Three options for unified collaboration with business partners

July 26, 2021

Companies are enjoying new levels of productivity, quicker decision-making, and savings on travel expenses with the wide range of tools available for unified collaboration.

The challenge that remains for collaboration-focused companies is how to pull their other business partners into the mix. When a project includes contributions from providers, contractors, and consultants, business collaboration requires safe options that bring in the same time- and cost-saving benefits companies experience in-house.

There are a few ways that organizations can address these opportunities for streamlined productivity with unified collaboration approaches:

Guest Accounts: Some businesses solve collaboration frustrations with a simple guest account. They set up these limited permissions in their collaboration platform with guests clearly identified.

The challenge with this solution is that when an individual leaves the organization they work for, they may retain that guest account and the company may have some risk if they aren’t aware that a person’s employment status has changed.

Guest accounts also require the company to be proactive about preventing data loss to a guest, as well as monitoring what employees are doing in other channels that may be compromising data or systems.

Federated Accounts and Channels: These options allow for unified collaboration through special accounts or channels set up for specific permissions and access to resources. Administrators can determine which users have access to specific projects and prevent particular employees from viewing information.

Many organizations prefer this approach to business collaboration because it offers the highest level of control. Companies can determine what is shared in each channel and maintain control over encryption in the case of a security breach or threat. This approach tends to yield the best results in terms of productivity improvements and cost savings.

Third-Party Federated Accounts: A third-party approach is helpful when different organizations are utilizing different collaboration tools. Each of the above two options is limited to companies that are both using the same platform.

With third-party federated accounts, companies continue to use their respective platforms, and the third party provides messaging tools and other features that allow for streamlining communications.

The drawback with third-party federated accounts is that there may be limitations for using voice and video. In addition, the companies involved may increase their vulnerability because a third-party provider will interrupt encryption protecting data and systems.

There are tools emerging that are designed for business collaboration across organizations, offering shared workspaces, file sharing, and meeting capabilities. Companies not ready to invest in this type of tool could also use virtual whiteboards as a stepping stone to a more comprehensive collaboration approach.

The critical piece for most organizations is for IT to be proactive in developing a plan for equipping projects with unified collaboration tools that fit their security policies. Otherwise, employees will choose the most user-friendly and convenient solution, which may create new vulnerabilities across your security plane.If you’re considering solutions for unified collaboration between your organization and your business partners, contact us at Access Tech. We can help you determine the technology you need to meet your needs, protect your organization, and fit your budget.

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