The Future of Secure Communications

September 18, 2023

We recently commissioned Forrester Consulting to deep dive into the future of secure communications within the workplace. The results are mind blowing!

Off the back of the pandemic, organizations have been caught flat-footed. They now have serious problems with how their workforce communicates; from the shortcomings of email to the Wild West of messaging apps.

We’ve made the study - The Future of Secure Communications - available for download. We’re also discussing the findings with Forrester on two webinars; 20 September (English language) and 27 September (German language).

There are a number of overriding takeaways that we’ll cover across a few blog posts. This first one looks at the demand for real time communications with external parties.

The uncomfortable truth about communication with external parties

One of the most striking findings is the extent to which organizations are planning to extend the use of real time communications with external parties; primarily customers and partners.

The need is an obvious one; a typical employee communicates with 82 people during an average week, and 55% of those are outside of the organization.

Email has been the backbone of communications between people working at different organizations for decades (a whopping 88% using it often or very frequently), but of course it’s insecure, clunky and slow. And let’s not even get started on the “Hope you’re well” platitudes…

The trouble is, changes in employee work patterns, customer expectations, and the way value chains operate are adding complexity to these interactions and putting new demands on increasingly outdated tools.

It’s no surprise, therefore, that 52% of leaders say their employees are commonly using unsanctioned, consumer-grade messaging apps with partners; creating all sorts of data management, workflow and compliance issues.

Combine that shadow IT issue with the shortcomings of email, and traditional (siloed) collaboration apps and it’s small wonder that 77% report that security vulnerabilities in communication technologies used with partners pose a significant risk to their organization.


The move towards secure real time communications with trusted external parties

Employees and their work styles have evolved faster than enterprise communications platforms. Organizations are now having to play catch up to establish control over their employees’ communication habits.

56% of leaders see their organization as one piece of a larger value chain of partners, working together to deliver critical services to customers. Thus, fast, secure, and effective partner communications are essential.

So it’s no shock that 63% say the importance of securing communications along the value chain is a critical or high priority over the next 12 months.

In order to be successful, enterprise-grade communications need to be real time (email is too slow), secure (email and traditional collaboration are not), as easy-to-use as consumer messaging apps (especially on mobile devices) and interoperable (walled gardens such as Slack or WhatsApp are useless across large organizations or a value chain).

Control is crucial too; 66% of leaders are finding that customers increasingly expect visibility and control over the information they share.

The need for a modern, secure real time communications platform is urgent; 75% of leaders say that the reliability and security of their organization’s communications are critical to ensuring trust in their services.

The Future of Secure Communications

We commissioned the Future of Secure Communications study to highlight concerns around the current state of communications, following the astonishingly fast adoption of hybrid working. It also shows what organizations see as the most important requirements for emerging secure communications platforms.

We hope the study helps leaders develop their secure communications strategy, and that it provides the data points to prove the business case for change.

As follow-on reading, we have also made The Forrester Wave; Secure Communications, Q3 2022 available for download. The report looks at a number of secure communications vendors (spoiler alert; Element is in the leader category).

If you want to discuss your organization’s secure communications strategy, please get in touch.

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