Top Tips For Tackling Collaboration On The Pitch And At Work

CloudCloud Management

What do cloud computing and the Six Nations have in common? Geraldine Osman, VP of international marketing, Nexsan, explains

Those who have read my previous bylines will know that I am a something of a Rugby fan, so I am very excited about the Six Nations starting this weekend.

With a new coach and a new captain, I am curious about what differences we might see play out across the tournament. It seems inevitable that a new coach will bring new strategies to take England to success. Which got me thinking about the parallels with how sports teams work together to achieve victory and how businesses work.

Collaboration lessons

Are there lessons the enterprise can adopt on collaboration and facilitating a unified way to collaborate across the modern workplace? So, I’ve put pen to paper on what IT teams can learn from the champions of collaboration; England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and France…

France v Italy, Six Nations rugbyWhether at work or on the field, the usual overarching strategy is to achieve goals. Drop goal or penalty goal, they all count and are achieved by following a process. A process of tackles, tries and conversions. These processes require team collaboration, an understanding of the desired outcome and a commitment to achieving a common goal. Team success is only made possible by a greater support team of performance analysts, physical trainers, nutritional experts and logistical planning resources.

Similarly, in many businesses today, not all members of the team are playing on the same field. Or, they’re not on the field ready to play at the same time. They all play important roles at different stages but the key to a winning environment is to have the most effective tools for the whole team to communicate, collaborate and share critical information.

Before cloud, collaborative working was restricted to employees sharing an office and a VPN. But, the reality is that the people in our teams are no longer just in our office. The arrival of public cloud services has enabled employees to collaborate with colleagues working from home, on the move and with people in other organisations.  However, setting up, running and working within a collaborative cloud environment it isn’t always straightforward.  It will need some careful pre-match planning in order to really come out on top:

1)    Pass, try and convert

Think of a file as a ball. You want the ball to be passed from player to player until the right person can take it to its final destination, over the line, hopefully scoring a try. In business, you want enable file sharing with those who need to input or update them. You want to enable collaboration on the latest versions of files so they are eventually sent to their end point, which could be a client’s desk or the big screen. What you don’t want is for the ball to go out of play, into the crowd or worse into the other team’s hands.

Top Tip: If you allow Dropbox for work, then you allow it full stop. This means you have no control over employees taking company data and placing it on personal Dropbox accounts, either deliberately or accidentally causing you loss of control of your data.

2)    Keep team tactics under wraps

In order to collaborate, some employees are using the same public cloud accounts they use outside of the office, for their personal file sync and sharing. The issue for the enterprise is that public cloud, such as DropBox, is by its very nature public. Businesses using the public cloud to share files, cannot have the same visibility or control of their data as those using an on premise private cloud solution that they 100% own. By contrast, private cloud is like a ball that never leaves your possession. Not even a video referee (or the CIA for that matter) can snoop into your files.

Top Tip: Know exactly where your data resides. The server used by your public cloud provider may very well reside in the US, which means the CIA has every right to look at any data it wishes.

3)    Assigning positions is critical

In rugby the coach or selector decides who plays in the forward and back lines and who is on the bench. Equally, with a private cloud, the file owner decides who has edit rights and who has read only.  They can share a file or link without sharing an entire folder.

Top Tip: If you own the device where the data resides, you own the permissions. This means no one can see the data, leak the data, share the data or even access the data about your data!  While public cloud providers may employ encryption technology, it’s meaningless if they have access to the private encryption keys. Box, Dropbox and many other public cloud storage companies hold the private encryption keys for your data meaning they can access it at any time. Choose a private cloud that generates and stores your private encryption keys directly on your appliances.

4)    Avoid penalties

Penalties for breaking the laws of rugby could cost you the game at a critical moment. Similarly, by using public cloud some companies are also putting themselves at risk of severe financial penalties because compliance legislation demands that their data is either kept on premise or kept in the country of origin. Not on some unknown server in the US.

Top Tip: Public cloud file sync and share providers struggle to meet data protection compliance in many countries, as the exact location of data is undefined. Not only does this increase the risk of unauthorised access or information loss, it can breach industry and government regulations. Store data on a device owned by the company, at locations it controls and you eliminate privacy concerns.

Safe and secure collaborative working is achievable for any organisation if they stick to a strategic game plan, keep tactics under wraps and avoid penalties. Likewise, if England has a chance to match opposition they are going to have to work in a more effective and powerful way than their opposition. I’ll be watching the England vs Scotland game, looking on as England plays as one great beautiful team.  Good luck to the England team and here’s to an exciting and inspiring Six Nations, whomever you support.

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