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Slack Briefs on Slack Connect and Enterprise Key Management

At Enterprise Connect 2020, Christina Kosmowski (VP, Global Head of Customer Success and Services, Slack) and Alex King (Senior Value Consultant, Slack) outlined Slack’s latest updates and showcased its potential for large enterprise.

Slack Connect is Slack’s solution for external collaboration. With Slack Connect, channel benefits can be extended to business partners. Slack Connect is also interoperable with major cloud storage solutions (such as Google Drive and OneDrive) for ease of information transfer. Indeed, Slack Connect can be used as a window to access other tools, such as Gmail, Box, Dropbox, Outlook, and Trello, saving the end user time spent switching back and forth between apps.

Of course, external collaboration raises questions about whether information transfer is secure. Slack’s solution is to only allow admins to manage and approve connections and to designate roles in the channel, as well as ensuring data transfer is compliant with the organization’s data policies. To reinforce security, Slack also has an upcoming EKM solution, which will allow the organization to bring their own encryption key for implementation. These keys are then stored in Amazon’s Key Management Service. The benefit is that organizations maintain visibility and control over their data.

Recent partnerships have also shown that Slack can scale quickly to large enterprises, including IBM, Amazon, and Verizon. For users who are not used to the software, Slack also offers the ability to automate tasks with its Workflow Builder. This includes the ability to automate the onboarding of new teammates.

For more information, watch Slack’s session Learn How Slack Keeps Teams Connected and Moving Forward during This Shift to Remote Work (available online until December 31, 2020 at Enterprise Connect 2020).

Source: SoftwareReviews Slack Scorecard. Accessed August 26, 2020.

Our Take

Slack’s focus on channel-based instant messaging aims to push email out of the picture. There are some good arguments for this. Email inboxes are not built to facilitate rapid information flow or to organize multiple conversations.

However, email should not completely disappear. While Slack is right that email is not fit for these purposes, it is not true that email has no place in the modern enterprise. That email is being misused to facilitate instant messaging is a fair statement, and a tool like Slack is well-suited to fill that role. Email, though, is still better for asynchronous information transfer geared toward conveying lots of information.

As the above diagram shows, there is a time and a place for email and for a tool like Slack. Email is not well-suited for synchronous information or for creating quick alignment, but Slack certainly is. However, as much as email is reduced in its overall function, it's not dead yet! Bear this in mind when reviewing your communications infrastructure – Slack can’t do everything.

For organizations seeking to enhance their communications infrastructure, use the above diagram for your own purposes. Is Slack your preferred instant messaging tool? Or is it another like Microsoft Teams? Do you have both tools and employees get confused about which tool they should use? Use this exercise to start organizing your toolset. Ready to start optimizing your tools? Use Info-Tech’s Rationalize Your Collaboration Tools resource.

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