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EC20 Innovation Showcase on Track… and Just in Time


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Back in late 2019 when we selected privacy and security as the topic for the Innovation Showcase at Enterprise Connect 2020, then planned for March, we knew that was a highly pertinent theme. As we become increasingly connected, our conversations and related data are more valuable. Secrets are becoming harder to keep, and security and privacy were certainly emerging as a top concern.
The global health crisis that descended on us in the first quarter has only further highlighted the need for security and privacy measures. And so, when the Enterprise Connect Digital Conference & Expo 2020 virtual event convenes in August, we’ll take the opportunity to move forward with the Innovation Showcase.
Evolution of Enterprise Communications & Collaboration
For decades, enterprise communications has been transforming from rigid architectures and systems to more flexible, feature-rich solutions focused on easier methods of communication and collaboration. The focus of innovation has primarily been about the shift first from hardware to software and now to services.
Our conversations are now spread across several services. Our data, often confidential and sensitive, are spread out on systems and services beyond our control. APIs, mobile devices, and now work from home continue to expand the spread of our information.
Security Left Behind
This race to develop new technological capabilities neglected to advance security measures at the same pace. As communications became powered by software, the challenges of security dramatically changed. It wasn’t long ago that the top security concern in voice was toll-fraud — that seems so trivial now.
The past decade has been a hodgepodge of revelations and breaches. Personal information and corporate data became a new currency. The protections we thought were in place were failing us. For example, in 2014 we learned the NSA had tapped data center infrastructure at Google and Yahoo. There were a series of big, high-profile hacks at trusted brands such as Facebook, Equifax, Marriott, Yahoo, and many more.
The stories are getting bigger and closer to core communications and collaboration services. This year we’ve seen Zoom take a major hit for lax security practices that resulted with an FBI warning and the loss of several high-profile customers. The vulnerabilities caught the attention of mainstream news outlets, such as The Washington Post, NPR, BBC, and Forbes. Zoom responded swiftly, but the news harmed its reputation and the company lost momentum as it refocused engineering resources on security.
The lesson learned was security and privacy are not items to assume or simply delegate.
Reclaiming Security & Privacy
The result of these very public disasters is the realization that we cannot assume all data, across all channels and systems, is secure. The security of communications and collaboration cannot be taken for granted. Traditional voice calls are now commonly placed over the public Internet. Team chat apps contain conversations, content, and organizational information. The post-COVID-19 world has accelerated the adoption of public cloud services. The security practices and technology from a few years ago do not suffice.
The good news is that the rate of innovation in these areas is accelerating. Blockchain offers data security possibilities for an array of industries, while biometric scanning and AI boost authentication and identity protection capabilities. Cloud-delivered services have reduced the time for ideas to become products. It’s impressive and reassuring until some agent asks for your mother’s maiden name (fail).
Companies creating innovative solutions to secure enterprise communications and/or collaboration should apply for the Innovation Showcase at the EC20 Digital Conference & Expo. Our definitions are broad, and solutions can be about encryption, authentication, privacy, and/or other methods. The Innovation Showcase is prestigious. It is a juried event at the industry’s largest conference, now virtual. Many Showcase alumni continue to make headlines. The application process is simple, and there’s no cost to apply or participate. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, July 14, and you can find more details, rules, eligibility, and the application here.
The judging panel for the EC20 Innovation Showcase are the following three security experts:
  • Jonathon Clark, a senior IT solutions architect at US Bank who has extensive experience in contact center, telephony security, and real-time communications
  • David “Davo” Muttiah, who is responsible for the CRM and contact center solutions at CARFAX; he has extensive experience in business process improvements, business case development, and real-time interactions
  • Sorell Slaymaker, principal consulting analyst at Tekvision Research
The panel will review the applications, and we’ll announce the selections at the end of July. Selected companies will be featured in the EC20 Digital Conference & Expo Aug. 3-6. Check out the event here and register today!
Dave Michels is a contributing editor and analyst at TalkingPointz.