User Visibility and its Importance to Collaboration

There's a good chance you’ve never even heard of the term ‘user visibility’ but if you’re concerned about the security and confidentiality of your workflow or communications, it's a term you should definitely add to your vocabulary.

The basics

In its simplest sense, user visibility is the ability for a user in an online communication environment to be able to see who the other users in the same environment are. So can I, ‘user one’, see that ‘user two’ and ‘user three’ are also in the environment? Or perhaps I may only be given permission to see that ‘user two’ is in the environment but not ‘user three’.

Now it may seem pretty confusing as to why it even matters if users can see what other people are present, and after all, we all have access to the same service and the data within it, so why does it matter? There are a number of examples where user visibility is crucial in providing you complete security and can also help you build a business advantage as well.

Why the experts care

In a theoretical sense this seems like a concept that would be unlikely to give you many concrete benefits but when you drill into just a couple of potential use cases you can see the advantages it could provide your business. For example you may be an architecture firm sharing a proposal with a number of construction companies competing for a contract to build a design. Using a DekkoVAULT HUB with restricted permission for user visibility, these companies can all access these confidential designs without being able to view who their competitors for the contract are. If they were to know this, as they would in most typical file sharing hubs, this may influence their bidding for example putting in a higher price then they otherwise would if they know their competitor tends to bid high.

Another use case may be a law firm sharing a standardised document, sent to multiple clients. However under a typical file sharing platform, the clients accessing this file could view other users on the sharing service, removing peer-peer confidentiality and exposing the firm to a legal threat. Restricting user visibility on DekkoVAULT solves this problem, by making all clients an ‘external user’ (see diagram below), clients have no ability to see who else is on the Dekko, ensuring the firm maintains full security and meets their legal obligations.

Most file sharing platforms, even those who are marketed as highly secure, do not provide the option to restrict user visibility. At Dekko we integrated it into our DekkoVAULT platform after consulting a number of high profile clients and realising the security improvements it creates as well as the potential for business competitive advantage.

The techy side

User visibility on the Dekko platform is managed through our HUBS, which is an integral feature of our Vault, Sign, Chat and Mail products. A Dekko HUBS is an isolated environment where users can share work, ideas and projects to users within the same HUB. All files and data shared in this environment are end-to-end encrypted to provide complete security.

When creating a DekkoVAULT HUB,there are three different user types:

  • External members can only be seen by members who are ‘Visible to External’. They cannot see other external members. An example use case would be adding a customer to a circle where you do not want them to see other customers or employees.

  • Visible to External members can be seen by all other circle members regardless of type. An example user of this may be someone interacting with both customers and managers and thus should be visible to both.

  • Invisible to External members can only be seen by non-external members. An example use case would be for a manager that can view discussion in a circle and be seen by employees, but not customers.

In a traditional file sharing platform an administrator may try to avoid the security risk of users knowing the identity of other users by simply creating individual networks or hubs with every user. However this becomes a big issue at scale. What happens when you want to update a file that you have individually shared with 30 different clients, you now have to update this file on 30 different networks rather than simply updating the master copy as you would on the DekkoVAULT system.

If you want more information on our end-to-end encrypted, file sharing platform visit us at

We also offer a complete product suite of integrated, end-to-end encrypted collaboration tools including video conferencing, email, chat and document signing, to find out more about these visit us at