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Wanted for EC20: Security & Privacy Innovation
At Enterprise Connect 2020, taking place March 30 to April 2 in Orlando, Fla., we seek to highlight new, innovative solutions that improve the security and privacy of enterprise communications. The solutions will be presented as part of the annual Innovation Showcase of new companies to EC in a hot technology area.
We selected security and privacy as the theme for EC20 because the stakes in enterprise communications are getting higher. As we have become increasingly connected, our conversations and related data are more valuable. Secrets are becoming harder to keep, and security and privacy are emerging as a top concern.
The analog phone, party lines, and plain-text email and SMS were products of a more innocent world. For decades, the concern of enterprise communications professionals was limited to toll fraud. Most of us, even security professionals, were shocked by CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations of widespread surveillance practices such as nationwide phone metadata collection and massive recording of cell calls.
The revelations damaged the trustworthiness of major providers. In 2014, we learned the NSA had tapped the internal leased lines used to connect Google and Yahoo data centers, and that Yahoo was scanning emails at the request of the U.S. government. This raised the security awareness with IT professionals worldwide.
Then came a series of privacy attacks and breaches that raised awareness with end users. These included the 2016 U.S. election, Cambridge Analytica, and a series of other breaches from Facebook, Google, and more. Security moved from somebody else’s problem to a potential liability in 2018, when the European Union enacted General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Soon after, we saw British Airways get fined $228 million and Marriott $124 million for leaking customer data. GDPR’s expansive reach has caused businesses operating in the U.S. to comply with its terms, as well.
The conclusion is that all data, even communications data, must be secured. Obviously, customer information in the contact center has to be secured, but well beyond that is all these new channels that span across multiple systems. Also, general work is increasingly performed over enterprise-provided communications and collaboration solutions. Traditional voice calls are commonly placed over the public Internet. Meetings are chock-full of sensitive information, including conversations, messages, shared content, and even faces. Team chat apps contain conversations, content, and organizational (teams) information.
Our apps and devices are integrated and connected, and work locations include multiple company, public, and private sites. Employees commonly access sensitive data from the comfort of their own homes or favorite coffee shops, and do so with their private devices over public WiFi and network services. All of this needs to be secured, and the technology used a few years ago isn’t likely sufficient any more.
Reclaiming Security & Privacy
Fortunately, there’s a tremendous amount of innovation occurring to help reclaim or retain security and privacy. Communications platform-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service offerings have reduced the barriers of turning ideas into products. New blockchain apps offer secure, decentralized solutions. Biometrics and AI are being used for authentication and identity. Solutions can range from key management to fraud detection. It’s impressive and reassuring, all the way until some agent asks for your mother’s maiden name (fail).
Companies that are creating innovative solutions that secure enterprise communications should apply for the Innovation Showcase at EC20. The application process is simple, and there’s no cost to apply or participate in the Innovation Showcase. The deadline to apply is March 10, 2020, 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 in mid-March. Selected companies will present in the Innovation Showcase session from 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. on Monday, March 30.