Five Essentials of Team Collaboration Apps


The concept of the team collaboration app is simple – a hub through which you can communicate, share documents, and collaborate on different projects. There are many team collaboration apps around, including Asana, Podio, Sack, Igloo, Google’s GSuite, and Microsoft 365 just to name a few.

You will probably look at features such as ease of use, whether or not an app fits your workflow, and assess how much time your team will save when selecting a collaboration app. However, there are other features you also should take into consideration.


Collaboration means you will have to share intellectual property, and possibly client’s information. Look for an app that lets you set permissions for each user or group. You should also look for a product with an ISO 27001 certification or similar certification to guarantee safe data storing practices.

Security features vary from one app to another. For example:

  • MangoApps uses 2-factor authentication and custom IP ranges, and it requires mobile users to have a secure HTTPS connection.
  • Huddle offers more advanced features such as data encryption.

User Presence

In Unified Communications, user presence refers to a user’s availability and ability to communicate at a particular moment. They key is to improve collaboration without making the app intrusive.

Some apps take a traditional approach to user presence while others innovate:

  • Sococo takes an interesting approach by creating a virtual office layout where you can see each user sitting at a virtual desk.
  • Pukkateam automatically takes webcam selfies at regular intervals to let you know who is at their workstation.
  • Slack uses an approach similar to IM clients and social media with away statuses and custom emojis.

Data Storage

Review the privacy policy of the team collaboration app you want to use to find out who owns the data shared via the app. Find out where the data center is and choose an app that encrypts the data you upload or download.

These apps offer flexible solutions to help you meet compliance requirements:

  • Huddle lets you choose between servers located in the US, the UK, or the EU.
  • Box holds a number of certifications, including ISO 27018, APEC Privacy Rules, and European Economic area data transfer.

Cloud-based vs. on premise

A majority of team collaboration apps are cloud-based. However, an on premise solution would make more sense if you want more control over data storage. A cloud-based solution is best if you don’t want to invest in hardware, want a quick set up, and don’t work in a compliance-heavy industry.

Some apps are entirely cloud-based while others make self-hosting possible:

  • QuickBase stores all your data in a single-cloud based database for speed and ease of access.
  • Bitrix 24 offers a cloud-based solution and also offers open source code so you can self-host the app.

Call Features

Video chat is a common feature of team collaboration apps, but some also include VoIP or PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) integration or even built-in VoIP.

These apps offer interesting integration solutions:

  • Slack offers an integrated VoIP solution via the OnSIP app. This app allows you to create unique call links and share them to start an encrypted call with a person or a group.
  • Office 365 takes a similar approach by providing integration with VoIP and PSTN via Skype.
  • Cisco goes further with an integration feature that will work with a pre-existing PSTN service.

Take the time to review the privacy policy of a team collaboration app and look at its safety features before deciding if it could be a good match for you. The right app should fit your workflow, help you meet compliance requirements, and address your top safety challenges.

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