Is Secure Enterprise Collaboration a Holy Grail?

It seems that all organizations need the Holy Grail for enterprise data sharing: The elusive Holy Grail of secure, user-friendly enterprise collaboration.

25 October 2014


It’s abundantly clear that many information technology execs are desperately trying to focus on enabling secure document collaboration. They also want the ultimate Holy Grail: A real world collaboration tool that end users can easily adopt. This Holy Grail would also provide the security and compliance that today’s highly regulated businesses require.

As evidence for this growing demand, I can cite my own experience. I recently returned from the Gartner Symposium in Orlando. The event drew nearly 8,500 attendees, and everyone, it appeared, roamed the exhibition halls, looking at every aspect of the enterprise IT environment.

Collaboration Solutions Drawing Growing Interest

Naturally, there was some heavy attendee traffic at the Gartner collaboration solutions display area. As customers and prospects viewed demos and asked questions, some common themes emerged. The attendees noted how they are facing similar issues — ones that cut across all organizations, regardless of company size, vertical, or the level of regulatory control they faced.

But to summarize: It seems what they all really need is the Holy Grail for enterprise data sharing. Now, for those of you die-hard Monty Python fans who may have clicked on this article mistakenly, I apologize. Because I’m not referring to a comedy movie, but something that couldn’t be more important to the virtual enterprise of today: The Elusive Holy Grail of secure, but user-friendly, collaboration.

A Common Set of Needs for Collaboration

The Gartner attendees brought up similar issues — the things blocking successful collaboration. The challenges include:

  1. Having to run multiple data sharing solutions. The vast majority of attendees are already running two solutions in parallel. In some extreme cases, attendees are supporting 11 file sharing and collaboration tools. Imagine the license and management cost associated with this ...
  2. The freemium collaboration solutions lack embedded security. Most attendees knew that even consumer-grade products do not have security capabilities bundled into their solutions. This is causing a significant risk to the organization.
  3. The contest of usability vs. security. If the solution is useable, it won’t be secure, attendees felt. They believe there is a tradeoff between usability and security and that you can’t get both simultaneously. Consumer-grade products do not have the protection required by corporate IT to meet their security and risk requirements. On the other hand, many people indicated dissatisfaction with some of the more “secure” products that tout security, but are hard to configure and deploy, thus blocking smooth end user adoption.
  4. There is no turnkey solution alternative. Most organizations are seeking a secure enterprise collaboration tool that will allow them to consolidate and replace their vast array of existing tools. That is the Holy Grail.

There is Hope for Enterprise Data Sharing

So, does the Holy Grail exist? Well, that depends on what your vision of this looks like. No two companies are ever going to be exactly alike in their demands for security and collaboration.

However, today, there are some interesting and emerging technologies that can bring us a step closer to something approximating the elusive prize. We can start to approach the implementation of a user friendly and secure enterprise collaboration platform. This is one that can meet the needs of the business end user — while providing the CIO and CISO with the tools and audit capabilities needed to prevent data leakage from the organization.

I will have more on this in my next blog. Stay tuned ...

Daren Glenister

Daren Glenister

Daren Glenister is the Field CTO for Intralinks. In his role, he acts as a customer advocate, working with enterprise organizations to evangelize data collaboration solutions and translate customer business challenges into product requirements, helping to steer Intralinks’ product road map and the evolving secure collaboration market. Daren brings over 20 years of industry experience and leadership in security, compliance, secure collaboration and enterprise software having worked with many of the Fortune 1000 companies helping to turn business challenges into real world solutions.

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