A Clear Definition of Enterprise-Grade Software & Security
The phrase “enterprise ready” and “enterprise grade software” is something IT managers and software buyers see a lot. At its core, it’s a marketing term designed to catch a buyer’s eye and tell them that a product can perform under the extreme duress a big company will put on it. Marketing aside, however, it’s actually an incredibly important concept.
Can this database do everything it needs to in a live production environment? Can this security solution effectively combat a massive attack or an extremely clever group of hackers? Or, something we’re more familiar with: Can this communication connect our employees while keeping sensitive information safe?
With that in mind, here are four key attributes you should look for with enterprise-grade software and products that will help make it more than just a marketing term.
This is perhaps the most important piece of this list: Can a product or service keep important information safe as it passes through different servers, devices and people?
Privacy is crucial, especially for third-party services. There need to be options like two-factor sign-in that makes sure that users can protect their accounts and information, while also having easy access management tools for administrators. It’s also important to look at data management policies, especially when important information is being stored on another company’s servers. Does that information stay there forever, or are there options and standards in place to periodically wipe it clean? If the latter doesn’t exist, then a product doesn’t truly have enterprise-grade security.
Can a product handle the stress of an entire company using it every day? This is obviously a crucial requirement for enterprise-grade software and why it’s important to look at the technologies a company’s product is built off of. What cloud service do they use, and does it allow them to easily scale to handle a sudden spike? What are they using for encryption and data center security? All these things shouldn’t be hard to find on products that are truly enterprise-ready — in fact, they should be selling points. Make sure vendors are using the best technology possible to keep other company’s information safe.
Getting software into more and more users’ hands isn’t the only important part of scaling, though. It must also enable manageability at scale to alleviate some of the administrative and oversight burdens, without sacrificing the capabilities required to support the needs of an entire organization. As software extends to more and more parts of an organization, things like group management and organization, ability to delegate control and/or oversight, and automated user provisioning and de-provisioning become essential so administrators can maintain control and security as they scale users.
So if you know a product can handle the load that your organization will put on it and that it will be easy to an administrator with hundreds or thousands of users, but what about getting new users onboard and using the product? This is especially critical for communication platforms — the value of the platform to a user grows as the number of relevant people on the platform grows, something called the network effect. Products that require hands-on training or specialized set up for the average user are typically destined for ultimate failure because of lack of use and little network effect.
Compliance audits and certificates are a great way to make sure that products and services actually deliver on the security they promise. As more and more regulated industries enter the cloud era and start to soften toward using third-party vendors, completing a battery of certifications is almost becoming table stakes. Make sure every vendor has a quiver full of certifications, especially for companies who do business in or with regulated industries.
Peanut butter and jelly are great on their own, but are way, way better when mixed in with each other. Similarly, enterprise-grade software is better when it folds in the features and capabilities of other software and systems, enabling integrations with other software to help accelerate tasks and workflows. Folding communication platforms together with other enterprise software facilitates more efficient proses execution, greater sharing of knowledge and a more informed and productive workforce.
So the next time you read “Enterprise Ready” know that it’s more than just a marketing term, it’s a critical aspect of both successful business software and helping users be successful at their jobs.