By Nicole Allen, Senior Marketing Executive at Salt Communications
Many organisations use WhatsApp for routine business interactions even though it has been designed as a personal and social messaging service. The fact that almost everyone has it downloaded on their phone provides a significant threat to businesses where WhatsApp is being used.
Organisations across the globe continue to use WhatsApp more regularly, as well as the likes of Signal. By turning a blind eye to the use of these insecure messaging platforms, you are posing an additional threat to the organisation and the security of the information being exchanged.
The following are some of the key reasons that your company should reconsider using WhatsApp for communication:
WhatsApp literally states it shouldn’t be used for business purposes
The fact that using WhatsApp for business purposes is officially against their own policy is one of the crucial reasons why private and public sector organisations should not use it. WhatsApp makes it clear that the use of their system for professional matters is against its terms of service.
“You will not use (or assist others in using) our Services in ways that:
(f) involve any non-personal use of our Services unless otherwise authorised by us.”
Your employees are putting your organisation at considerable danger of security breaches and data breaches if they use WhatsApp for work-related communications on their personal or corporate mobile devices. Employees continue to use WhatsApp for business interactions every day despite the numerous legal, security, moral, and financial hazards that come with it.
How did WhatsApp become the preferred tool for businesses?
Although the usage of illicit communications predates COVID, the pandemic increased the practice as the boundaries between personal and professional lives blurred. This trend has continued as remote and hybrid working has carried on in a post COVID era. During the pandemic and after, organisations put a focus on productivity rather than security and in some cases, compliance. It meant that when lockdown hit, professionals operated within a home environment with no monitoring as there would be in an office.
Therefore, if employees are using unauthorised apps for work communications, organisations need to consider data governance risks that could occur. There is a higher level of control if people use an authorised application to communicate, such as establishing retention periods to protect the users holding sensitive information for an extended period, and compliance configurations.
Any organisation that uses consumer messaging platforms for business communication runs the risk of having confidential information stored and published without restriction if personal and business data are combined. Organisations have zero control over private communications, which poses a significant security and compliance risk.
It is proving costly to some of the world’s largest organisations
While WhatsApp could be deemed to be a practical tool for companies to communicate with customers or colleagues, some of the biggest financial institutions in the world have found themselves feeling the significant impact of why you should not be using WhatsApp, Signal and other systems for business communications.
Last year, more than a dozen powerful banks, including JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, paid fines totaling more than $2 billion (£1.6 billion) for failing to keep an eye on messages exchanged through non compliant consumer messaging apps like WhatsApp. In recent news you may have also seen the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has just levied eye-watering fines on some of the largest FIs in the world, totaling $549 million for the same reason as well as using Signal, another consumer messaging system which provides no control to the organisation.
Consumer messaging systems are a real threat to all organisations. Whether it’s client communications where legal or financial advice is being provided or if employees are conversing with one another on unsecure messaging apps and their conversations occasionally touch on work-related issues, then those conversations would be governed by the data protection law. However the use of WhatsApp, Signal and others are continuing to increase across every vertical, from finance, to law firms for internal comms and client communications, to even policing, handling national security matters through these means of communication. With no control, organisations have no security or compliance boundaries.
Make the right switch for your business
The general public can be excused for not being aware of the dangers associated with using WhatsApp but it is getting increasingly difficult for businesses to ignore the matter.
Numerous departments face difficulties with regard to information security and compliance due to WhatsApp security threats on a daily basis. When employees use WhatsApp for work without authorisation, these are the greatest hazards because security and compliance personnel are blind to the risk exposure.
A dedicated secure communications system created specifically for workplace communication is without a doubt the most effective way to keep your business communications secure and your staff more engaged when all of the aforementioned concerns are taken into account. To meet the needs of governance and risk requirements, organisations must have complete visibility and control all of their communications at all times. That control ranges from controlling who is invited to the system, who those users can then communicate with when on the system, data storage and retention policies, and further integrations which may be required.
If you want total control over your communication system, consider Salt Communications as either a SaaS or on-premise solution. The Salt solution can be readily installed on your preferred infrastructure and is perfect for regulatory compliance and advanced security requirements that consumer messaging apps wouldn’t protect your organisation against.
There is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to maintain total control over your corporate data if a secure communications system is in place. Ditch the worry today by using a secure WhatsApp alternative.
To ditch the worry of insecure communications, contact us today on email@example.com
About Salt Communications
Salt Communications is a multi-award winning cyber security company providing a fully enterprise-managed software solution giving absolute privacy in mobile communications. It is easy to deploy and uses multi-layered encryption techniques to meet the highest of security standards. Salt Communications offers ‘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. Salt Communications is headquartered in Belfast, N. Ireland, for more information visit Salt Communications.
About the Author
Nicole Allen, Senior Marketing Executive at Salt Communications. Nicole has been working within the Salt Communications Marketing team for several years and has played a crucial role in building Salt Communications reputation. Nicole implements many of Salt Communications digital efforts as well as managing Salt Communications presence at events, both virtual and in person events for the company.