Today, email is the primary means of business collaboration worldwide. Verifying the owner of an email address is a relatively simple task, and when an individual leaves an organisation, their email address is simply deactivated, which provides a reliable level of identity assurance and security.
But email (as well as other conventional forms of electronic communication like instant messaging and SMS) is in the process of being replaced or augmented by a multitude of other digital channels that pose new security threats to enterprise collaboration.
Companies cannot afford to stick their heads in the sand and ignore this trend. They must begin to formulate a social enterprise framework that provides security attributes similar to those of email, but which enable more dynamic and modern forms of collaboration.
But take note: Data loss prevention across these new communication and collaboration channels will only succeed if businesses think on a human-to-human scale, identifying and securing how their employees are actually communicating over social media channels, instead of attempting to change or impede that new reality.
Every CIO is beginning to grapple with the challenge of secure social collaboration, and a one-size-fits-all answer has yet to emerge. However, ensuring end-to-end visibility of all interactions across the extended enterprise network, and making sure IT departments observe and understand how employees, partners and customers communicate through social forums, will get us all headed in the right direction.