Top enterprise-grade features of secure collaboration tools

Top enterprise-grade features of secure collaboration tools

Your team relies on collaboration tools to work together and complete projects faster. However, the very tools that enable teamwork introduce risks if not properly secured. 

About three out of four breaches involve the human element, whether it’s an error, misuse, or falling victim to social engineering attacks. While cybersecurity awareness and training are crucial, you can’t rely exclusively on people to mitigate risk. You also need collaboration tools with enterprise-grade security. Implementing automated safeguards provides a necessary safety net to protect your content. 

Secure collaboration tools definition

How to choose your secure collaboration software 

Effective team collaboration involves sharing information and files with others to ensure everyone stays aligned on project goals and tasks. However, unauthorized parties might gain access to your system and data if you don’t have strong security controls in place. 

When selecting secure online collaboration tools for your enterprise, make sure they include these 11 features and capabilities.

1. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) 

MFA enhances security by requiring you to provide multiple forms of verification before accessing accounts or sensitive information. According to this Microsoft Digital Defense Report, MFA reduces the risk of account compromise by 99.2%. 

With MFA, even if login credentials are compromised, attackers would have to provide a code generated through an authenticator app, received via text message, or obtained from a physical token. In some cases, the extra layer of protection involves biometric authentication (such as fingerprint or facial recognition). 

Multi-factor authentication statistics

2. Single sign-on (SSO) 

Only 25% of respondents to a Keeper’s survey said they use strong, unique passwords for all of their accounts. That’s concerning, because poor password hygiene is a leading cause of breaches. 

SSO helps to mitigate the risk of password-related breaches because you don’t have to remember multiple passwords. You can instead access multiple applications with just one set of login credentials, streamlining the authentication process and enhancing security. 

3. AES 256-bit encryption at rest and in transit 

Considered virtually impenetrable, AES 256-bit encryption provides a high level of security by encrypting data with a 256-bit key. This capability makes it exceedingly difficult for unauthorized parties to decipher your data. Equally important is the encryption of data both when stored (at rest) and when transmitted between devices or servers (in transit). 

4. Role-based access control (RBAC) and permissioning 

RBAC defines permissions based on predefined roles within your organization, ensuring that users may only access the resources necessary for their tasks. This way, you limit the exposure of sensitive information and reduce the risk of unauthorized access or data breaches. 

Permissioning is particularly useful when sharing files with coworkers. You set controls determining what people can do with your documents (for example, limiting the ability to edit or download them). And advanced secure collaboration features also allow you to create expiration dates on shared files and enable optional password protection — an extra layer of security. 

By implementing RBAC and permissioning roles within your secure enterprise collaboration tools, you enable seamless teamwork while maintaining control over access to sensitive information. 

5. Device trust 

You can set granular ownership or security requirements for devices (managed and personal). Your company may require, for example, all devices accessing its network to have a passcode, certificate or checks for disk encryption, and anti-virus protection. 

6. IP allowlisting 

Secure collaboration tools that enable IP allowlisting restrict access to a system, network, or application based on a predefined list of approved IP addresses. You specify which IP addresses are allowed to access the system while blocking all others. This approach is the opposite of an IP blocklist, which denies access to specified IP addresses. 

7. Version control and auditing 

With document version control, you can manage and track changes made to your content over time. This feature allows for easy comparison between different versions and the ability to revert to previous states if needed. You can prevent unauthorized alterations or tampering, safeguarding the accuracy and reliability of critical information. 

And with auditing, you get a detailed record of user activities, such as who accessed or modified a document and when, aiding in compliance efforts and identifying potential security breaches. 

8. Data governance 

A 2024 survey with data leaders revealed that 88% of respondents consider data security and compliance a high priority, ahead of AI. Effective data governance ensures data quality, integrity, security, and compliance by governing how data is stored, managed, retained, and protected throughout its lifecycle. 

With an enterprise-grade solution, you can apply predefined rules to data stored in your collaboration platform or enterprise system. For example: 

  • Retention policies define rules for managing the data lifecycle, specifying how long information should be retained and when it should be deleted 
  • Legal holds are directives to preserve data relevant to legal proceedings or investigations, preventing its deletion even if it falls within the scope of a retention policy 
  • Data residency refers to the requirement that data must be stored in specific geographic locations or jurisdictions to comply with local regulations or contractual agreements 

A multinational financial institution, for example, might have to retain customer transaction records for one year, storing them in a specific region, to comply with regulatory requirements — while simultaneously applying legal holds to preserve relevant data in response to ongoing litigation. 

9. Vector-based watermarking 

By embedding unique identifiers or metadata into the vector graphics of a file, vector-based watermarking enables you to protect sensitive documents, images, and designs from unauthorized distribution or modification. 

In the case of life sciences content management, for example, you can watermark R&D dossiers with timestamps or use IDs. If someone tries to leak a file, the watermark with all these details is shared with it, enabling your organization to trace the leak back to its source. 

10. Compliance controls 

Regulatory compliance frameworks require measures such as robust access control, data encryption, continuous security assessments, and audit trails to protect sensitive information and mitigate risks. 

When choosing a secure collaboration platform, ensure its compliance offerings cover your regulatory needs. Depending on the nature of your business, you have to demonstrate compliance with specific cybersecurity and data privacy frameworks. For example, a healthcare company must adhere to HIPAA regulations to protect patient data, while e-commerce businesses must comply with PCI DSS standards to secure payment card data and prevent fraud. 

11. Threat detection and data leak prevention 

Continuously monitoring your network traffic, user behavior, and system activities helps you detect anomalies, suspicious patterns, or known cyber threats

For example, secure collaboration tools with threat detection capabilities may flag unusual login attempts from an unrecognized location, signaling a potential account compromise. More advanced solutions also leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze contexts and identify malicious content and potential data theft. 

You can also automate the process of protecting sensitive data with classification-based security controls, which apply appropriate measures based on the classification level of your content. That’s the case with secure collaboration software that automatically scans files to detect personally identifiable information (PII) and apply admin-defined policies to reduce the risk of data leakage. 

Get to know the 21 best features and capabilities of cloud collaboration tools

Power secure team collaboration with Box 

Box simplifies collaboration while giving you the peace of mind that all your content stays secure. With the Content Cloud, you centralize all your content in one all-inclusive platform where you can create, store, share, and collaborate on files. 

By making security and compliance our top priority, we have gained the trust of more than 100K organizations. Our customers benefit from advanced enterprise-grade security features such as: 

  • Strong user authentication AES 256-bit encryption 
  • Vector-based watermarking 
  • Seven user-friendly sharing roles 
  • Device trust 
  • Suspicious activity alerts 
  • Ransomware detection 
  • File versioning and centralized audit logs 
  • Retention policies, legal holds 
  • Data residency controls 

Our compliance certifications include FedRAMP, PCI DSS, FIPS 140-2, GDPR, HIPAA, GxP Validation, NIST 800-53, SOC, and more. 

Connect with our team, and let us show you what you can do with our secure collaboration tools.

Call to action to enable secure collaboration with Box

While we maintain our steadfast commitment to offering products and services with best-in-class privacy, security, and compliance, the information provided in this blog post is not intended to constitute legal advice. We strongly encourage prospective and current customers to perform their own due diligence when assessing compliance with applicable laws.

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