I assume by now everyone has heard about BYOD – Bring Your Own Device. As work patterns have become flexible, and consumption of digital electronics has increased, so has the likelihood of people using their own device for work, whether in the office or elsewhere.
But what about DYOA? Ok, so I just made that up. It stands for Download Your Own App. It is probably just as common a practice as taking your own device to work, and much more likely to cause headaches for employers.
The problem for employers is that the earliest examples of what we now lump together and call collaboration platforms – video conferencing services like Skype, cloud-based document sharing suites like Google Docs – were free to use and mainly targeted at a consumer audience. They were also incredibly popular, very handy, and inevitably found their way into the workplace.
So the practice of DYOA started. If someone wanted to video chat with a colleague rather than call them, they would download Skype. If they wanted to share files instantly, they would register with Google Docs. And so it has continued with hundreds of other applications.
This practice causes several issues for employers. Many of these consumer-focused apps are not built with enterprise-grade security in mind. Using them at work may involve sharing sensitive company data over the Cloud, with few of the usual business security protocols in place. There is little or no oversight of these ad hoc deployments by IT or management, and no support when things go wrong. Plus, their use does not fit into wider business systems, creating lots of individual silos for individual users.
As a result, the challenge for the Unified Communications industry has been to develop communications platforms which keep employees happy with consumer-type levels of functionality, whilst placating the employers with enterprise-grade security. This is precisely where RingCentral‘s team messaging solution Glip is positioned.
In fact, RingCentral aims to go a step further with Glip. Knowing that to attract people away from preferred platforms you have to offer something even better, RingCentral has designed Glip to provide an ‘immersive’ all in one solution for team communication and collaboration, taking the best features of all of your favourite messaging and social apps, and putting them in a package your boss will approve of.
Let’s take a closer look at exactly what Glip has to offer. But before we do, please remember that CommsTrader does not endorse any particular brands or products, and the opinions contained in this review are those of the author only.
What can it do?
Glip is a cloud-based collaboration platform available as part of RingCentral’s Office UC solution, or as a standalone product. On its own, Glip provides a dedicated IM platform which supports file sharing, task tracking and team calendars. Deployed as part of RingCentral Office, it also provides direct access to a full suite of voice, video and conferencing functions.
RingCentral is keen to highlight the fact that Glip is essentially built on an instant messaging engine, even referring to it as a ‘team messaging’ application. But what is team messaging, and why should we be excited? Like many other team collaboration vendors, RingCentral positions Glip as an alternative to email, with faster, more accessible and intuitive connections, and better storage and archiving leading to less clutter, and easier recovery of information when you need it.
The whole point of team messaging, as demonstrated by Glip, is that it is instant, extensible and completely mobile. You don’t have to keep clicking to open a new mail item in your inbox, the entire message thread is always available and is added to the moment someone replies. Multiple people can join in the conversation, and it is just as easy and convenient on mobile as it is on a desktop screen.
On the Glip interface, IM is elevated from pop-up box to the main focus of the window. Everything is built around messaging, but it is the other functions around it and how they interact which really makes Glip what it is. Contacts, shared calendars, task lists and shared files are all available with one-click access from menus around the main messaging window.
During a conversation, you can very quickly and easily arrange a meeting, schedule deadlines, or allocate tasks between users. Files you share with your teams are conveniently stored by contact and by thread so you can find them quickly when you need them again. When run as part of RingCentral Office, you can also launch voice or video calls from your Glip screen. Suddenly what starts off looking like an enlarged IM window functions like a fully interactive digital workspace.
This level of platform consolidation and ease of use, modelled on consumer messaging apps, is designed to fit in with changing worker expectations. For employers, RingCentral has paid an equal amount of attention to security. Glip is operated on the Amazon Web Services cloud platform, which RingCentral chose for its security credentials. Unlike most consumer apps run on the public cloud, Glip operates on its own Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, its own isolated network space secure from general internet traffic.
In addition, Glip comes ready loaded with firewalls, security gateways and groups to monitor inbound and outbound traffic. Access to the Glip infrastructure is tightly managed, reducing the risk of backdoor attacks, and all traffic is encrypted in transit and at rest.
Simple, really – the balance between employee-friendly usability and enterprise-grade security protocols. Glip looks and feels like the kind of networking and messaging platform you or your kids might use at home, but shaped with business-friendly functionality. But while questions have always been asked of the security of such platforms, RingCentral really goes the extra mile to create a product which answers the genuine concerns businesses have over data security in the Cloud.
Who is it for?
RingCentral Office is a highly scalable UCaaS solution intended to be all things to all users. As the collaboration suite which sits on top of Office, Glip shares that wide appeal. With its robust security credentials, Glip is a collaboration solution enterprises need not be wary of deploying.
What is it compatible with?
Glip plugs into a wide range of popular third party business applications, including Evernote, Zendesk, Box and Jira.
What does it cost?
Glip is available as part of the subscription package on all three payment plans for RingCentral Office.
As a standalone product you can get Glip for free – for details visit the RingCentral Glip homepage.
So can Glip help to reverse the DYOA trend, and replace all of those pesky consumer apps which are clogging up your network space and undermining your security policy?
The answer is, yes – it should do, anyway. Glip demonstrates how far the UC industry has come in answering the challenge laid down by free public cloud messaging and file sharing platforms. And as handy and convenient as many of those are, Glip and its fellow team collaboration solutions do the same jobs better, mainly because everything happens all in one place. If you want a good comparison for Glip, think an updated version of Microsoft Outlook, with IM replacing email, and calendar and directory functions designed for accessibility and agility.
Do you use RingCentral Glip? Do you use it as part of your RingCentral Office subscription, or as a standalone platform? Do you agree that the flexibility and convenience of IM makes it the ideal medium to build a collaboration suite around? Let us know what you think by adding a comment below, and don’t forget to invite others to join in the conversation by sharing this article on social media.
Look & Feel
Great for your teams, great for your security!