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OMG! Texting becomes the next big enterprise tool

Sharon Gaudin | Oct. 17, 2013
Social collaboration turns to secure texting to keep workers connected

A nurse, checking on a patient in the hospital with pneumonia, is concerned about the patient's progress and pulls out her smartphone to text a doctor and a pulmonologist.

No, the nurse isn't breaking HIPAA laws or hospital rules by sharing patient information in an insecure text. She's actually using what could be the next big thing in enterprise social collaboration - secure enterprise texting.

For several years now, companies have been turning to enterprise-grade social collaboration tools like Jive Software, Cisco's WebEx Social and Novell's Vibe collaboration platform.

Those enterprise collaboration tools generally include wikis, document sharing, video, blogs and Facebook-like collaborative setups.

Now, companies are beginning to adopt enterprise texting tools that offer workers a quick way to connect with each other, just as they connect with people in their personal lives. That's especially true for younger workers, who text their friends more often than they call them. As they enter the workforce, they expect to be able to text their colleagues just as they do their friends.

Workers who are texting on the job without enterprise tools available to them could leave a company open to security issues, said said Brad Brooks, founder and CEO of TigerText Inc. "With SMS, it's a completely unmanaged, insecure and not an enterprise great solution," said Brooks.

TigerText offers an enterprise texting tool that is encrypted and lets users know when their messages have been read. "We think [texting] is conducive to improving enterprise workflow but it needs to be managed and controlled to prevent data leakage out of the enterprise," Brooks said.

With an enterprise texting tool, companies can better enforce corporate messaging policies, make it easier for employees to find and connect with coworkers, and log text histories on the backend while periodically deleting them on workers' devices.

Industry analysts say the new tools, coming from companies like TigerText, Cotap Inc., CellTrust Corp. and Imprivata are getting a lot of attention from the healthcare and financial industries.

Memorial Hospital of Gulf Port, which is in Gulf Port, Miss., is one of the healthcare organizations now allowing secure, enterprise texting for workers there.

"We had nurses, physicians, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities all wanting to communicate using texting and we couldn't allow unsecure text messaging," said Gene Thomas, vice president and CIO of the hospital. "As a healthcare entity, we take patient privacy very important and patient privacy is something we have to, by law, protect. We needed to find a way to allow people to text securely."

Thomas, who adopted enterprise texting for the hospital in the spring of 2012, said he opted for TigerText because it met the hospital's criteria for being fast, reliable and secure.

 

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