can reduce the time spent on needless admin tasks. It can also cut down the time spent on searching for files and retrieving information. In this manner, less company-time is wasted and can help employees complete other tasks on time.
Online collaboration can also help in improving the communication between the employees. It can be highly useful in time management and scheduling appointments, further improving the use of time.
Online collaboration tools improve employee satisfaction levels. As it reduces the workload for employees, they can manage their tasks more efficiently. They can also give more concentration to tasks that matter, allowing the tool to reduce needless wastage of time. Online collaboration tools also promote remote working as the workspace can be accessed from anywhere.
Providing great security
These tools provide great security features that can control the accessibility and sharing of information. They also prevent security risks due to breaches. When the security of the data is being handled by a SaaS provider, the organization can worry less about safety and focus on other worthy chores.
Cybersecurity is highly safe these days as most providers keep updating their services, giving you the latest version. They continually survey for any unusual activity and always have sufficient backups in the case of outages.
What circumstances can lead to online collaboration?
Online collaboration can only happen when there is:
- Respect and understanding of diversity
- Open-mindedness among the team members
- A positive and supportive environment
- Accountability shown by all the members
- Transparency and honesty
- Effective communication
- Quick conflict resolution
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