Zeus Kerravala
Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his...
Read Full Bio >>

Zeus Kerravala | October 09, 2018 |


Symphony Adds Native DLP to Team Collaboration

Symphony Adds Native DLP to Team Collaboration The industry has changed, and with that change comes a new security paradigm for communications.

The industry has changed, and with that change comes a new security paradigm for communications.

Security is something the communications industry historically has never taken all that seriously. Some might argue with this statement, but the fact is, the communications industry didn't need to take it seriously until more recently. In the old way, almost all communications tools were deployed on premises and most systems were meant to only talk to people within our own organizations, which most believe to be a secure environment. The only communications tool that was used broadly to communicate with people outside the company was voice, but the PSTN was a closed network. Even with IP telephony, companies would "VoIP" within their corporate walls and then hit the PSTN for external calls.

Today, things are different. Communications tools have moved to the cloud and businesses use the Internet for connectivity. Also, some of the newer kinds of communications tools, such as team collaboration apps, enable workers to collaborate more easily with people external to their company. The old way was to have internal-facing apps on a closed network. Now we have external-facing apps on a public network, and this changes the security paradigm for communications.

Symphony Communications is a team collaboration vendor that has made security a core differentiator. It did this out of necessity as its primary focus is the financial services, insurance, professional services, and other critical and vital industries with strict security and regulatory compliance mandates. This week, it announced it has added native data loss prevention (DLP) to its product to help its customers protect against data leakage and fraud.

Symphony's product includes native DLP that provides real-time scanning of file attachments and other metadata. Through a dashboard or through APIs, customers can define and manage policies at a company or individual level. This is complementary to the current rich set of administrative, security, and compliance capabilities built into its product. The addition of DLP gives employees, business leaders, and risk officers confidence that sensitive information isn't being leaked outside the company walls.

To understand how DLP might protect an organization better, consider the example of a set of executives working on multiple documents -- some marked confidential and others that are fine for public consumption. A marketing person wants to take one of the public-facing documents, perhaps a press release, and send it to a reporter. However, they accidently try and send one of the confidential docs. Most systems would just send it, but Symphony's would see it was confidential and block the transmission.


DLP as a Competitive Differentiator
I believe the integrated and native DLP is currently unique to Symphony. Cisco, the only other team collaboration vendor that talks up security, has DLP capabilities but that's done by having the Webex Events API poll for events and content which then need to be integrated with an external DLP system. This approach works but does require integration of platforms.

Slack also has DLP, but that's done via a third-party vendor, It's my understanding that Watchtower currently isn't real-time DLP (that capability is coming in the future). Also, because customer data is sent between cloud providers, Slack has no control over whether Watchtower decrypts the data in the cloud. Symphony has talked up the importance of end-to-end security and provides a great example of how an integrated solution can deliver end to end, where the use of a third-party vendor could break that.

In fact, I recently attended an event where renowned hacker Kevin Mitnick was speaking, and he was asked what he feels is the biggest security risk facing companies today. His response? Cloud federation. It's great that Slack has a large list of partners for security, but each time the data is sent to another cloud provider control is lost and security is compromised.

Microsoft recently announced native DLP for its Teams product, but said DLP would come in a future release. No firm time table was given. Although Slack beat Microsoft to market with the feature, I believe the native approach makes more sense long term.

Symphony's end-to-end encryption model with native DLP is ideally suited for companies that are using team collaboration to share sensitive or confidential information. But the range of cyber threats continues to explode and all businesses should be careful when using a collaboration platform that has security as an afterthought. This might have been sufficient in the past, but it certainly isn't now.

Follow Zeus Kerravala on Twitter!

Related content:


October 24, 2018

With disparate workplaces and ever-expanding volumes of information to manage, the challenges for collaborating effectively are only intensifying. Many critical applications are not integrated, and

October 10, 2018

Businesses are growing across international borders quicker than ever, but scaling operations to follow suit can be a harder, longer process.

This webinar focuses on scaling your next-generat

September 26, 2018

Join Kevin Kieller, Microsoft UC&C expert, along with Ribbon Communications and Polycom, for an update on Microsoft Ignite, and a focus on critical things you need to know about your voice deployme

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.