Instant messaging at the office has been a workplace reality – and necessity – since 1997, when AOL, Inc. launched AIM. Over the past 20 years, though, instant messaging has evolved from away messages and embarrassing usernames to a very real way for companies to communicate and collaborate internally.

AIM has since fallen to the wayside, made obsolete by newer instant messaging and collaboration platforms with a whole host of capabilities. Among the most popular are Slack, Cisco Spark, Skype, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Teams. After trying them all, we landed on Spark for our internal group chatting needs – and it’s what we recommend to our customers, too.

So, what can Cisco Spark do?

Cisco’s flagship collaboration platform can literally do it all. We’ve got team members working from around the world, but Spark makes it possible for our team to work together in real time, thanks to video calls, voice calls, screen sharing, and easy document transfer from any device.

Aside from how user-friendly the Spark application is, one of the biggest reasons we use this particular platform at Rhize is security. Security is pretty much everyone’s greatest concern in today’s digital age, and for good reason (we wrote about cyber security last week). Collaboration platforms these days often contain just as much sensitive information as email accounts, so it comes as no surprise that users worry about the safety of those platforms, too.

We’re big fans of the peace of mind we get from Spark. Our team is pinging each other all day long about customer orders, client information, and confidential internal goings-on, and we do so knowing that all that data is safely encrypted end-to-end from within the Spark application. Every shared file and typed-out conversation is processed and stored within the platform, where it gets encrypted to ensure it stays safe. Additional security controls and the Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol (SRTP) for live voice and video calls pretty much make Spark the Fort Knox of collaboration platforms, and that’s why we love it. You can never be too careful with sensitive data – especially if it belongs to someone else!

For so many of our customers in healthcare and education, Spark’s security features line up perfectly with their needs, storing information on everything from medical records to transcripts and behavior reports.

Rhize Tech’s loyalty to Spark shouldn’t deter you from looking into any of the other collaboration apps out there, though – we’re happy to talk through each one’s offerings with you, too, to help you find what will work best for your business.

Here are a few helpful links on the positives and negatives of each platform:

Cisco Spark and Slack: Product Comparison

Physical Spaces: Next Cisco vs. Microsoft Battlefront?

Cisco Spark Has One Big Advantage Over Slack (And It’s Not Video)