If you weren’t using collaboration platforms very much before the coronavirus pandemic hit, chances are you are now.
As organizations around the world shuttered their offices to help reduce the spread of the virus, the need for remote-working technology soared. Collaboration platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams and Zoom were suddenly thrust into the spotlight. Video conferencing provider Zoom saw its peak daily user count jump in April to a staggering 300 million, up from just 10 million in December 2019, as businesses flocked to platforms that enabled staff to maintain visual interaction with co-workers—even if it sometimes meant a procession of dogs, kids and partners stumbling into view in the background.
Yet while COVID-19 has accelerated the use of collaboration tools, it is unlikely to be a temporary phenomenon that fizzles out as the impact of the pandemic recedes. McKinsey data shows that collaboration technology can increase productivity by 20-30%. A ClearCompany study also showed that it can decrease employee turnover by half. Remote working is also likely to become a more prominent feature of working life as businesses realize they don’t need – or are unable to accommodate – all their staff in the office every day.
That means the volume and type of data being sent across collaboration platforms is only going to keep rising—increasing corporate eComms risk. For starters, organizations typically use multiple platforms, so eComms content isn’t just being stored in one neat archive, it’s ending up spread across multiple data silos—and often in different formats. That makes it difficult to retrieve, but also difficult to monitor.
As collaboration platforms become increasingly integrated into workflow processes, so employees can perform their jobs more effectively while working from home, organizations are leaving themselves exposed to an eComms blind spot. Staff are able to freely send messages and work-related documents outside of usual communications channels, meaning companies generally have no idea of what is actually being shared across these platforms.
For business leaders, that should be setting alarm bells ringing. Take HR investigations. With growing concerns around the cost of workplace discrimination and harassment suits, collaboration tools could allow such behavior to carry on unchecked. And even once the data is retrieved and converted into a readable format, there is no guarantee the relevant material will still be there. Some platforms limit the amount of data that can be retained depending on the type of service plan being used. Others allow users to delete and edit content—creating risks of spoliation.
When you add into the mix the rise of insider threats, legal and eDiscovery challenges, and tougher data privacy regulations, companies need to urgently review their information governance practices and ensure they are fit for purpose amid the shift to remote working and the growth of online collaboration platforms.
In these complex and changing times, getting on top of your eComms risk is crucial. Want to find out how to protect your business?
Join our webinar Collaboration Platforms: How to Reduce Risk and Accelerate eDiscovery to learn:
- The key steps your business should take to reduce the risk from using collaboration platforms
- How to reap the rewards of collaboration without compromising eDiscovery and compliance
- What has changed in the way we communicate to make information governance more challenging—and why those trends are unlikely to go away
- The challenges of collaborative working, the exposure for your firm—and how to avoid it
- What to look for when considering solutions to mitigate your e-communications risk
Make sure your firm has the right information governance policies in place to counter the rise of collaboration platforms. Watch the webinar here.