CEO's Corner

Securing Communications in 2020 — The Ugly, The Bad and The Good of Mobile Messaging

Anurag Lal Anurag Lal, President and CEO of Infinite Convergence.

As IT decision makers map out their priorities for 2020, securing communications should be at the top of the list. An examination of the good, the bad and the ugly of mobile messaging clearly illustrates why securing enterprise messaging should be an imperative for organizations large and small.

The Ugly

When enterprise communications are not secure, things can get very ugly. It can get even worse when enterprise realizes that it has no IT or administrative control! This is happening more and more, and the reason is very simple – the use of unsecure consumer mobile messaging apps like WhatsApp for business communications leading to the risk of non-compliance and data breach that no enterprise can no longer afford to ignore

Compliance is key in industries like finance, healthcare, and legal that are governed by strict regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd-Frank and FINRA to name a few. However, any business sector is vulnerable, considering that sensitive and private information is exchanged across all enterprises. Using legacy/fragmented enterprise communications solutions or consumer-grade messaging tools can escalate this vulnerability putting an organization at risk for litigation and fines.

The ugly truth is that messaging platforms not purpose built for the enterprise don’t have the administrative, physical, and technical safeguards to comply with regulatory requirements. Organizations should specifically look for a secure enterprise messaging service that offers the technical requirements, audit controls, and additional measures required by regulations.

It can get even uglier for organizations that don’t use messaging platforms built for the enterprise. Data security is an area that can be compromised when organizations use messaging solutions that are not meant for professional communication. In fact, security risks are rising for companies as business communications increasingly shift to consumer messaging applications on mobile devices. A major downside of consumer-grade messaging apps infiltrating the workplace are the security loopholes and threats these apps bring with them that can lead to costly data breaches.

Data breaches continue to make headlines and can be an ugly reality for enterprises making use of generic messaging platforms. The clear and present danger of security breaches is illustrated in these alarming statistics:

In addition to the negative financial impact, data breaches undermine an organization’s credibility and damage its reputation. And while the financial cost of recovering from a major data breach can be staggering, it can take years to regain the trust of customers and partners following a data loss, time that translates into missed growth opportunities.

The Bad

The increasing use of consumer-grade messaging apps coupled with the slow adoption of enterprise collaboration platforms is bad news for enterprises. Why? Because these factors can result in fragmented collaboration, a limited role for IT and poses security risks to a business.

The rise of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has led to increased employee use of consumer-grade messaging apps. This increased usage is bad for enterprises because popular consumer messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat lack central management capabilities and don’t contain critical encryption and security protocols needed to lock down communication and align with compliance and regulatory laws.

The slow adoption of most corporate-issued collaboration platforms and the lack of support for secure mobile messaging is also bad news for enterprises.

Messaging has surpassed email as the primary means of enterprise communication and is here to stay. But when messaging is used to share information in the enterprise, it needs to be shared on a secure mobile messaging platform that was actually built for the enterprise.

A research study released last year by Infinite Convergence, in conjunction with 451 Research, found that organizations still tend to address mobility as an added feature, rather than a mission-critical capability. The study noted that security and productivity are key priorities for IT decision-makers when it comes to business communications, but there are gaps in providing the right technologies for the modern work environment.

The Good

The good news is that enterprise-grade messaging and mobility solutions like NetSfere provide encrypted conversations end-to-end, while giving corporate IT full control over communications relationships. This robust, secure and scalable enterprise messaging solution offers the features of consumer chat apps while bringing together the ultimate combination of collaboration, productivity, security and compliance that is unmatched when compared to third-party consumer messaging services.

The best news of all for IT decision makers prioritizing secure communications in 2020, is the power of secure enterprise mobile messaging platforms like NetSfere to remove barriers to collaboration and offer a more seamless, secure approach to workplace communication.