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According to a 2014 report, more than 80% of employees use non-approved software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications at their jobs. This means that users are potentially exposing organizational networks to cyber-attacks and malware that result in identity theft and stolen IP—the kind of events that tarnish reputations and hurt business. In addition, these apps are managed by outside vendors and may experience disruptions that hurt productivity.

Some of the more popular SaaS apps used on the job are for communication—namely, instant messaging. AOL Instant Messenger, Facebook Messenger, and Google Chat are just some of the popular options workers use outside of IT’s knowledge, without your organization’s standards for security and compliance. When sensitive files are being discussed and shared across these applications, you’ve got a security breach waiting to happen.

So what’s an organization to do? If you’re using Microsoft Office 365, all you need to do is make users aware of the following recent updates that make life easier (and more secure) for users and your business alike.

Real-time chat in Office 365

With Office 365, you already get Skype for Business for video chats, conference calls, and instant messaging. Now, O365 has deeper integration with Skype for Business, so that users can start IM chats from within the documents themselves.

Users can now open chats from within Word and PowerPoint documents while using desktop Office. This is particularly useful while coauthoring a document. Simply click a person’s thumbnail to start an IM conversation in Skype for Business.

If working away from their desk, users can start chats in browser-based Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote for any document stored in SharePoint or OneDrive for Business. All they have to do is click the blue Chat button to start IM’ing with everyone editing in the browser at the same time.

The new real-time chat feature keeps conversations secure, protects your IP, and makes it easier to use Skype for Business than to switch apps and work through a non-approved SaaS option. You can learn more about real-time chat and coauthoring at the Office Blog.

Send attachments from within documents

Another issue with unapproved chat apps is that files can be unsafely shared through them. Office 365 lets you share your Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents from within the documents themselves.

Simply click File, Share, and select how you want to share:

  • As an email attachment
  • Through OneDrive for Business
  • Send by instant message through Skype for Business

Again, Skype for Business’ integration with Office 365 makes sharing easier and more secure for your users, so that it’s more of a hassle to open up Google Chat and attach a document than it is to click File, Share. Plus, if a document is encrypted or has permissions, the document maintains those settings when shared. That’s another way to make sure the right information is only in front of the right people.

If your organization is not currently using Office 365 but would like to learn more, give one of our Long View experts a call today.