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A Quick Guide to Building a Secure Communications and Collaboration Plan

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Organizational workflows depend on synchronous communication tools that connect your entire workforce regardless of geographic location. A secure communications and collaboration plan helps align your people, processes, and technologies across the business.

Rapid changes to the operational structures in almost every organization continue to put security teams under immense pressure. Instead of depending on an ad-hoc approach to secure communications and collaboration, a unified communication strategy and framework can protect your business data while enabling teams to be productive from anywhere.

In this blog, you’ll learn how to build a secure communications and collaboration plan that supports your business without compromising on data security.

What is a Secure Communications and Collaboration Plan?

Secure communications and collaboration solutions are now commonly referred to as unified communications (UC) and available as a service (UCaaS). This includes teleconferencing, direct messaging, email, video, and any other communication technologies that you use to facilitate your daily operations – both inside the organization and from external parties.

By creating a plan for your UC environment, you can identify risks and implement the required controls to secure your data. Due to the changing nature of how most organizations now conduct operations, evaluating the technologies and infrastructure requirements should include the following considerations:

  • Improving existing processes without compromising security
  • Boosting productivity by limiting disruption or adding additional overheads
  • Enhancing organizational agility and inter-team efficiency
  • Streamlining all IT operations while identifying ways to reduce costs

5 Steps to Building a Secure Communications and Collaboration Plan

Building a secure communications plan that enables collaboration across the organization requires a blend of voice, video, messaging, and chat solutions. You’ll also need secure file sharing, mobile access, and line of business (LOB) application integration. Below, we’ll discuss a five-step process to build your plan and implementation strategy.

1. Determine Your Communication and Collaboration Requirements

Start by mapping out your communication and collaboration requirements for all your departments. While you may want to roll out a solution across the entire organization, not everyone’s needs will be the same, and this may influence the cost. Consider what features each team needs and ensure your IT resources participate in the requirements solicitation phase.

You’ll also need to consider any external access requirements for vendors, partners, or customers. Once you have a clear picture of your organization’s exact requirements, you can determine what features and capabilities you’ll need.

2. Identify Any Potential Risks and Challenges

Your plan should include all the potential risks and challenges that a new system will bring into your environment. Identify any impacts your solutions will have on legacy systems and applications, deployment models, and information security processes.

Use these risks and challenges to update your requirements, including interoperability, remote access, encryption, bandwidth, and service levels or uptime. Include considerations regarding the cost, if your teams will require training, and whether you’ll be able to handle the implementation yourself or require outside experts to assist.

3. Evaluate Potential Vendors According to Your Requirements

This is a vital step in your process, as any vendors that you select will likely become essential to your business operations. Once you understand your requirements, you should rank potential vendors according to their ability to meet your needs.

These head-to-head comparisons should include:

  • A complete list of all features and functions available
  • Any limitations, shortcomings, or negative customer reviews
  • Ease of use and interoperability
  • Security, compliance, and support
  • The cost of the service or solution (for licensing, support, and implementation)

4. Prioritize Information and Data Security

As you identify different solutions that will serve your needs, it’s important to revisit the information and data security requirements often. Whether you opt for an on-premises or cloud deployment, you’ll need a future-proof solution that will evolve with emerging cybersecurity threats.

Everything from the configuration of the system to the archival process and continuity tools available can affect your business operations in the future. Look for a solution that includes encryption of all your data both in transit and at rest. Evaluate tools according to your current security policies and identify any areas where a new communication solution could compromise your network.

5. Implement, Integrate, and Monitor

Finally, you can plan the implementation and start integrating your solution. A phased approach will limit any risks, while you can pilot the system within departments to iron any issues before starting a complete rollout.

You’ll want to monitor performance across your network to identify issues regarding latency, integration, redundancy, and vendor support.

Secure Business Communications and Collaboration with Wickr

Wickr has a suite of secure communications and collaboration tools that can improve your productivity while ensuring privacy with end-to-end encryption. The zero-trust platform design keeps your communication data safe even in the event of a breach, as your information remains undecipherable with 256-bit cryptographic encryption. You can deploy Wickr according to your needs, and the advanced collaboration capabilities will keep your teams connected without compromising data security.

If you need a secure communications and collaboration solution that will protect your organization’s information at all times, get in touch with Wickr today.

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