Self-Hosted Messengers and Chat Apps for Enterprises – Important Requirements

Enterprises often want to have full control of the data and thus the servers of the software which they use. This is important to ensure maximum data protection and security.

Teamwire, Sep 09 2017

Those enterprises require a self-hosted solution of a messenger or chat app, which can be deployed in a private cloud or the on-premise infrastructure of the business.

 

Most of the US vendors of messengers and chat apps for enterprises only provide cloud solutions. Microsoft Teams, Cisco Spark, Slack and several other chat based collaboration tools from the USA are only offered as cloud services. Enterprise messengers like Teamwire that are provided as self-hosted solutions for on-premise and private cloud infrastructures are an exception nowadays. However, especially many European enterprises and public sector organizations need a self-hosted solution of a messenger and chat app due to data protection, security, compliance and regulatory reasons. Today we want to have look what requirements a professional self-hosted messenger and chat app should fulfill in order to be a good fit for enterprises and public sector organizations:

 

1. Easy Installation of the Software

 

The software of the messenger should be very easy to set up for an enterprise in a self-hosted infrastructure. Ideally the software should require only a minimal number of firewall changes and should be available in a container that to a large extent does the installation by itself.

 

2. Scalable Solution for Medium-Sized Businesses and Large Enterprises

 

The chat app should provide a scalable solution for a self-hosted infrastructure that works reliably not only for small businesses but for medium-sized enterprises and large corporations as well. An on-premise or private cloud server of the messenger should deliver messages, digital content and push notifications reliably for the required number of users of the enterprise.

 

3. High-Availability Architecture and Cluster Setups

 

The chat app should offer high-availability cluster setups for the self-hosted server environment. This is important for enterprises (e.g. healthcare and financial services) and organizations (e.g. emergency services and police) that require 24/7 uptime and want to ensure a maximum service level.

 

4. Minimum Infrastructure Requirements

 

The messenger for the enterprise should work well with as little infrastructure and servers for the self-hosted environment as possible. For example, if a chat app needs 5 servers for an on-premise setup for 100 users, something is clearly not right.

 

5. Multi-Tenant and Multi-Domain Capability

 

Enterprises with different business units and organizations need a chat app which is multi-tenant capable and allows to easily manage tenants individually. Enterprises which use various email domains will require a messenger that is multi-domain capable and creates user directories for the domains automatically.

 

6. Professional Administration

 

The messenger should provide an easy to use and professional administrator portal for the self-hosted infrastructure for the enterprise. In general, businesses require an administrator portal with user administration, access management, service monitoring, organizational policies, communication rules and service configuration.

 

7. Active Directory Synchronization

 

In order to simplify and automate the user management and invitation, the enterprise chat app should feature an LDAP or active directory (AD) import or synchronization. Such a feature saves the administrator of the enterprise a lot of time.

 

8. Easy Roll-Out to User Base and MDM/EMM Support

 

The enterprise messenger should enable an easy and fast roll-out to all employees. Therefore the chat app should support mobile device management (MDM) and enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions like MobileIron and Airwatch, and should allow automated roll-outs on mobile devices.

 

9. WhatsApp User Experience and Cross-Platform Apps

 

In order to be accepted by the employees as a WhatsApp alternative for the enterprise and ensure maximum productivity, the self-hosted messenger should provide a Whatsapp user experience and feature set on all clients and provide apps for all mobile and desktop platforms.

 

10. API and Integration in the IT Ecosystem

 

The integration of a chat app into the IT ecosystem of the enterprise is an increasingly important productivity topic: Workflows can be accelerated, processes can be automated, the information exchange can be optimized and employees get more productive. Therefore a self-hosted chat app should offer an open API and integrations into the IT ecosystem of the enterprise.

 

11. Strong Data Protection

 

The self-hosted messenger should meet the data protection requirements of the enterprise. Thus the messenger should comply with national data protection laws and the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and should ensure privacy be design and data economy (e.g. no address book storage and no meta data analysis).

 

12. Leading Security

 

The chat app for the enterprise should provide strong encryption in order to protect all data. The meta data, the messages and the digital content should be strongly encrypted by the messenger during the transmission and when stored on the devices and the self-hosted server.

 

13. Audit and Compliance Features

 

The enterprise chat app should offer an audit-proof archive of all the messages of the employees and comprehensive audit logs. In addition, the messenger should provide all required policies to ensure company-wide compliance.

 

14. Comprehensive Documentation and Professional Support

 

The self-hosted chat app should come with an extensive documentation and offer professional enterprise support (ideally by integrators and professional services).

 

15. Regular Updates

 

In order to ensure innovation, product lead, security and maintenance, the messenger should deliver regular updates for the apps and the self-hosted server.

If you are looking for a self-hosted messenger and chat app, please take a look at Teamwire and contact us for a more detailed evaluation of requirements for your enterprise.

Related Reads

Security

Emergency Recovery Plan

In March, a fire at the data center of the French cloud infrastructure company OVH disrupted, and in some cases destroyed, the services of many companies. Some customers lost data. To protect customer data and ensure high availability of our service, Teamwire has emergency recovery plans in place for such scenarios.

Thought Leadership

10 Top Tips: Here’s how your employees will use Teamwire right away

It is quite human: not every employee is happy when a change in the organizational environment is imminent. Find out how your employees can better accept a new solution and integrate it firmly into their daily work routine in the blog post.

Thought Leadership

Mobile Team Communication – The Essential Standard in Healthcare

Quickly informed, more time for the patient - With our business messaging app solution, we pursue the goal of building bridges in communication in the social and healthcare system. In this blog post, we describe how we approach and achieve this.