Mitigating Compliance Risks Associated With Collaboration Tools

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Mitigating Compliance Risks Associated With Collaboration Tools

The work stream collaboration market is rapidly evolving, and business leaders are paying attention. But with tools such as Yammer, Microsoft Teams, Workplace by Facebook, and Slack, businesses need to manage legal risk while remaining compliant with industry regulations such as GDPR and HIPAA.

With a majority of the workforce opting to work remotely, there have been stories almost daily of the unique aspects of life in the virtual world. Coping with Zoom fatigue and meeting overload, the challenge in staying connected to colleagues, and the dizzying array of new cyber security challenges spawned during the global pandemic.

As per a recent Conference Board survey, 88% of enterprises are now willing to hire remote workers. Compared to the pre-pandemic rate of 52%, it reveals a meaningful change in the modern office environment. The increasing reliance on collaboration tools has led to increased scrutiny of their security and privacy as headlines buzz with instances of insecure and inappropriate use of collaboration tools.

Risks Associated with Collaboration Tools

Data Overexposure: 

The chats and files exchanged by employees in collaboration platforms are often saved forever by default, as a result of which all of this data is vulnerable to a cyber-attack. Users have a habit of downloading certain types of files, which violate privacy laws, which can raise compliance issues.

Read More: Do vulnerability management measures have a data problem?

Businesses need to choose their cloud providers after assessing their level of data and system security and also check whether the provider is compliant. Second, companies need to ensure employees have the tools they need to work with company data safely. Moreover, adding security measures to reduce data exposure and monitoring user activity for suspicious behavior like spikes in downloads or unusual data access patterns, is crucial.

Employee Negligence:

Employee negligence is one of the reasons for a majority of all insider breaches. For instance, practices like unauthorized data sharing – exchanging passwords or confidential data via cloud collaboration tools to expedite their work, increase the risk of data compromise. This is specially so if someone accidentally posts business-critical information on a public platform, where companies cannot control how many users see and copy it.

Therefore, companies need to make it as easy as possible for employees to access the corporate resources they need to do their jobs. It is also essential for companies to conduct regular training sessions to familiarize users with basic security practices.

Insecure Personal Devices:

With remote working, security teams have little or no control when employees use their laptops. Even a single unpatched or infected device can jeopardize the data and the business.

Companies should implement BYOD best practices that strike the right balance for their organization. Depending on their risk tolerance and other requirements, they can recommend specific practices, such as regular software patches and operating system updates.

Read More: The Disconnect between IT and Employees Are Affecting Remote Productivity

Privacy is the Top Priority:

Many companies turn to technologies that use machine learning and artificial intelligence to detect sharing of sensitive documents, personally identifiable information, applications, and other privacy risks across the audio, video, and chat components of collaboration tools. Given that potential fines under the GDPR can reach around 4% of global revenue, understanding and mitigating privacy risks must be a crucial pillar of any remote work strategy.