Beware the dangers of using consumer apps

Unified Comms
Many people will be turning to consumer applications right now in order to continue their working lives. Although there are some fantastic, and free, tools out there for people to use there are many dangers businesses need to be aware of in the long term. We asked our vendor audience what those dangers are.

Paul Clarke, UK Channel Manager at 3CX

"Whilst I can understand the temptation to switch to widely available apps like whatsapp, we advise our customers against it. Mass produced apps can lack the security of dedicated solutions like 3CX and whilst encryption might exist to some degree, you cannot control where company data is stored. Whatsmore, consumer apps blur the lines between work and private lives, making policy violations more likely."

Alan Shen, CEO of Yeastar said:

"Security is the biggest hidden danger. You will worry about the leak of important files, sensitive messages, and internal (company staff) and external (customers) contact information. Though every application is labelled safe, who will take responsibility when the private information is revealed?"

Avaya Solution Specialist Rob Carmichael commented:

“The dangers include security (from theft or interception for malicious purposes), lack of service reliability, and availability. Consumer tools often do not provide robust-enough SLAs and might not provide adequate support for issues. That’s why we’ve worked so hard on making Avaya Spaces so accessible and easy to use – employees can be up-and-running in a secure environment in minutes, with all the ease that they’d expect from a consumer solution.”

Paul Gibbs, Sales Director at MyPhones:

"We are seeing the ‘knee jerk’ reaction of people scrabbling around to find anything that can solve their ‘now’ issues. This has led to further fragmented applications being rolled out with the danger of having multiple, high priced subscriptions with different termination dates and costs. The most frustrating thing out there at present is the ‘ I didn’t know you do that’ conversation. How do I sell more to our customers has always been a tough question to answer but I feel at the moment we have a real opportunity to help our customers make the more informed choice to avoid the above situation"

Justin Hamilton-Martin, Director of Centile - part of Enreach:

"Given the need to adopt collaboration and UC tools fast, it can be tempting for businesses to go to consumer applications, but this is a risky strategy for a couple of reasons. First, these apps are not designed to integrate with each other, so users will end up with a fragmented and unsupported environment. It is better to contact the vast amount of knowledge that exists within the UC channel, to access a platform of secure, integrated and enterprise-grade digital workplace. Then businesses can focus on other priorities, rather than having to become overnight experts in collaboration and UC technologies."

"Another reason to avoid depending on consumer apps is that they lack business-quality features. For example, with MOBiiS app, someone could see that their colleague is not available right now, so send them a message saying ‘call me back when you are free’. Also, consumer apps do not give the reporting and analytics which many organisations require."

Mayur Pitamber, Solutions Product Marketing Manager at 8x8 said:

“For businesses that haven’t used collaboration tools before, they can find it a daunting prospect, but this needn’t be the case. While consumer applications such as Skype might seem an understandable fix, they’re far from efficient. For instance, they lack a lot of the business capabilities such as document-sharing, conference call recording, and the ability to add people to a meeting. Consumer-grade collaboration tools can also open up a wealth of security issues – something that business collaboration tools are designed to prevent. “