CIO’s Guide to Collaboration: Deliver a Consistent UX Without Sacrificing Security

The modern business takes place on all kinds of devices, among users who need to securely connect and innovate from a hotel room as easily as from an office. But many enterprises have hesitated to adopt collaboration solutions, as security concerns linger, as do suboptimal user experiences. This white paper explores a recent IDG and CBTS survey that reveals what IT leaders want to achieve with collaboration technology, what challenges they face, and how they can solve those issues.

CIO’s Guide to Collaboration: Deliver a Consistent UX Without Sacrificing Security
CIO’s Guide to Collaboration: Deliver a Consistent UX Without Sacrificing Security

Content Summary

Security is always top of mind
Balancing security with business needs
A comprehensive solution to collaboration concerns

Modern business happens everywhere, on all kinds of devices, among users who need to securely connect and innovate from home or a hotel room as easily as they do from an office.

But many enterprises have hesitated to adopt collaboration solutions, or tools that support teamwork, productivity, webinars, and training. For this white paper, collaboration tools refer to secure meeting spaces with mobility functionality offering integrated voice, video, messaging, and content sharing. Concerns about the security of shared data linger, as do suboptimal user experiences. Most users (and execs alike) have experienced the 15-minute delays in a meeting for technology set-up and technology functionality that is far from perfect.

Without collaboration solutions, however, companies struggle to keep far-flung teams aligned and moving forward — and 50% of senior executives don’t believe leadership is doing enough to make innovation happen, according to a study from PA Consulting Group.

This article explores a recent IDG and CBTS survey that reveals what IT leaders want to achieve with collaboration technology and what challenges and concerns they face in implementing that technology. It also explores how IT decision-makers (ITDMs) can address those problems to deliver a consistent, satisfying user experience without sacrificing security and regulatory compliance.

Security is always top of mind

IT leaders expect collaboration tools to provide users with greater flexibility in the types of content they can share and more options for providing feedback and maintaining post-meeting momentum, according to the IDG and CBTS survey. At the same time, though, respondents expect solutions that also protect access to the meetings themselves and the content shared within them.

The survey results frequently circle back to data security as a fundamental aspect of collaboration. In an environment where remote and mobile work is mandatory and IT is responsible for complying with increasing regulatory pressures, more than half (51%) emphasize the need to improve the security of collaboration tools, recognizing that securing shared information is a goal in its own right. Forty-nine percent also acknowledge that the ability to enhance efficiency, effectiveness and innovation without sacrificing security is a top priority and key to increasing user satisfaction with collaboration solutions.

“In an environment where people are using their own devices for work purposes and taking corporate devices out of the corporate environment, the best solution is a comprehensive, secure collaborative solution that’s packed with features and capable of integrating with almost everything so users don’t turn to potentially vulnerable third-party applications,” says David Absalom, Senior Director Solution Design at CBTS, a leading technology provider to enterprise and midmarket clients in all industries across the United States and Canada.

For all these companies, agencies, and Cisco Master Service providers, security is a fundamental concern, according to the Webex Security White Paper released by Cisco earlier this year. “Online collaboration must provide multiple levels of security for tasks that range from scheduling meetings to authenticating participants to sharing documents. Cisco makes security the top priority in the design, development, deployment, and maintenance of its networks, platforms, and applications.”

Other goals include improving users’ flexibility and work/life balance (38%), reducing information silos (35%), and enabling innovation (30%).

Top goals of IT executives planning to use collaboration technology
Top goals of IT executives planning to use collaboration technology

Although only 30% of respondents cite innovation as a specific reason for deploying collaboration technology, many more say such technology is important to fuel innovation. Nearly half (48%) mention that collaborative technology lets users react to ideas and images as well as documents, and an equal number cite its ability to move projects forward with a clear picture of the next steps. Other ways that collaboration technology drives innovation:

  • 44%: Ability to capture data and knowledge for continuity
  • 44%: Capacity to provide updates on work progress and key milestones
  • 35%: Ability to improve accessibility of previously siloed files and data
  • 32%: Speed and ease in bringing together dispersed teams.

Balancing security with business needs

As a Cisco Master Webex Service Provider, CBTS is frequently called in to meet clients in highly regulated industries struggling to drive innovation with their IT solutions while also meeting high security and compliance requirements.

The IDG survey backs this premise, with IT leaders urgently seeking security tools and processes that protect data while still seamlessly allowing collaboration with that data. Half (49%) of the survey respondents complained about time wasted in setting up meetings. Others irritants include the inability to connect and share across teams (46%), low mobile compatibility (42%), functionality limitations (42%), and lost data (41%).

In addition, while nearly half of respondents worry about the integration issues, cost, and scalability involved in deploying collaboration solutions, 59% are focused on security concerns. Indeed, 51% say they would be more likely to adopt collaboration technology if security were better.

Other features that IT leaders want in their collaboration solutions include consistent experience across devices (45%), ability to reduce complexity by consolidating technologies (40%), easy connections across locations (38%), and readily available training and support (38%).

A comprehensive solution to collaboration concerns

An in-house IT team that’s overburdened by the need to satisfy security worries while encouraging innovation through digital collaboration should consider turning to a technology partner. With a partner’s expertise, IT leaders can seamlessly combine security and functionality at any scale to ensure a consistent, reliable experience across locations and devices.

The right partner will help select the best solution to standardize on, understand how it impacts other parts of the IT infrastructure, and make the appropriate adjustments and integrations to protect quality of service and security. A quality technology partner will further optimize performance by offering training and support to both IT staff and end-users.

Source: CBTS