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Survey Finds 70 Percent of IT Executives Worried About Employees Using Consumer-Oriented Chat Apps for Business Communication

CHICAGO, Sept. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Almost 70 percent of companies are concerned about employees using third-party messaging and chat apps to communicate and send documents internally, according to a survey of IT decision-makers.

Infinite Convergence Solutions, a next-generation wireless messaging and mobility solutions provider for carriers and enterprises, released the findings today as part of its 2014 Enterprise Internal Messaging Trends study. Infinite Convergence surveyed close to 400 CIOs, CTOs, and IT directors and managers on their companies' policies, preferences and concerns about how their employees are communicating with each other and exchanging sensitive information.

The study also found that 59 percent of IT decision-makers think third-party messaging apps and chat tools are insecure for enterprise communication, and 41 percent of companies ban the use of one or more third-party chat apps. Additionally, while 84 percent indicate that internal enterprise messaging systems are a more secure option, less than half currently use an internal messaging service.

"IT executives are starting to realize that their companies' sensitive internal information is being exchanged between employees through insecure third-party platforms outside of their control," said Anurag Lal, president and CEO of Infinite Convergence. "But many also don't see the value in setting up expensive, internal messaging services that are difficult to use across all of their employees' devices. IT decision-makers are ready for the next generation of highly secure, but simple and intuitive internal messaging solutions for the enterprise."

Banning Third-Party Messaging Apps

The study found that at least a quarter of companies ban some of the most popular apps and chat tools for internal communication, including Google Chat (30 percent), WhatsApp (29 percent), weChat (27 percent), Skype (26 percent) and iMessage (26 percent).

Email is considered the most secure way to communicate enterprise information, according to the IT executives surveyed, with 89 percent considering it a secure medium. The study also found that only one-third of companies mandate that internal communications outside of email go through a corporate-controlled messaging system.

"The number of IT executives that still allow employees to communicate enterprise information over third-party chat apps is shocking, especially considering how few believe they are secure," said Lal. "Email is considered most secure, but email also doesn't allow employees to communicate in real-time, so many IT execs seem to be turning a blind eye to how their employees are communicating when they need a quicker and easier solution than email. This indicates that there may be another factor in the works -- that IT decision-makers are wary of the current enterprise messaging solutions available."

Use of Personal Devices

When it comes to Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policies, 41 percent of survey respondents indicated that more than half of their employees use personal devices for internal messaging and to access company information. Two out of three executives said they are concerned about employees using their personal devices to communicate and send business-related documents and information, and more than half are concerned about former employees still having access to company information on their personal devices after they leave.

Additionally, of the respondents who said they currently have a regulated internal messaging system in place for employees, more than half said they cannot remotely wipe information sent through that system from an employee's device.

"There are plenty of problems with employees using their personal devices to communicate company information," said Lal. "Perhaps they're using an insecure app to share documents with a colleague. Even if they're using a regulated enterprise messaging system, if that person's device is lost or stolen, or if that employee is let go, they may still have access to all of the company data that was stored on their device."

Internal Messaging Opportunities for Enterprises

The study also found that 77 percent of enterprise IT executives indicate a highly secure, simple and intuitive internal messaging service would be valuable compared to their current enterprise communication system. Businesses need a way for employees to communicate in real-time beyond the lengths of email, with the user-friendliness of third-party chat apps and the security of email, Lal said.

"IT executives can no longer ignore the need for a messaging system that gives employees what they want from a third-party app -- such as a user-friendly interface and the ability to communicate even in instances of spotty service -- without sacrificing security," said Lal.

The Infinite Convergence 2014 Internal Enterprise Messaging Trends Study

Infinite Convergence Solutions surveyed 397 IT enterprise decision-makers on their policies and concerns about internal enterprise communications, including third-party apps and BYOD policies. Findings were evaluated based on demographic qualifiers, including currently held position in the enterprise. The survey was conducted online between Aug. 19 and 25.

To receive more information about the 2014 Internal Enterprise Messaging Trends Study, visit Infinite Convergence at CTIA Super Mobility Week Sept. 9 through Sept. 11 at booth 4461.

About Infinite Convergence:

Infinite Convergence provides innovative messaging and mobility solutions and next-generation wireless communication technologies to mobile operators and enterprises. Currently supporting more than 500 million subscribers globally, Infinite Convergence offers a complete range of scalable Enterprise Messaging Services, Rich Communication Suite, Converged Messaging, Public Safety Messaging, SMS, MMS, and Gateway solutions for businesses and Tier 1 wireless operators globally. Headquartered outside Chicago, Infinite Convergence has a business presence in the USA, Germany, United Kingdom, India and Singapore. Infinite Convergence Solution is a wholly owned subsidiary of Infinite Computer Solutions.

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