Not All Communication Tools Are Created Equal: The Security Imperative of Enterprise Messaging
All communication and collaboration tools are not created equal and not all are suitable for enterprise use. This is especially true when it comes to protecting privacy, security and compliance. WhatsApp and Zoom are two examples of communication technologies that pose security threats and compliance risks to enterprises. As the COVID-19 crisis makes remote working the new norm and security risks increase, purpose-built enterprise messaging solutions are imperative to securely supporting and connecting a distributed workforce.
The co-existence of enterprise and consumer applications in single devices is blurring judgement on the right tools for the enterprise environment and putting a strain on security. As employees increasingly turn to familiar and easy-to-use tools like WhatsApp and Zoom for business communication, the security threat to enterprises increases right along with that usage.
Popular consumer apps sometimes make their way into the enterprise and this is certainly the case with WhatsApp which has more than two billion users. As WhatsApp and other consumer messaging apps infiltrate the workplace, enterprises face very real security risks and threats.
A study conducted by NetSfere and Mobile Ecosystem Forum on messaging at work found that usage of non-regulated consumer messaging apps is common in the workplace, with 50% of respondents indicating they use these apps for mobile work communications. The report also found that employees are using these messaging apps to share a range of potentially sensitive business information with 29% of respondents indicating they share documents and 25% saying they share contacts including personal details like phone numbers.
Consumer-grade messaging apps were not developed for the enterprise and by default don’t provide the security, management and controls organizations need. As the workforce becomes more mobile and distributed, a trend that has accelerated amidst the COVID-19 crisis, many enterprises are turning to technology to connect employees and facilitate real-time communication and collaboration. Secure, purpose-built enterprise mobile communication platforms should be foundational in organizational plans to evolve with new working norms now and after the crisis has passed.
The surge in remote working fueled by the coronavirus has also exponentially increased usage of Zoom. Users of this app increased from 10 million in December of 2019 to 300 million in April of 2020. Growing adoption of Zoom in the day-to-day workplace intensified scrutiny of its security practices as they were quickly identified with the increased use, resulting in widely reported security shortcomings and issues.
Unlike messaging apps designed with the consumer in mind, Zoom was in fact developed as an enterprise application. However, the problem for organizations is that when put under a microscope, Zoom seems to be more of a consumer app masquerading as an enterprise communication platform.
Zoom designed its platform with an easy-to use interface that continues to attract users. While on the surface this helps with usability, the creation of that simple UX seems to be at the expense of enterprise security. The company recently announced Zoom 5.0 to address some of these security failings, but this latest version is still missing a critical enterprise security standard - full end-to-end encryption.
New mobile and remote working paradigms accelerated by the pandemic are creating a business imperative for solutions that enhance employee communication, collaboration and productivity without sacrificing security. As the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold, these solutions are becoming critical to business continuity.
Industries ranging from healthcare to legal to government and many others can turn to NetSfere for a reliable, secure mobile messaging solution that supports an agile working environment without compromising the security, compliance or reliability of the enterprise IT environment.