Slack wants to replace email, and thinks this new tool can finally make it happen

Slack Connect lets companies chat with up to 20 other external organizations, instantaneously and securely.

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Slack has announced Slack Connect, a new capability for its enterprise communication software allowing business-to-business communication within secure chat channels.

Slack Connect allows companies to communicate with up to 20 others outside of their organization. The idea is that multiple organizations working together on projects can take their communication out of siloed email inboxes and into Slack, allowing them to get work done faster.

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Hold on: did Slack just kill emails?

It certainly looks as though the company hopes to pioneer the next big thing in electronic communication, going so far as to say in its product announcement that Slack Connect has been designed with the intention of "replacing email and taking business collaboration to the next level".

It's a bold claim, but there is some substance to the sentiment. Email is regularly an avenue for phishing scams and other forms of cybercrime. By using Slack Connect, businesses can set up secure communication channels with vendors, clients and business partners.

"Email is an open front door to security threats to an organization—$12 billion in losses are caused by business email scams, and 90% of data breaches are from phishing," said Larkin Ryder, Slack's chief security officer.

"If you want a more secure collaboration solution for your organization, the first thing you can do is take your employees out of email and into Slack," he said.

Alongside data loss prevention, retention and e-discovery tools, Slack provides enterprise key management via AWS, which gives organizations better control over their data and who can view it.

At the same time, Slack Connect offers the same instantaneous back-and-forth communication that one would expect for a workplace communication platform: rather than dwelling on crafting a perfectly-worded email, and putting up with the inevitable delay before receiving a response, organizations can communicate instantly and in real time, thus cutting through the chaff and getting business done quicker.

The same goes for meetings: instead of trying to negotiate a time and date where people across numerous organizations are free, Slack Connect will feature integration with Gmail and Outlook that will scan calendars across multiple organizations and suggest available meeting slots based on availability.

Slack Connect is available now for all paying Slack customers. Whether Slack can really challenge email – which has seen off plenty of contenders over the years – remains to be seen. Nonetheless, it's a forward-thinking new step by a company that has championed in-office communication to look at how it can use its expertise to connect external workplaces – while making collaboration just as easy.

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