When enterprises pursue cloud-based unified communication and collaboration (UCC) solutions, security protocol can take a backseat to things like timelines, change management and infrastructure concerns. But in 2019, it’s time for security and technology to go hand-in-hand.
While cloud-based UCC solutions make collaboration and streamlined operations both possible and easy, they often leave enterprise decision makers with unanswered questions regarding the security of their data. With little insight on which security questions to ask the provider, security becomes a second thought during pre-sales conversations. But this oversight is dangerous — if UCC security has moved to the bottom of a vendor’s list of priorities, the chance of a data breach is high.
A bit of research can help stakeholders overcome the majority of their UCC security concerns. Across the board, vendors are elevating their security standards and practices: from strategies designed to protect UCC networks to countermeasures that address UCC’s top vulnerabilities.
Five Questions to Ask UCC Vendors Before Purchase
For decision makers, research must be augmented with a strategic pre-purchase plan. When tasked with evaluating hosted UCC options and ensuring a sound investment, it’s important to ask vendors hard-hitting questions to determine their fitness as a strategic security partner.
- How do you secure my portion of the network?
In addition to following end-to-end security best practices to ensure a secure infrastructure and digital environment, top UCC vendors understand that the customer’s endpoint security is just as important as the provider’s. Because UCC solutions can live on different devices, there are likely technologies on the customer side (e.g., servers, tablets, iPads, etc.) that are left unprotected. Vendors can reduce the risk of infiltration by providing solutions and consulting services to help clients secure these portions of the network. Vendors may offer encryption, firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs) and Enterprise Session Border Controllers (ESBCs) as possible solutions.
- Do your security measures work successfully across all UCC technologies?
If a third of your users work via Skype, a third with Cisco solutions and the final third on an independent IP, you might worry that the various technology plans require disparate UCC security measures. Luckily, leading UCC solution providers cater to diverse end-user needs, with an understanding that these needs grow and evolve as more complex technologies emerge. The best providers layer security and compliance efforts on top of the entire range of UCC technologies to create a single system rather than relying on a piecemeal approach.
- Does your security program blend humans and machines?
Vendors should use a variety of tools to detect new vulnerabilities. But a blend of humans and machines offers clients the best possible security experience — one with the 24/7 capabilities of technology and the emotional responsiveness of humans.Technology alerts security teams when a problem is discovered and exploitable. The human team uses this information to provide instructions for fixing the problem, protecting clients from the vulnerability. Together, humans and machines collect security events from all the devices in a UCC infrastructure and determine whether security events present real or benign threats.
- Is your security center always learning?
It’s key that your vendor’s UCC security practices are engineered to learn and evolve. Technology moves fast and without a system built to keep up, UCC security is vulnerable. Top vendors can correlate and assess security trends to better prepare for similar threats over time.UCC solutions backed by the power of artificial intelligence (AI) have an even greater learning advantage. AI-powered systems allow customers to benefit from a UCC vendor’s entire roster of customers — plus those of their competitors. This connectivity builds a massive data pool with powerful insights and intelligence. The system can then share these insights so all customers benefit from the learning process.
- Is your security compliant?
Compliance is the cherry on top of the security cake, and an area where UCC vendors can tangibly demonstrate their commitment to serving as a trusted, long-term partner. Top vendors offer guidelines for compliance considerations with a global mindset, acting as experts on major regulations like the GDPR and HIPAA. They should also be able to tailor their compliance efforts and strategies to your specific vertical.Along with tailored compliance, your vendor should offer explanations for how they monitor and handle compliance penalties. It should also be clear how they plan to achieve a formal compliance framework and receive approval from important regulatory bodies.
UCC technology is evolving, but unfortunately, so are security threats. To ensure the continued security of your UCC solutions, you need a relationship of transparency and trust with your UCC vendor. By bringing a set of meaningful questions to the table, you can be sure that your concerns are heard and acted on — well before the technology is deployed.