Slack launches new media sharing features and government tier
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During its Dreamforce conference and a month after unveiling integrations with Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Tableau, Salesforce today announced new features headed to Slack that the company says are designed to “build a digital HQ” at enterprises embracing hybrid work. Among them are Slack Clips, which let customers create and share media within messages on Slack, as well as GovSlack, a new version of Slack that runs in a government-certified cloud environment.
“A digital-first approach fosters greater flexibility, inclusivity and productivity, encouraging people to work when and where it is best for them,” reads a Salesforce blog post. “It isn’t about translating our existing work patterns to a virtual space, but rather fundamentally reshaping how work gets done … We’re making it possible to work in a digital HQ where work is simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.”
Slack Clips and Connect
Slack Clips, which is generally available as of today, lets users embed audio, video, and screen recordings within any channel or direct message in Slack. Salesforce says that the playback experience for Clips was designed to be “inclusive and accessible,” allowing users to speed up or slow down the content, watch with captions, and open up the transcript to jump to different parts of the conversation. Recordings made in Slack are archived with searchable transcriptions for posterity.
On the Slack Connect side, Slack unveiled the ability for enterprise customers — specifically Enterprise Grid subscribers — to message anyone in Slack regardless of whether they’re already Slack customers. Slack Connect “sponsored connections” allow a user to host companies without asking them to upgrade to a paid plan. As the blog post explains: “Now sales teams can spin up channels with each of their customers … [and] customer service teams can provide … support to all customers by standardizing external collaboration.”
The expanded Slack Connect comes after the company rolled back a feature in March that let anyone in the world with a paid Slack account send a direct message request to other Slack users — even if they didn’t have a paid account. While Connect direct messages were opt-in, users making the invitations could include a message of up to 560 characters to recipients, which Slack emailed to the recipients. Users who received abusive and threatening messages couldn’t easily block specific senders because Slack sent the notifications from a generalized inbox.
“Following the initial rollout of Slack Connect DMs in March, we … have since added a number of measures to further proactively prevent abuse,” a Salesforce spokesperson told VentureBeat via email. “Some of [these] include [allowing users to] block other users from sending them additional Slack Connect invitations, [limiting] the number of total outstanding invites allowed per user and per team, [making visible in invitations] the check mark denoting a verified organization (meaning Slack has evaluated its authenticity), [allowing verified organizations to] disable Slack Connect DMs from unverified organizations, [and auto-blocking] links and files deemed unsafe via malware scanning detection.”
Salesforce says that Slack Connect, which lets companies create channels shared between multiple Slack servers, has grown more than 200% year-over-year. Over 91,000 organizations have opted into the service since it launched in late 2020.
“The measures we’ve implemented are part of our continued effort to ensure that Slack Connect is safe and secure,” the spokesperson continued, “and to provide a good experience for those who need to communicate with people outside their organization to get work done.”
GovSlack, which was also announced today, is designed for public sector customers with greater compliance requirements than Enterprise Grid provides. Running in the cloud, Salesforce says that it complies with “the highest security and operational requirements of the federal government,” including FedRAMP High and DoD IL4 certifications.
“Although the Covid-19 pandemic spurred many government agencies to adapt technologically, the sensitive nature of public-sector work requires highly secure, government-certified solutions that often limit choices,” reads the blog post.
The launch of GovSlack comes roughly a year after Salesforce released Government Cloud Plus, a dedicated cloud instance of Salesforce’s Customer 360 and other platforms isolated for U.S. federal, state, and local government customers. GovSlack would appear to be a complementary offering — and a part of a larger move on Salesforce’s part to secure a bigger slice of the public sector market.
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