Could using consumer messaging apps put your job at threat? | SaltDNA

Could using consumer messaging apps put your job at threat?

12/12/2019 | Daisy McElherron

With the emergence of consumer messaging apps, as another form of communication, people are spending more and more of their time on social media apps.

With the emergence of consumer messaging apps, as another form of communication, people are spending more and more of their time on social media apps. In particular, employees are becoming increasingly reliant on consumer messaging apps for business purposes, in addition to traditional business communications, such as: email and unified communications. Consumer apps including the likes of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber and many more. While there are benefits to using such apps the dangers these pose to businesses outweigh the benefits. The likes of WhatsApp was never built with the intention of being used by businesses, yet it has been widely adopted by companies because of its user-friendly services, even though they do not offer the level of security needed when being used for professional matters.

According to a study by 451 research approximately 2 in every 4 employees use consumer messaging apps for business purposes. With over 70% of employees using smart phones and tablets for business purposes this figure is no shock. Most of these employees are using consumer- grade apps that lack the physical and technical safeguards necessary for enterprise communications. Raul Castanon-Martinez, Senior Analyst, Workforce Collaboration at 451 stated: “there’s a concerning discrepancy between the rate at which employees are increasingly using consumer mobile messaging and how well companies are regulating and securing this usage.” By businesses allowing their employees to use consumer apps, they are risking the safety and privacy of the company’s plans, customer contacts and other sensitive information. When it comes to communication technology it is crucial for messaging apps to provide optimal privacy and scalability.

The shift from traditional business communications to consumer messaging apps opens the door to privacy, compliance and security risks that IT decision-makers did not previously have to worry about within a closed, hardware-centric environment that was completely controlled and managed by IT. Consumer messaging apps are vulnerable to unexpected leaks of confidential data - whether it be accidental or intentional. Take for example, WhatsApp, Tech Republic Security Researchers revealed that deleted chats are not actually erased but are instead, hidden and archived in the app’s database store, leaving confidential information vulnerable to potential leaks. TechRepublic Security Researchers have found that in the case of WhatsApp, deleted chats aren’t actually erased but instead of hidden and archived in the app’s database store. We therefore ask ourselves the following questions about consumer messaging apps:

1. How private and secure is your data?

When using a consumer messaging app all data is owned by that particular app vendor and they cannot guarantee that messages and shared files remain confidential.

2. Who is protecting your intellectual property?

Consumer messaging apps risk the safety and privacy of an organization's consumer contacts and their sensitive information. Particularly because you have no control when an employee leaves, so all conversations move with them.

3. Where is the administrative power?

Consumer messaging apps do not give companies a way to manage and streamline company communications and ensure that every employee is onboard with the right access and permissions.

So what can businesses use instead of consumer messaging apps?

The answer is simple. Businesses must find alternative methods of communicating which protects data and fully secures sensitive corporate conversations. Enterprise messaging apps bring the most added value in difficult, time-consuming and costly business processes, they offer the same experience as a consumer app but in a more secure manner. Enterprise apps give companies the ability to manage and streamline company communications, something consumer apps do not allow. Many companies are putting themselves at risk by failing to deploy such a platform. It is expected that secure enterprise mobile messaging apps will emerge from the shadow of consumer messaging apps.

There have been numerous examples of consumer apps that have compromised a business’ security policy. For example, WhatsApp has recently announced a big change to its privacy policy allowing its parent company Facebook to get usage of some user data gathered by the app for ad-targeting purposes. Or even more recently, Signal messenger’s eavesdropping exploit compromised the privacy of its users in September 2019.

Consumer apps have no corporate admin portals to ensure easy roll-out and user management, monitoring of usage, company wide policies and data loss prevention. They are part of an open system that allows for internal interactions. While enterprise apps are designed as a closed system to support businesses and their confidential data and information. This is a key reason why enterprise apps tend to be more expensive than consumer apps, however, it is a worthwhile investment if it means all communication of data and confidential business information are protected.

Before choosing a messaging app to use in the workplace, managers of organisations should evaluate the data protection, security compliance, productivity and business risks associated with the options. Enterprise messaging apps, such as SaltDNA, offer the safest option. SaltDNA is a leading secure enterprise mobile messaging platform which ensures the highest grade of secure communications and the utmost protection of sensitive information. Using the likes of the SaltDNA solution will provide the following:

  • Secure messaging and voice calls (one-to-one and conferencing), group communications and the secure sharing of confidential and non-confidential files
  • Central administration
  • Message broadcasting functions
  • Integrations to create a seamless workflow with other enterprise solutions
  • Authentication and compliance
  • Ownership of data: own and control all communication of data by setting data management policy, rather than the app vendor.
  • High grade end-to-end encryption
  • Closed User Groups
  • Flexible deployment options
  • Branding capabilities
  • Additional security protocols such as ability to detect screenshots and block downloading of documents for chosen users

To avail of a free trial of the award winning SaltDNA secure communications platform please contact our sales team on sales@saltdna.com.

About SaltDNA

SaltDNA, ranked in the top half in the Cybersecurity 500, provides a fully enterprise-managed software solution that enables absolute privacy in mobile communications. It is easy to deploy and uses multi-layered encryption techniques to meet the highest of security standards. SaltDNA offer ‘Peace of Mind’ for Organisations who value their privacy, by giving them complete control and secure communications, to protect their trusted relationships and stay safe. SaltDNA is headquartered in Belfast, Ireland, for more information visit www.saltdna.com.