slack connect security lock and key

Why Guru, ModSquad and Sisense rely on Slack Connect for secure collaboration

With email-based cyberattacks on the rise, these companies depend on Slack to work more productively with trusted partners

Author: Lauren Johnson2nd October 2020Illustration by Giacomo Bagnara

What’s your team’s favorite way to keep in touch with customers and business partners? If you’re like many organizations, your team may rely on a combination of email and messaging apps for external communication. Unfortunately, bad actors trust that you spend a lot of time in your email inbox, too—especially in the age of remote work.

Today, a whopping 90% of all cyberattacks are linked to email phishing scams, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. One thing is clear: for the scammers, email phishing is big business. For enterprises, it’s one of the greatest threats to both revenue and long-term reputation.

Despite a shift to channel-based messaging internally, most organizations still use email for external communication, leaving their employees at risk. So with 192,000 coronavirus-related cyberattacks per week in May alone, now is the time to revisit how your team is working with their external partners.

Slack Connect allows organizations to move their conversations with external parties into Slack channels, a single place to share files and messages. And unlike email—which leaves users open to the risk of spam and phishing— teams receive communications only from verified members in Slack channels.

By providing enterprise-grade security standards, Slack helps information security professionals at Guru, ModSquad and Sisense sleep a little easier at night thanks to an increase in visibility and control not available for email. Here’s how these three organizations make the most of Slack Connect to increase productivity, while safely meeting their business communication needs.


Communicating with confidence while building strong relationships with board members

With Guru, gone are the days of scrolling through expansive internal wikis to find that one person or training guide you need to do your work. As a knowledge management system for the modern workplace, Guru values well-organized, accessible information—and that goes for Guru’s own communications systems too.

So when it comes time for Guru’s leadership teams to send confidential updates to its board of investors, Guru trusts Slack Connect with its most sensitive data.

“Because Slack’s security features and compliance standards extend to Slack Connect, I didn’t even question creating a secure channel with my board,” says Mitch Stewart, chief technology officer at Guru. “Whereas when I send an email, I’m just hoping that encryption is working between all the different stops from me to my board members.”

mitch stewart guru slack connect

“Because Slack's security features and compliance standards extend to Slack Connect, I didn't even question creating a secure channel with my board.”

Mitch StewartChief Technology Officer, Guru

Slack Connect reduces the need for formal calls and meetings, saving board members precious time. Using Slack channels, Guru’s leadership team can:

  • Plan and collaborate on board meetings
  • Share company updates in real-time
  • Discuss prospective customers and partners

Slack Connect also helps the Guru leadership team build stronger relationships with individual board members.

“Let’s say I have a question about a tech stack decision I need to make, and I know that one board member already uses it at their company,” Stewart says. “In Slack, I can just go to that board member directly and ask, ‘Hey, could I get some input on this?’ Slack Connect lets me have a connection with them on an ongoing basis versus just having a meeting with them every three months.”


Providing swift services while protecting client and vendor data

With a globally distributed crew of customer experience experts—a.k.a the Mods— ModSquad helps customers engage with their audiences online. And when it comes to keeping client and vendor data secure, Slack Connect is the Mod’s vehicle-of-choice.

“Since many of our clients were already using Slack and it passed their security requirements, it was very easy to start using Slack Connect and trust that our data was also protected,” says Steve Henry, senior vice president, client services for ModSquad.

steve henry modsquad slack connect

“Since many of our clients were already using Slack and it passed their security requirements, it was very easy to start using Slack Connect and trust that our data was also protected.”

Steve HenrySenior Vice President, Client Services, ModSquad

Take Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS), a department within the University of Pennsylvania. Using Slack Connect, ModSquad helps WRDS:

  • Manage day-to-day issues and service requests
  • Connect the ModSquad project team and client contacts to keep everyone up to date on the latest happenings
  • Address any resource needs in real time to provide the best service to users

“Whether it’s answering questions or escalating issues, Slack Connect helps us coordinate operational matters throughout the day, every day,” says Jason Ferguson, senior director of client services. “While Mods are on shift, they’re in Slack channels flagging updates or ticket influxes to internal and client teams.”

Managing this level of coordination each day requires lightning-fast communication between teams, and email simply can’t keep up the pace. Which is why to date, ModSquad shares more than 50 Slack channels with clients.


Collaborating with clients while meeting stringent security and compliance needs

Sisense is an enterprise grade, cross-cloud data analytics platform that infuses analytics everywhere for customers and partners that include the likes of Amazon Web Services, Snowflake, Air Canada and Nasdaq. Last year, Sisense acquired Periscope Data to build out an end-to-end business analytics platform that pairs Sisense’s business intelligence chops with Periscope Data’s data science specialization. Since the Periscope team was already communicating with its customers in Slack, it made sense for Sisense to make the switch.

ty sbano sisense slack connect

“With Slack Connect, you're in an environment where you’re in control. You can review and audit interactions happening with the information and all the files are also secured within your environment.”

Ty SbanoChief Information Security and Trust Officer, Sisense

“Before Slack, our communication platforms were not aligned,” says Ty Sbano, chief information security and trust officer of Sisense. “One side primarily used Slack. The other side primarily used email, while also leveraging messaging tools such as WhatsApp and Facebook groups. This choose-your-own adventure approach to communication created huge security risks.”

Now, teams across Sisense work with colleagues and external partners in Slack channels. And instead of firing off emails for quick updates, questions, or feedback, Sisense collaborates with clients in 100 Slack channels.

“As someone that’s been doing security for about 15 years, I’m not going to say I don’t like email,” Sbano says. “It’s just, we use it because we’re so used to it. Whereas with Slack Connect, you’re in an environment where you’re in control. You can review and audit interactions happening with the information and all the files are also secured within your environment.”

sisense security slack connect UI

Sbano also says Slack’s search and archive features make regular security audits much more painless. Before teams at Sisense started working remotely full-time, Sbano’s team would work side-by-side with auditors for up to five weeks. Slack Connect makes it much easier for Sbano to find the information and files the auditor is looking for.

“I wouldn’t know what to do without Slack Connect, as relying on email to collaborate would have been very challenging,” Sbano says. “Slack was a key differentiator for us when it came to compliance work.”

Deciding whether or not it’s safe to open an email from someone who claims to be a colleague should be the last thing workers have to worry about. With Slack Connect, you can rest assured you’re communicating in the safest environment possible.

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