Think about the last time you had to manage a document through multiple rounds of edits and approvals. Perhaps it was a client report, or perhaps a new business proposal that required input from multiple stakeholders.

Chances are you managed the process through email. Managing multiple email chain and comments, chasing approvals, or worse, trying to consolidate feedback from the several versions of the same document you received back.

If this were a purely internal project, you may have instead opted to use a shared network drive or file repository like SharePoint to share the file. But for projects with external partners, clients, or consultants, many users still see email as the only option to collaborate with teams outside of the organization.

This is especially unfortunate for IT because important company data is easily leaked when it’s released into the wild over email. In fact, it can be one of the least secure methods of external collaboration.

Now let’s be clear, email has an important role in lightweight communications among colleagues and clients. However, in this blog I look at the rapid growth in solutions designed to enable secure external collaboration around content, and why this has become a must-have feature for many forward-thinking organizations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why some business users still rely on legacy solutions?

It’s possible that your organization uses Microsoft SharePoint as a document repository and internal sharing tool, so naturally you’d like to try and manage external sharing process through that tool. The problem is that SharePoint, like email, wasn’t designed for this and it shows. Take a moment to browse the SharePoint help forums and it becomes clear that even SharePoint Online fails to make secure external collaboration simple enough for the average user.

So what do users do? Simple; they revert to the lowest common denominator - email.

They load up the “cc” field and attach the files, then do their best to manage the revisions, feedback, and approvals from dozens of stakeholders.

If any of this describes your workflow, it’s time to familiarize yourself with the crop of modern solutions that many organizations are now adopting.

Simple cloud collaboration tools for secure external collaboration

Business leaders across all industries are realizing the benefits of cloud-based collaboration tools, and according to a recent Forbes Insights study, 82% of business leaders say that these tools accelerate business results.  This new wave of cloud-based enterprise solutions make it genuinely simple to securely share and collaborate around content with external parties, providing one central place to store all versions of a file and reducing the headaches that come with email.

Huddle has developed a clever approach to solve this, letting users create a “workspace” for a distributed team, a short-term project, or an ongoing relationship with external parties. Think of a workspace as an enclosed virtual command center that can be set up in seconds. Within this space you store all your important files, manage comments and approvals, and can even set tasks to keep the projects on track. Opening the doors of your command center to an external partner or internal colleague is as simple as sending an invite to their email address.

One feature our clients love is the ability to audit usage of the files. When I email a file, I have no idea who has seen it (perhaps it was forwarded with my knowledge), or how to track the changes made as the document evolves. Using Huddle, I have one clean interface to view all file versions and see a list of who has viewed, downloaded, or edited the file.

For example, Centrica needed a solution to collaborate with third parties and global teams, and the audit trail capabilities of Huddle gave project managers access to information about amendments and authorizations at the click of a button.

Why should I care about this right now?

Email isn’t going away anytime soon, as it shouldn’t. As a general communication tool it’s perfectly suited for the majority of our needs. But for companies that email lots of content outside the firewall or across global offices, there’s a genuine need to adopt more modern solutions to stay ahead of the competition.

Commercial organizations like Panasonic and government agencies like NASA have embraced cloud collaboration solutions for secure external collaboration to ensure that files are sent securely while alleviating the headaches around version control.

If you’d like to learn more about how Huddle can reduce your pains around secure external collaboration, take a quick product demo.

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Tim Deluca-Smith

CMO

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