Comparing Common Collaborative Tools

Without a managed service agreement in place, small- to medium-sized businesses often go “off-the-shelf” with software solutions in the early stages in order to reduce costs and still access mission critical functionality like establishing a system for internal communications and collaboration. Ranging from “free” to subscription-based, the quality of these tools and the comprehensive effectiveness they bring to the table can vary greatly. In this blog, Apex Technology discusses several of the most popular communication and collaborative tools in use by businesses, ending with an overview of our proprietary collaboration tools that will help secure your organization and bring your team’s performance to a new level of efficiency.  

Communication Tools

Current events have vast swaths of the US economy working remotely or from off-site locations, making communication tools all the more mission critical for businesses struggling to achieve and maintain forward momentum. Businesses are finding value in using these tools not only to maintain direct and indirect communications, but also to maintain a connection with clients. 

Slack

Slack is a channel-based chat program that can be used for free, but once users within a specific channel have generated a specific number of posts, the platform starts to replace old messages with new. A subscription will allow the channel to go beyond the message limit, and the platform can integrate with other collaboration tools to fold in project management and other functionality. As we recently learned with the Twitter data breach, however, the channels in the platform are only as secure as the users maintaining channel memberships allow those channels to be. Ideal for small, focused teams, the channels and messaging function can become overwhelming when larger organizations utilize it without a strict method of organizing groups and messaging between groups.  

Google Docs, Meet, Drive, and Email Functionality

Businesses without the infrastructure already in place for establishing a domain and internal doc server can use Google Business apps such as Docs, Sheets, and Drive to establish a platform for collaborating on projects. They can also pay to establish a branded email address for employees to use. However, the platform email is stored upon is still a Gmail server, and provides limited sorting and organizational tools. 

Trello

Managing and maintaining projects across teams can be tricky. With Trello, organizations can pay for expanded functionality to manage teams, set up and assign tasks to projects, and track progress of those tasks. It works extremely well with organizations practicing Agile, Scrum, and other project management frameworks that are task-based and depend upon knowing what stage projects are currently at at all times. Web-based, the platform is as secure as the users’ using it, and could be prone to leaks.  

MailMAX + SyncMAX = Collaborate the Apex Way

At Apex Technology, we’d rather our clients use programs integrated into their networks as part of the managed IT Services we offer when it comes to collaborative tools and communications platforms. That’s where MailMAX and SynchMAX come into play. 

Designed to secure and streamline your email workflow, MailMAX is built around Microsoft Office 365, cloud-based, and compliant with current data regulatory standards. Integrated into the platform is robust threat protection from virus, spam, and malware, with an award-winning 99.7% capture rate. 

While MailMAX handles the communications platform, files are secured and tracked through SyncMAX. The file sync solution provides business-class access and tracking, HIPAA-compliance, and allows sharing and collaboration regardless of your employee’s physical location – if they can access the cloud-based interface, they can access your file infrastructure safely. This solves many of the security and access issues caused by bring-your-own-device and bring-your-own-application solutions previously discussed solutions suffer from. 

Apex Technology Provides Charlotte Small Business With Affordable IT Solutions

While it’s crucial for your business to be able to provide communication and collaboration tools to your employees working remotely, “off-the-shelf” solutions aren’t necessarily the best solution from a security and functionality standpoint. Apex Technology instead suggests to its clients an integrated application approach with our proprietary email and file sync platforms. This will allow a more streamlined and secure workflow for your employees. Reach out to our team of experts to learn more about these and other managed IT solutions.