Archive for category Enterprise IM
When I started my career, I couldn’t have imagined how social my online work world would become.
Things like LinkedIn®, Microsoft® Lync®, IBM® Connections, and Skype™ are so integrated into my workday that connecting, IM’ing, and blogging with colleagues are all as natural and effective as sitting face-to-face over coffee.
Just like new ways to keep in touch with my colleagues and friends have emerged, some headed for the sunset like long-time friend Microsoft Live Messenger. But don’t say “Bon voyage!” just yet. You can use your Live ID to move your Live Messenger account and contacts to Skype today.
And if you’re a Skype user who works in a regulated industry like financial services, or if you work for a company that has other strict legal or corporate governance requirements, Actiance has great news! With Vantage™ for Skype, you can use Skype on your company’s network to stay in touch with the folks you need to get things done in a safe and compliant way.
It gives your company the tools it needs to meet strict requirements for regulatory, legal, and corporate compliance across a wide variety of networks, including Skype. And for a limited time, existing Actiance customers using Vantage or USG to support Microsoft Live Messenger can enjoy special pricing on Vantage for Skype.
So go ahead and start a Skype chat with a buddy in Santiago, share the latest product news with a colleague in Paris, or send a vacation photo to a friend in Vienna. With the trusted governance the Actiance platform provides, you can be sure you’re keeping the good stuff in while keeping the bad stuff out.
Last month, I was asked by a new client:
“How are companies with technology solutions in place to monitor/moderate/archive posts treating Registered Reps’ and captive agents’ ability to share updates and links on social media sites? Are they allowing them to do this? Are they pre-reviewing activity in advance or sampling post-review?”
The answer? It depends.
There is no one approach. And every firm takes a different approach. However, in general, we are seeing three general approaches:
Posting Corporate Messages: At the most conservative end of the spectrum, some firms create centralized libraries of pre-approved content, including a series of introductory statements (updates, tweets, etc) and even craft responses to updates. Because social media never “goes away”, these firms interpret all social media communications to be “static” advertising and hence they pre-approve everything. Although not strictly required by FINRA, as Joe Price of FINRA recently told the audience at the FINRA Advertising Regulation Conference, “Each firm bases its social media use policies its risk tolerance. And that’s fine”.
Personalization: The majority of firms also create centralized, preapproved content libraries with a series of introductory statements. However, they interpret the interactive portion of social media to be akin to a public appearance and hence allow their registered persons to interact on social media in real time without pre-approving each post. However, they put controls in place to block certain “trigger” words (such as stock symbols, “guarantee” “buy”, “sell”) and post review a pre-defined percentage interactive communications to demonstrate supervision.
Authentic Voice: A smaller group of firms take the personalization approach a step further. These firms create centralized, preapproved content libraries, with introductory statements, and block certain “trigger” words (as above) to allow for interactive communications. However, these firms also encourage their registered persons to craft their own introductory statements to preapproved content as well as to post their own content with controls in place to block inappropriate “trigger” words. And like above, firms post review a pre-defined percentage interactive communications to demonstrate supervision.
Do firms use a phased approach?
We have found that firms tend to pilot social media with tight controls in place and typically don’t allow registered persons much latitude. However, once they begin to trust technology to safeguard their firms’ reputation and stay compliant, firms often begin to allow their reps to personalize content to varying degrees.
Different Use Policies- It’s also effective to create and enforce different use policies for different categories of users. For example, financial advisors with clean compliance track records and who have demonstrated appropriate use of social media, may be allowed a bit more freedom than those who are new to social media or have problematic compliance histories.
What works best?
We have found that reps achieve the most engagement when their firms facilitate allowing the reps’ “Authentic Voice” to shine through. After all, don’t we prefer to do business with people who share our common interest and passions? However, although this approach requires training in best practices, and perhaps a bit of hand holding, it yields better long term results.
Today’s post comes from Norv Leong, Director of Product Marketing at Actiance.
Star Trek’s popularity has spanned several generations. The captains’ names have changed (Kirk, Picard, Archer) through the years, but the fans’ devotion and passion have continued to chug along. The show was premised on federations and how many beings of different colors, shapes, and beliefs could still get along (save for the Klingons).
The same concept holds for federation when it comes to real-time communications. Gone are the days of closed networks where you can only talk or IM with folks in your own network (remember AOL back in the day?). Now, Yahoo! Messenger users can IM with Windows Live Messenger (WLM) users, and unified communications platforms like Microsoft Lync can federate with public IM networks, such as the aforementioned Yahoo.
This is great news for inter-planetary “keeping in touch,” but it also raises issues about security. Safely connecting to these public IM networks is of paramount concern for folks in charge of IT security. The old adage, “you never know who’s lurking out there,” couldn’t be more true. Tasked with ensuring that the security of their enterprise communications and collaboration platforms are airtight, great pains have to be taken to make sure that opening up to public IM networks doesn’t flood the corporate network with malware, worms, viruses, and the like.
This is where granular federation controls come into play. Being able to control which external parties can communicate with a given organization’s employees, groups, or networks is huge. Furthermore, it could very well be that a large enterprise has a regulatory duty to separate its business functions or divisions. Actiance Vantage enables organizations to control communications such that employees are blocked from contacting anyone (including external users) who might be on a blacklist.
This reduces the chances of malware infection, data leakage, and the potential to interact with another person outside of an ethical or regulatory boundary. It also means that you won’t be at the mercy of another organization’s security policy. Freedom to federate is great, but as Captain Kirk and his crew could attest to, you gotta be careful who you interact with because not everyone comes in peace.
“Get us out of here, Sulu! Warp factor 8!”
For those who already utilize tracking, monitoring and control solutions for IM and UC infrastructure, it can be a real blow when you find out that your solution isn’t keeping current, or doesn’t plan to in the future.
In this real-time world, ensuring that your solution maintains the security, management and compliance of these real-time solutions is key to ensuring the future of your business. So what happens when your selected solution doesn’t?
Take the announcement from Quest that Policy Authority for UC has come to end of life and end of support at the end of last year. The hard part for customers is going to be pulling the pieces back together. No doubt you’ve transitioned your entire organization onto a specific platform, now only to find that it’s not keeping up to date with industry changes, or your vendor plans to stop development.
What should you do in that situation?
First, you should identify the timing of the change. Do you have three months or 12 months? Understanding your timeline can help you prioritize your next steps.
The next step is identifying a new partner that you can work with. Here are a few things to look for:
- Customer churn: How many customers have recently left them to work with a different vendor? This can also be indicative of the type of support you may receive
- Product roadmap: Has it been a while since they’ve deployed a new version of their solution? Do they support capabilities like Group Chat? Are they compliant with Live Meeting? Do they support the new Microsoft Lync Server? What about IBM Sametime Advanced? Skype?
- Company’s primary focus: Is security merely a component of their product offerings? Or, is security, management and compliance for the new Internet their primary focus?
- Social media capabilities: Do they support the big three (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn)? What are the specific features for each they offer?
- Partners: Who do they work with to get their updates? Are they members of industry organizations? Do they partner with platforms so they are the most up to date with new product and feature rollouts?
Why not – if this affects you, join us on one of our webinars, and look at just how easy it is to move!
If there are any doubts in your mind or issues that arise, it’s important to take a closer look at your relationship with this partner and reconsider the engagement.
In this day and age, it’s too easy to miss one update and find your network compromised. It’s critical to partner with a company who will be dedicated to your organization’s safety and success in real time communications – and who makes it their entire business, so that you don’t have to.
We’ve all heard this saying before and it’s easy to get lost in the bewildering array of communications channels available to us. There’s the usual email, instant messaging networks (Yahoo!, Google Talk), peer-to-peer networks (Skype), enterprise IM applications (IBM Sametime, Microsoft Lync/OCS), and social networks (Facebook, Twitter). And these are just the big boys. There are literally thousands of IM, P2P, and social networks, in addition to those listed above.
To give you an idea of the bevy of tools out there, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) uses over 21 different email systems, but they’ve recently decided to award Microsoft a contract to provide cloud-based email, Web conferencing, IM, and collaboration solutions. Similarly, the US General Services Administration (GSA) awarded an email contract to Google. What this goes to show is that messaging in large organizations (in this case, it’s the government) is starting to move to the cloud as companies look for ways to streamline their messaging systems, improve efficiency, and cut costs.
What with all these communications options available to end users, it’s all too common for folks to use Facebook, Yahoo!, or Skype while they’re at work on company-issued computers. Oftentimes, individuals use a combination of Web 2.0 (think Facebook or Skype) and enterprise (think Microsoft Communicator or Cisco Jabber) applications. The problem with doing so is that it opens up new vectors for malware to invade the corporate network. In other words, there are far more avenues for evil to infiltrate the corporate network these days than ever before.
Thankfully, platforms like Actiance Vantage make it easier to manage the proliferation of communications tools within the enterprise. From blocking virus attacks to managing file transfers to logging and archiving of all IM activities, Vantages provides end-to-end security and compliance coverage for an organization’s unified communications.
We can all learn a lesson from the government contracts cited above. Long ridiculed for being the poster child of bureaucracy and antiquated computer systems, it must be saying something to have two large agencies moving their communications applications to the cloud. Looks like the US government has taken heed of that old KISS principle after all.