We’re living in an unusual time. Virtual meetings have become the majority rather than the minority of office interactions. The need to stay connected is warranted when most have moved from their cubicles and into remote workspaces with limited interactions from colleagues. Realistically, finding ways to communicate effectively without the dreaded multi-user email thread with various replies and no real way to keep everyone in sync is paramount for effective communication. Many organizations have had to make the shift quickly, and without much time to properly research what the best option for their team could be. The result is that they’re unknowingly opening their network up to security risks. Let’s take a look at three critical questions you should ask before signing up for a collaboration tool.

Businessman father talking to his family from the office

Is my meeting really private?

Video chat rooms have been a security concern for years. We’ve been telling our children to be cautious of who they’re chatting with and making sure we’re monitoring their contacts, but are we taking our advice? As adults, we assume that we’re responsible enough to know who we’re talking to and what we’re sharing. But what happens if we’re not sure who has access to our virtual meeting?

Some good questions to ask:

  • Can anyone outside my organization join my network of contacts?
  • Are there privacy settings that can be turned on or off to ensure that only those I want can see me.
  • Does the application allow for an administrator to manage users?

What user data can be shared with other platforms such as Facebook?

One major concern with apps is how much personal or user data they share with other platforms like Facebook. For instance, Zoom’s privacy policies indicate that although they don’t sell your data, their terms of service mandate the “passive collection of, personal data…which is then used for a variety of vaguely-described purposes by Zoom.” It’s a good idea to evaluate all the terms of service as well as privacy policies before signing up for a new service to properly safeguard your data.

Important privacy concerns to be aware of:

  • Is data shared with any third party application(s)?
  • Can I control what data is shared?
  • Can I opt-out of secondary data sharing?

What do my employees need to know about sharing information on 3rd party platforms?

You’ve taken the time to make sure you have policies and tools in place to enforce Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policies, but do those also extend to your collaboration tools? Educating your teams about what can and can’t be shared over unmonitored applications is paramount to maintaining security policies. Before launching a new collaboration tool, be sure to set clear boundaries for sharing information. Knowledge is power when it comes to keeping your data secure and keeping your employees informed of relevant policies is the best way to maintain protection.

Here are a few tips for your employees to keep in mind before sharing information:

  • Am I sharing intellectual property?
  • Is there the possibility someone can record and share the information discussed during my virtual meeting with others?
  • Are there policies in place to proactively report potential issues if I accidentally share something that may put my company at risk?

Luckily, we live in a digital age that makes connecting in a virtual world easy. There is a multitude of tools available to us to connect on our mobile devices, laptops and desktops. The challenge for modern businesses is being able to evaluate each tool’s ease of use with the ensuring that critical data is safe and we’re keeping our employees out of harm’s way. Stay tuned for additional information on how to evaluate collaboration tools to ensure your business’ critical data is secure.

3 Critical Security Questions to Ask About Collaboration Tools

For a downloadable list of our Three Critical Questions Ask About Collaboration Tools, click the button above. If you or your organization needs advice about how to choose the appropriate tool, feel free to contact Secure Data Technologies. Our collaboration experts are here to help you ask the right question to ensure you’re signing up for the right tool for your business.