Hybrid Work, Data Privacy, and More: An IT EXPO 2023 Panel

By Bill Yates March 08, 2023

Yes, the work world has gone hybrid. But people still need to collaborate with each other to get things done. So, how is office collaboration different in today’s distributed world with its gone-virtual preferences? 

Andy Abramson, CEO and founder of Comunicano, helmed a panel at ITEXPO (News - Alert) 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, FL that tackled this topic head on. Abramson, based in Las Vegas, helps MSPs sell or find partners. He’s conducted more than 500 exits in a little more than 20 years. 

“It used to be that I was working from home,” Abramson said. “Now, I’m a hybrid worker.” 

Abramson began by asking whether or not we actually need to see each other when we meet on the internet. “Do we need video for every single meeting?”

“Yes, in fact, we do,” said speaker Jeff Kubick, Head of Global Voice Service Provider Marketing at Poly (News - Alert), now part of HP’s portfolio of hybrid work solutions. His company markets headsets and audio/video conferencing services to businesses. 

Kubick said audio-only conferences can pose the dangers of false engagement. “Everybody’s getting more comfortable with video,” he said. You can’t gain that full engagement if you can’t see their eyes,” was his opinion.

Right now, there’s little consistency of platform use that’s dictated from the corporate level. Whether you meet on Zoom or on Microsoft (News - Alert) Teams, “it depends upon who’s setting up the calls; that’s who typically determines which platform is used,” Kubick said. 

Abramson shared how he’s also concerned with data privacy issues surrounding video camera usage. He said people should be notified each time they’re being videoed over the web, because lots of times people don’t know. “There should be a light or some sort of notification that lets you know your camera is in use,” he said. “Some systems have this; more need it.”

The imposition of data privacy rules had a big impact on the use of collaboration tools, according to speaker Iago Soto Mata, Chief Marketing Officer at QUOBIS, a telecomm-services software provided headquartered in Pontevedra, Spain. His company develops unified communications tools for niche markets, such as emergency services. 

Since Mata is from Europe, the panel began with a discussion of how collaboration in Europe differs from collaboration in America. One word explains it:


In most of Europe, cross-border collaboration tools aren’t permitted, Mata explained. Each country – and sometimes each region – produces their own set of privacy regulations that impact the use of local collaboration tools.

“In Europe, we have lots of regulations,” Mata said. “Tons. It’s crazy.” 

Harboring data outside the European Union (EU) is forbidden. “We have to make sure than all the data remains on the continent,” Mata added. 

Data privacy is still a big issue. In 2016, the EU published its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The goal of the edict was to provide individuals with greater control over how their data is deployed.

As a result, collaboration tools are limited to local branches within each country. “It’s a point-of-view completely different from the United States,” Mata said. 

While regulations may be easier to work with in America, “data responsibility varies from vendor to vendor,” Kubick said.

So, read the Terms & Conditions portions of your contracts these days, especially with a close eye on data privacy.

Edited by Alex Passett
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Communications Correspondent


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