Slack Alternative for Enterprises

8 Benefits of Using an On-premise Messaging Solution for Enterprise

Enterprises have a rising need for rapid communication between teams, departments, locations, clients, and partners. Cloud-based solutions like Slack and Microsoft Teams are popular, but in industries with stringent security requirements, they lack vital functionality for protecting data.

As a result, your enterprise may eventually consider whether it should replace or complement its SaaS-based chat tool with an on-premise one. But is it really worth making the change?

hands typing on computer

The disadvantages of choosing SaaS over on-premise hosting tools

Most large organizations use multiple Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions, accessed through web browsers and mobile apps. With SaaS messaging tools, your messaging data—and data from any files you share—is stored on the provider’s own servers.

Some of the most popular messaging services, like Slack and Microsoft Teams, operate with a SaaS model and therefore store your data in the cloud.

While a SaaS model offers easy access and lower maintenance for the enterprise, there are several drawbacks to using cloud-hosted software.

  • Cybersecurity risks: Recent reports estimate the number of cybersecurity incidents at 27,351 per year. This increasing level of cybercrime makes cloud-hosted solutions for data and messaging inherently risky. When sensitive data, including chat logs and files, is stored externally, there’s always at least a chance that hackers will try to access it.
  • Compliance issues: Many cloud-based messaging apps offer end-to-end encryption to ensure data protection. But for some industries such as legal, financial, and healthcare, this is not enough. Strict security laws continue to make cloud-based messaging apps complicated for enterprises.
  • One-Size-Fits-All: Apps like Slack are designed with out-of-the-box features that many enterprises will find useful. However, every organization has unique needs.  Enterprises in some industries need a high level of customization in order to support their highly-structured workflows.

Cloud software products aimed at a mass audience typically don’t offer the kind of customization that these organizations need. For the enterprise, this can mean complicated workarounds—or choosing an inferior solution that’s more adaptable.

Open computer

8 reasons to choose a messaging solution with on-premise hosting

Large organizations need their technology to be secure, customizable, and practical on both desktop and mobile devices. With that in mind, there are eight key reasons that on-premises solutions can be a superior choice.

1. Increased control over your data security

A recent report showed that 40% of companies experience a cloud-based data breach, and 83% encrypt less than half of the data they store in the cloud. With insights like these, it’s clear that many organizations underestimate data security risks.

Relying on cloud messaging services arguably makes your enterprise more vulnerable simply because your data is connected to the internet. And while giants like Microsoft and Slack have a greater budget for security, they’re also a much bigger target for hackers.  

On-site enterprise messaging solutions offer additional security and disaster recovery compared to cloud options. For instance, by having an on-premise network infrastructure, you can use firewalls for additional protection. You also have greater control over how data is exchanged between different systems, and how staff access it.

2. Fewer compliance worries

Using SaaS solutions can add extra complexity to meeting data regulations like HIPAA. This is because there is no official certification for HIPAA, so you’re merely trusting that your provider has taken sufficient security measures. To use cloud services safely, you’ll usually need additional monitoring, regular risk assessments, and additional security measures like 2-factor authentication.

For EU companies, it’s important to meet GDPR regulations. While many cloud services are compliant, EU companies need to check that their providers are meeting the right standards. For example, cloud data servers must be based in the EU or a a GDPR-compliant country—servers based in the USA do not meet GDPR.

With on-premise hosting, you have complete control over how and where your data is stored. This can often simplify the process of meeting regulations, and arguably reduces your risk of non-compliance.

3. Greater flexibility in deployment and customization

On-premise messaging solutions for enterprises offer greater control over their cloud counterparts — whether you’re using iOS, Android, Linux, or other operating systems. The nature of cloud apps means that you can’t configure them to the same extent that you can on-premise solutions.

What’s more, you can choose and install the exact data infrastructure you want for an on-premise installation. While this sometimes means increased costs up-front, it gives you greater control over the features, workflows, and security measures you use.

For example, Messagenius has an API and SDK that enables you to integrate it with the existing software and tools you use. And thanks to our white label messaging app offering, you can also customize it with your branding.

Computer servers

4. Full ownership of your company data

Any time you use a SaaS system, you leave your data in another company’s hands. You are at the mercy of their staff, their security systems, and their government’s jurisdiction.

While most companies are trustworthy, this lack of control presents a risk. It only takes one rogue employee or hacker at Slack, Microsoft, or other companies to access your data and systems. 

Slack will even hand over your data to law enforcement under certain circumstances, according to their own FAQ. While your enterprise will obviously comply with the law, you must ask yourself who you trust more with your proprietary information—your team, or a third party company?

With on-premise hosting, no other company or entity can control where your data goes or how it’s stored. That’s why Messagenius is a great option when you want a messaging app that keeps your data in-house.

5. Bigger cost savings in the long-term (potentially)

It’s true, there can be a greater setup or installation cost for on-premise communications. However, cloud subscriptions add up over time, often making them more costly than on-premises solutions for enterprises in the long run.

Enterprises can usually afford to take the long term view. Does paying more upfront to avoid subscription fees create a better cost savings overall? If so, on-premise messaging solutions for enterprise make a great alternative to Slack or to Microsoft Teams. While there will be some ongoing maintenance fees, they may work out significantly lower than SaaS subscription costs.

Of course, the most cost-effective solution will always depend on your size, growth rate, tech needs, and the length of time you use the solution. In any case, doing your due diligence is vital. And in the case of industries like healthcare, it’s worth considering if you’ll need to purchase additional security measures to make SaaS options feasible.

6. Improved ability to avoid and plan for downtime

If a cloud-based application goes down due routine maintenance or server issues, you have no control over the issue. And while SaaS companies work hard to avoid outages, 100% uptime isn’t possible. Even global SaaS giants Salesforce experienced an unforeseen outage in 2021, leaving many customers unable to do business normally for several hours.

A major benefit of on-premise messaging is that it lets you maintain your communications infrastructure internally. With the right planning, and the right IT resources, you can minimize downtime—and when it’s absolutely necessary, you can ensure your team is ready for it.

For some organizations, this might mean carrying out key maintenance over a weekend. For others, it might mean using temporary workarounds, or switching to a backup server. Whatever the solution, being able to plan and manage downtime can help you avoid operational issues.

What’s more, hosting on-premises means you still have access to file sharing, messages, and messaging tools if your internet connection goes down.

IT engineer in office

7. Faster support from an in-house team

While some SaaS providers provide excellent customer support, others are less reliable. And when you’re having problems with a globally-adopted SaaS solution, you could be in a queue of thousands of people that also need support. What’s more, some SaaS providers will charge you extra for premium support.

This is where having on-premise IT solutions can be a huge advantage. With an in-house IT team or a trusted partner, you don’t have to rely on support from a stranger in a call center hundreds of miles away.

In addition, your IT support staff will have expertise in your unique messaging infrastructure, often leading to faster or more effective problem resolutions. 

8. Enhanced attractiveness to potential partners and customers

It’s important to consider the implications of your messaging technology not only on your organization, but on other key stakeholders as well. Your organization’s partners and customers may also have proprietary systems and data that need safeguarding.

By demonstrating that security, privacy, and speed are a priority, you can attract and maintain important partners for your enterprise. And in some sectors—like government and healthcare—potential partners and customers will only work with you if you meet set security requirements.


Conclusion

In a post-pandemic world, remote messaging will only become more necessary and more useful. However, the ideal messaging software will depend on the your case, and even if a messaging solution is popular with other companies, it won’t always be right for yours.

Slack and other cloud messaging applications certainly offer out-of-the-box convenience to start. However, cloud-based solutions arguably bring more security risks and costs to your organization, while ultimately reducing your flexibility.

By choosing on-premises messaging solutions, you can enjoy greater control, agility, and longevity—all of which are necessary in the new communication landscape.


Looking for an on-premise messaging solution for enterprises? Check out Messagenius, the instant messaging app that gives you complete control over your data.

Messagenius-Secure-WhatsApp-alternative

5 Reasons Your Business Needs a WhatsApp Alternative and the Best Choice for 2022

68% of your employees would use an internal communications app if it worked correctly. They would not use WhatsApp, Messenger, or social media if other messaging apps built for business were available.

WhatsApp is a popular messaging app, but it simply does not work properly for business use. Its claims of end-to-end encryption and security are over-hyped and false.

Let us explain in more depth why WhatsApp is not an acceptable messaging app for your business.

Why Do You Need A WhatsApp Alternative?

Security, teamwork, and regulatory compliance are the three biggest reasons you need a better messaging app. When your employees use consumer-grade messaging apps, they create vulnerabilities.

  • Personal data becomes available to everyone connected to the user through the contact upload feature. This feature is optional, but many people select it without understanding how it exposes other users’ data.
  • The messaging service is not secure and not controlled by your company. Therefore, you cannot exercise your due diligence to ensure privacy.
  • Employees can expose sensitive company data when they use the file sharing feature. Company files leave your information ecosystem and become unmanageable.

Unlike WhatsApp, a secure enterprise-grade messaging app will correct these deficiencies.

There are even more reasons to look for WhatsApp alternatives. Here are the top five.

Over Half of Your Employees are Already Using an Unapproved Messaging App for Business

A Speakap Study Reveals 53 Percent of Global Frontline Workers Use Messaging Apps Up to Six Times Daily, While 16 Percent Said HR Departments Are Unaware of Such Usage.

Did you catch the two crucial things about those statistics?

  1. Your employees are already using social media and instant messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger. These apps conveniently help many users send messages, make voice and video calls, and support media sharing. Your employees are telling you they want a messaging service.
  2. What they are not telling you is how and when they are using a separate app for group chats, screen sharing, video calling, voice calls, and file sharing. You simply do not know the scale of the risk your business faces.

WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and other WhatsApp alternatives are not bad. They are just not sufficient for businesses to use.

WhatsApp Users are Being Targeted by Malware Creators

Despite “end-to-end encryption” and security claims, malware creators repeatedly target WhatsApp.

Here is a quote from bleepingcomputer.com, a trusted source for news related to cybersecurity:

“WhatsApp malware dubbed WhatsApp Pink has now been updated with advanced capabilities that let this counterfeit Android app automatically respond to your Signal, Telegram, Viber, and Skype messages.”

Scammers, hackers, and criminals target WhatsApp because users share so much information. The “end-to-end encrypted” label creates a false sense of security and leads to lower cyber hygiene.

The result is a security breach.

WhatsApp Violates GDPR Rules and Shares User Data Automatically

We mentioned this already, but let us focus on GDPR for a moment. A crucial part of the GDPR legislation is the requirement to avoid sharing personal information to other users without their permission.

Any healthcare company using a medical messaging app must comply with GDPR regulations in the EU and/or HIPAA rules in the USA.

WhatsApp offers this as an easy option. The contact upload feature exports user information to sync contacts between the WhatsApp user and any of their contacts already using WhatsApp.

Other apps offer a similar feature, but it is against the rules according to GDPR.

Employees Don’t Want to Use WhatsApp for Business Reasons

Your employees do not want to connect their personal accounts to their work. They want to leave the video calls, voice calls, group chats, and text messages at work while they relax during the weekend.

A popular article on Medium lists 21 reasons why people hate using WhatsApp for work. One of those reasons is such an app does not promote a healthy work/life balance. WhatsApp users never get a break from the notifications, even when they are not working.

Here are more of the reasons people supplied. They do not want to use WhatsApp for work:

  • Because you meant to send a private message
  • Because you sent that saucy picture to the wrong group
  • Because it makes you fear the notifications
  • Because it’s easy to post messages to the wrong group

Your business should find a WhatsApp alternative for the sake of your employees. This shows respect for their time, privacy, and boundaries.

Using WhatsApp for Business Purposes Violates Their Terms of Use

The final reason to find a WhatsApp alternative is using WhatsApp for non-personal reasons violates the WhatsApp Terms of Service.

Here is the relevant section from the WhatsApp Terms of Service:

“You will not use (or assist others in using) our Services in ways that…  involve any non-personal use of our Services unless otherwise authorized by us.”

This clause removes any liability from WhatsApp for a data breach when people use it for non-personal reasons.

So, WhatsApp is not a good idea for your business enterprise messaging app. Which WhatsApp alternative should you consider?

Some WhatsApp Alternatives are Insufficient

We have compiled a list of the top four WhatsApp alternative apps for all your messaging needs. These alternatives to WhatsApp have some outstanding features.

Ultimately, though, none of them are quite strong enough for your business.

1. Signal

Signal focuses heavily on security. This makes it a good WhatsApp alternative for individuals trying to connect with their colleagues. It supports voice and video, users can create group chats, send messages, and send and receive video messages.

Signal users are few, though. The user base is just over 50 million, which is not a large number in this context.

However, Signal is still a consumer messaging app. It might be the best WhatsApp alternative for individuals, but it lacks support for necessary business features, such as:

  • User authentication and permission setting
  • Message sharing and archiving for GDPR
  • Admin and management tools such as broadcasts

Signal, while a strong choice, still falls short of what your business needs.

2. Telegram

Telegram is the largest of these WhatsApp alternatives with over 500 million users. It offers voice chat,  works on multiple platforms, and features a desktop client. It is one of the strongest alternatives to WhatsApp on the market.

Telegram does not quite get the job done, though. Unlike WhatsApp, Telegram does not support group video calls. Its end-to-end encryption is not enabled by default, which could create a security loophole for the unwary.

Telegram works on multiple devices and all the major platforms, but still does not do enough. Key features such as user management, GDPR compliance, and business control of information are lacking.

3. Wire

The Wire messenger app is a step up from Telegram and Signal in terms of security. Its open source platform features end-to-end encryption, forward secrecy, and public audits.

Wire supports group chats, video calling, and other cool features such as a guest room feature for inviting partners, customers, and suppliers to group calls.

Wire is the first app on this list built for business use. This open source app comes in at a few different price points. The limitations of the Wire Pro account are its installation in the public cloud, no integrations with other apps, and lack of compliance documentation exports.

4. Wickr

Wickr is a secure enterprise messaging app that was acquired by Amazon in 2021. Wickr protects your data and offers multiple levels of service. It is one of the best alternatives to WhatsApp for businesses to consider.

However, it is also a very expensive option.

Wickr features end-to-end encryption, which is an industry standard. It also supports group chat, self-destructing messages, text messages, audio calls, and users can share files freely.

It is a paid app, and an expensive one. On-premises installation for maximum security will cost $30.50 per user, per month. So a small business with 30 employees would pay over $900 per month just to use the chat services.

A free version is available, but its services are more limited.

Affordable Security: Why None of These WhatsApp Alternatives Are Acceptable for Business

All the apps listed above fall short because they are not secure enough for business use or they are too expensive for many businesses to afford.

What you need is a secure enterprise messaging app for your business that features the protection you need at a price you can afford.

Messagenius is the Secure Messaging App for Business

We may be biased, but we think Messagenius is exactly what your business needs. Messagenius won the Sogei award for cybersecurity and innovation as a messaging app.

End-to-End Encryption Adds Security for Everyone

End-to-end encryption is an industry standard and a requirement for secure communications. We protect all your data where it is being stored as well as while it is being used for sending messages. Messagenius increases your security by offering on-premises installation.

Instant Messaging, Team Chats, Video Calls, and More Team Collaboration Features

Every feature you need from an instant messaging app for business is ready with Messagenius. You can use Messagenius for voice and video calls, team admin communications, and group chats. These features all work together to give your team a big productivity boost.

Black Hole and Black Box Chat Features for Extra Security

Ephemeral messages are a trend. Text messages that disappear after the recipient reads them are an increased security feature. Messagenius supports two forms of extra secure chats:

  • Black Hole chats disappear after a specific amount of time. The data is not saved and cannot be recovered.
  • Black Box chats are useful for data compliance because the information is fully tracked and indelible.

These chat features help your business achieve total security and compliance whatever form your communications take.

Contact Messagenius for a Free Consultation

Our expert team can chat with you to understand your business enterprise messaging needs. We offer customised packages for every client. Special software integrations, multiple installation options, and connection to your enterprise database make setup and onboarding seamless.

Contact us today to get started.

JP Morgan fine Messagenius Secure Messaging

What to Learn from the JPMorgan WhatsApp Fines

The SEC and the CTFC fined JP Morgan a total of $200 million for alleged misuse of messaging apps. In particular, the company’s employees seem to have used WhatsApp and other texting services to communicate about the company’s business.

Other firms are currently being investigated by the SEC for similar violations. Could your firm be next? What can your business put in place to make your communications more secure and fully compliant?

Four Key Learning Points for Your Business

No one rejoices when overseers hand out fines and businesses settle for huge sums of money. However, there are lessons to be learned here that could save your business from being the next recipient of a massive penalty.

Let’s cover four key lessons every business should learn from J. P. Morgan’s misfortune.

Poor UI and UX Lead to Low Adoption of Approved Messaging Apps

J.P. Morgan had the right policies in place. If their employees had followed company policies, then these penalties would never have been issued. 

In fact, J.P. Morgan’s policies actually named WhatsApp as a prohibited communications app.

Despite the company having the correct policy, employees and executives used non-compliant apps to send messages. 

There are, broadly speaking, two reasons for this non-compliance:

  • Covering criminal behavior
  • Choosing convenience over compliance

Giving J.P. Morgan and its employees the benefit of the doubt, it is safe to assume the people were not criminals or engaged in illicit activity. 

Instead, they were probably just trying to fire off a quick message to their coworker, boss, or key client while on the move or in a hurry.

Here is where User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) become so important. Poor UI and UX lead to non-conformity and non-compliance.

Let’s lay out a couple of quick examples:

  • A desk trader needs to notify his team of a change in market conditions, but he is on the train headed home for the day. His company’s intranet system requires him to log into a secure portal, locate his team’s channel, find the right conversation, and post his message. WhatsApp requires him to open the app, find the channel and send the message. He opts for the easier experience.
  • A department head wants to develop constant feedback from her team to improve performance. The company’s email policy means she has to send a message to her whole team and then read replies in multiple email messages and collate the responses. WhatsApp lets her open a group, message everyone at once, and see all the feedback immediately. She chooses the easier interface.

Does your business messaging app or system have a good UI and produce a good UX for your employees? If it is failing in either category, your business could be increasing the chances of non-compliance.

Business Happens Everywhere, So Mobile Apps are Necessary

Directly connected to UI and UX are the portability and mobile usability of business messaging. Employees and executives alike are working remotely, doing more hybrid work, and adjusting to the reality of a distributed workforce. Business messaging and intranet apps that are not designed for mobile use and portability are simply not fit for purpose.

Common problems with software not designed for mobile use include:

  • Poorly designed navigation translates badly to mobile devices. Using an inefficient app repeatedly causes frustration to build up in users. Frustrated users turn to non-compliant apps.
  • Apps not designed for mobile use frequently encounter resizing issues. Text and images do not display correctly, leading to a poor user experience.
  • Some apps lose functionality when the user connects via a mobile device. Key features, such as message search and video conferencing may be missing on the mobile version of software. 

In the post-Covid world, business communications need to be available anytime, anywhere. The same problems caused by poor mobile app design become goals for a properly designed app.

Here are these key requirements of a business messaging app:

  1. Navigation must be clear, efficient, and intuitive for the user.
  2. Images, videos, and text should always resize correctly for the context.
  3. Key features of the company’s messaging system should translate into the mobile app.

Apps that achieve these requirements have a much higher chance of user adoption. Greater voluntary adoption means less friction during implementation, fewer compliance issues, and a greater level of security for the business.

Centralized Record Keeping is a Requirement for Compliance

One of the dangers of employees using a diverse group of apps for messaging is the inability to keep correct records. 

Some industries, such as the investment and finance sector J.P. Morgan operates in, require all written records to be kept for a minimum number of years. Text messages, instant messages, and email are all forms of written records. 

A text sent from one employee to another person, inside or outside the company, may never pass through the company’s data systems. Thus, the company has no ability to record that message. The company is already failing in its statutory obligations.

If the employee leaves the company, loses their phone, or upgrades to the next generation of smartphones, then messages could be lost along with the device. 

This isn’t theoretical. Here is an excerpt from the SEC’s judgment of J.P. Morgan:

“Later, JPMorgan informed the staff that certain text messages received or sent through unapproved communications methods on the personal devices of relevant individuals had been deleted and were unrecoverable. The deleted and unrecoverable text messages included messages from the relevant timeframe and messages between multiple potentially relevant custodians.”

The solution is a business messaging solution that is adopted by all employees at every level and stores comms data where the company can access it when it is required.

Permanent Secrecy is Impossible, So Compliance is Preferrable

J.P. Morgan did not intend to violate any regulations. Their policies should have prevented the exact violations they were fined for breaking. Yet the true practice of their employees and executives came to light.

For every company, the rise of the quantity of data and the loss of secrecy are a reality. More and more data is being collected and stored on company servers and in the cloud. Using instant messages and other forms of personal communication makes the likelihood of the discovery of malpractice much higher.

The alternative to any attempt at secrecy is compliance. Compliance has specific benefits:

  • Software designed for secure business communications is much more cost-effective than waiting for the eventual fines when any malpractice is discovered.
  • Specialist software also provides the admin tools necessary to oversee use of proper channels of communication. One of the exacerbating conditions for J.P. Morgan was the lack of accountability. Proper software provides the functions that allow oversight to happen.
  • A business instant messaging app engineered for secure communication can also feature a full-featured user interface to assist with adoption. An improved user experience will lead to higher levels of use, thus avoiding the unauthorized use of communications channels that plagued J.P. Morgan.

The alternative to compliance is non-compliance. There is no more room for partial compliance because the free flow of information makes hiding malpractice too difficult.

How Messagenius Could Protect Your Company from the Next Big Fine

Messagenius is a secure business communication app designed for security and compliance from the beginning. The advantages of Messagenius for businesses are important for creating and managing compliance for businesses of every size.

Here are ways Messagenius could help your business avoid the next fine.

Messagenius has a Simple, Clean UI

Employees, executives, and people all over the world know what a chat app should look and feel like. They have used WhatsApp, Messenger, and SnapChat. Trying to force them to use an app with a clunky or difficult user interface will be difficult.

Messagenius offers a clean user interface that looks like a “normal” chat app. This keeps the learning curve very gentle and helps users adopt the app as their preferred communication tool.

Messagenius Works Great on Mobile Devices

When your employees leave the office, they can take Messagenius with them. The software transitions from desktop to mobile seamlessly. Chats are organized into channels and grouped in the way people are used to chatting.

There are no resizing issues with Messagenius. Chats, documents, and images can flow from the office environment to a mobile device without loss of function. 

In addition to resizing issues, some software loses key functions on mobile devices. Messagenius preserves all its functions when it moves from the desktop to mobile environment.

Messagenius Provides the Admin Tools to Oversee Compliance

Messagenius comes with supervisor dashboards to oversee the use of the software. From these dashboards, an admin with oversight can view the app’s usage by user, see the interactions between users, and maintain sight of adoption across the organization.

Without these tools, administrators are simply operating without the information necessary to oversee compliance. Thankfully, Messagenius gives admins a clear view of the system-wide use of the software.

Messagenius Is a Scalable Solution for Enterprise Compliance

Implementing a company-wide communications platform can be costly. Some businesses experience ‘sticker shock,’ or the surprise at the cost of a purchase. Yet the fines levied by the SEC and the CTFC produce a much higher level of shock.

Messagenius is a fully scalable solution. The pricing per user is competitive with other tools in the market. More importantly, the cost of non-compliance far exceeds the cost of a specialized and powerful tool such as Messagenius.

Summary

The fines levied against J.P. Morgan are a harbinger of things to come. Data flows freely, even when businesses write their policies correctly. Without a dedicated business communication app, your business might be vulnerable to a fine for non-compliance. The business response to this should be learning these key points and implementing a secure, compliant chat app.

Messagenius: Secure messaging for business

Secure Messaging: Make Business Communications Safe

If you’re in a large business or have remote workers on your team, efficient communication is vital. But many chat apps put your data at risk—and that’s where secure messaging solutions can help.

Why is Secure Messaging important?

Most workforces now use chat apps to communicate. But without secure messaging, you’re at risk of data breaches—a business’s worst nightmare.

Over the last couple of years, cases of data breaches have been widespread. Here are just a few examples:

What are the penalties for data breaches?

If one of your colleagues were to leak secure data through an unsafe chat platform, your company could be penalized.

  • In the EU, GDPR laws could result in a fine of €20 million, or 4% of your annual turnover.
  • In the US, breaching CCPA could cost you up to $7,500 for each data point. And for HIPAA violations, up to $25,000 each.
  • In Saudi Arabia, violating PDPL can mean penalties of up to SAR 1,000,000 (US$ 266,600).

To avoid these risks, chat with colleagues using a secure messaging platform with full end-to-end encryption, like Messagenius.

Computer with data on desk

What is Secure Messaging?

Secure messaging solutions are chat apps that keep your data safe. They use technologies like end-to-end encryption to ensure that hackers can’t access your conversations. However, popular platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram and Snapchat don’t have these security measures.

What are the key features of a secure messaging app?

  • End-to-end encryption to ensure no one can monitor your conversations
  • Self-destructing messages
  • Default encryption settings
  • Uses open-source code
  • Doesn’t collect your data

When you use a secure business messaging app with these features, your communication will remain private—and out of the reach of professional cybercriminals.

Which industries need secure messaging?

Industries where secure messaging is common include:

  • Healthcare
  • Law enforcement
  • Government
  • Banking and Finance
  • Legal

However, any business that is gathering customer, employee, or user data needs to consider cybercrime risks. Regardless of your industry, if your business uses apps to communicate, it’s highly likely you could benefit from secure messaging.

What makes a messaging app secure?

Your messaging app must have several key technologies that support text messaging, voice calls, and video calls.

1. End-to-end encryption makes it impossible for hackers to understand your message data

End-to-end encryption means that from the moment you type your message until when the receiver reads it, no one else can access the message. It works by ‘scrambling’ the message so that only the sender and receiver have the key to unlock and read it. This ‘scrambling’ is applied not only to text messages, but also to audio files, video messages, and attached files.Messagenius uses a unique encryption key system. It keeps you in control of private communication and ensures that no one has access to your data except you. As an extra layer of protection, Messagenius allows enterprises to have multiple holders of encryption keys which splits the control to minimize the risk of a data leak.

2. Self-destructing messages keep data safe if someone else gets hold of your device

Even if hackers can’t access your data, there are still other dangers. For example, a thief could steal a mobile device or laptop that has a business chat app open.

Self-destructing messages are an extra layer of protection against this. They disappear after a set amount of time, so outside parties can’t see the messages later.

If you’re using Messagenius, use Black Box mode to send self-destructing messages to colleagues. All of these messages are time-stamped with proof of receipt, confirming that the intended recipient has received your message.

3. Default encryption settings that ensure your data is safe from day one

Some secure messaging solutions offer end-to-end encryption, but they don’t activate this feature by default. And if it’s not activated, you could be vulnerable to cybercrime without realizing it.

With Messagenius, all messages sent within your enterprise are end-to-end encrypted by default. All instant messages, group chats and voice messages are secured with end-to-end encryption within its secure chat app.

4. Open-source code means security experts can confirm your business messaging app is safe

Open-source code means the messaging service is open to outside accountability and auditing by experts. This can be useful to bring attention to any weaknesses or vulnerabilities in the software’s code.

With Messagenius, you can grant access to anyone who needs it. And unlike with other encrypted messaging apps, you own your data and can retain access to all messages sent within your organization.

5. Data collection policies determine whether a secure messaging app lives up to its reputation

Many business messaging apps claim to be secure—yet they collect personal data from their users. So if you’re looking for a secure messaging alternative to Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, or Apple messages, it’s worth doing extra research.

For example, Signal app has a reputation as being safe for private messages and group messages. However, it requires users to submit their personal phone numbers to use the app.

(Not-so-subtle boast: Messagenius doesn’t do this. It puts you in complete control of the data you gather, and how you use it.)

Mobile phone with chat apps

Why do you need a secure messaging app for your business?

Secure communication within your business is critical for safeguarding important information used by your employees. It is also crucial for protecting sensitive information, such as customer data, employee data, and medical or financial records.

End-to-end encrypted enterprise messaging keeps you in compliance with data regulations

Because of international laws like GDPR, businesses are obligated to protect their staff and client data. By using a secure business messaging app, you remove the risk that your messaging app is holding on to your data or increasing the risk of a data leak.

A data breach can be catastrophically expensive, especially for small businesses. IBM recently reported that the average data breach cost in 2021 was £2.7-3 million. Using a secure messaging app like Messagenius, you can greatly decrease the chance of this happening in your business.

Secure messaging apps are safer than other communication methods

You may wonder what exactly is wrong with sending emails or text messages within your business. After all, they are used by millions of businesses worldwide.

However, these methods are certainly not the safest way for your business to communicate.

How safe are text messages?

Text messages you send via your phone’s default messaging app are not encrypted messages.

The contents of your SMS messages can be viewed by mobile carriers. They’re one of the most insecure forms of messaging that can even be intercepted by semi-skilled hackers. 

Therefore, it’s crucial that your employees aren’t using normal SMS messaging to send text and voice messages. Using a secure corporate chat app is the best step you can take to ensure your business’s data security.

Apple’s iMessages use end-to-end encryption, making them safer than SMS messages.

Mobile screen with email icon

How secure is email?

When you send an email, you send it to the email provider, who then stores the email for a certain time, then sends it to different email servers. Eventually, the email arrives at the service provider of the person you emailed. Their provider then keeps a copy of the email in that person’s mailbox until they open it.

This process creates the opportunity for any server that your email meets along the way to create a copy of your email. The email could stay ‘copied’ on that server for any amount of time.

While some email service providers may encrypt the email for part of the path your email takes, there is no way to ensure this. Plus, there’s always the risk that a thief could physically access a phone or an open laptop.

Which is more secure, email or a messaging app?

A secure business messaging app that offers end-to-end encryption and on-site hosting is safer than email. Unlike with email, this setup ensures your message and user data isn’t accessible outside of your business’s network.

How secure are popular business apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams?

It’s natural to assume that globally-recognized brands like Microsoft would make some of the safest apps out there. However, this is not necessarily the case.

  • Slack has previously had security issues. The popular business chat app was hacked in 2015, in an attack that compromised some user data. It has since improved its security features, adding 2-factor authentication. However, the platform has been used several times since to carry out phishing attacks.
  • Microsoft Teams might not be totally secure either. In Feb 2022, cybersecurity company Avanan claimed that cybercriminals were using Teams to spread Malware. In a blog explaining its observation, Avanan said it had observed thousands of these attacks.
  • WhatsApp Business is probably the least safe. While the company claims its messages are encrypted, its own terms of service suggest that the app cannot be used in highly-regulated industries: “We make no representations or warranties that our Business Services meet the needs of entities regulated by laws and regulations with heightened confidentiality requirements for personal data, such as healthcare, financial, or legal services entities.”

(To find out more, read our article on Why you shouldn’t use WhatsApp for work.)

Mobile and laptop with chat app

Messagenius: Your Secure Enterprise Messaging Software

We’ve built Messagenius for enterprises who want secure messaging, with the convenience you’re used to from popular chat apps.

End-to-end Encrypted Messages

Messagenius messaging software provides encrypted video and voice calls, as well as encrypted end-to-end, self-destructing messages, and file shares.

Works on Multiple Devices

Messagenius is extremely user friendly and can be used on multiple devices such as desktop, mobile, and tablet. It’s compatible with both iOS and Android.

This allows your employees to connect with each other at any time or place of their choosing.

Effective Communication and Collaboration

When everyone in your enterprise is using the same messaging app, effective communication couldn’t be easier. Messagenius makes it possible to connect and collaborate with anyone in the business, regardless of where they are.

Key takeaways about secure messaging

Secure messaging software isn’t optional if you want your data to be secure—it’s a necessity. With the increasing risk of cyberattacks, it’s crucial that you secure your internal communications with end-to-end encrypted messaging.

To be secure, your messaging app should offer you:

  • End-to-end encryption
  • Self-destructing messages
  • User signup without unwanted data collection
  • Open-source code
  • Encryption activated by default

Check out Messagenius today for a secure messaging solution with the features you need to keep data safe.

Messagenius secure app for healthcare professionals

Healthcare Communication Tools: Modernize your Messaging

What Is Effective Communication in Healthcare?

When it comes to healthcare, effective communication is concerned with how complex and technical information is expressed in a way that’s easy for everyone to understand. That’s why, for communication in healthcare to be truly effective, the messages need to be simple, clear, timely, and discreet. 

Healthcare communication needs to work for both medical professionals and patients. On a medical-professional-to-medical-professional level, communication is needed to make an accurate diagnoses and ensure the most appropriate treatment is administered. And on a medical-professional-to-patient level, clear communication is vital for patients to fully understand their health diagnosis, treatment, and medical needs. 

Why Does Communication Matter in Healthcare?

Internal communication within the healthcare industry can impact how employees communicate with each other, and how well they receive information. When an effective strategy is in place, it can shape an organization’s entire culture and create many positive benefits, such as:

More Teamwork

Effective internal communication within an organization ensures every individual it employs is much more likely to understand their role and responsibilities. This helps to increase employee engagement and productivity and leads to much improved job satisfaction amongst workers. 

It creates a culture of teamwork and collaboration where everyone is working to help the organization achieve its ultimate goals. And if everyone is working as a team, rather than a group of individuals, employees will make decisions together as opposed to making them individually, which can lead to irreversible and costly mistakes. After all, 85% of workplace errors are a result of poor communication. 

Improved patient satisfaction and care

When patients go to any healthcare facility, it’s not always a case of meeting with one medical professional, receiving a diagnosis, then returning home. Any visit to a hospital – depending on the facility and the nature of each case – can require a patient to speak to multiple employees, from doctors and physicians to nurses and technicians. 

This alone highlights just how essential patient-centered communication is to patient satisfaction. When you have an effective communications plan in place, it helps staff to fully understand the treatment needed for each patient and allows for one employee to seamlessly pick up where their colleague left off. Ultimately, when you improve the patient experience you improve patient satisfaction. 

Improved compliance with changes

In the healthcare industry, changes are commonplace – especially when it comes to industry regulations. As a result, healthcare organizations are continuously updating and reviewing their policies to account for the industry change. This could be an alteration to an internal process, or a new safety regulation they need to adhere to.  

The right communication in any healthcare environment means it can easily adapt when new changes are introduced, with staff being able to respond quickly and consistently to any new policies whenever they need to. 

Better Communication Skills Leads to Improved Morale

When an organization places more emphasis on its communication skills, workers feel more connected to the business they work for, and their colleagues. And when they feel more connected, it leads to a significant improvement in staff morale and employee engagement. 

High employee engagement in itself benefits the organization in several ways, like fewer sick days amongst staff, a workforce that’s more on board with policy and company-wide change, and employees that are much less likely to look for work elsewhere. 

How Technology Can Improve Communication

Healthcare organizations with an effective communications strategy, supported by high-quality communication tools, benefit from:

  • Smoother handovers between team members
  • Clearer workflows
  • Easily accessible staff rotas

Three Essential Components of Communication in Healthcare

HIPAA-compliant texting and visible staff availability

When it comes to managing and running a successful healthcare organization, there is no way to ignore the stringent requirements of HIPAA. It requires all sensitive patient information – from names and birthdates to health conditions and treatments – to be completely confidential. 

For any healthcare provider to safely store all this confidential information, it must have the right tools put in place. This is even more important when you consider that HIPAA also requires limited data storage and restricts transmission to just a handful of standardized formats. One way around these very strict policies is a HIPAA-compliant texting app. 

A compliant messaging app allows for important information, such as private files and confidential instructions, to be shared safely – with no threat of it leaking into the wrong hands.

Another huge benefit of communication tools like messaging apps is that they unlock two-way communication in your organization. While pagers are a convenient way to receive messages, they don’t allow the recipient to respond. Messaging apps, however, free employees up to engage in a back-and-forth conversation. 

Healthcare professionals can also use their own devices to communicate. The integration of a leading messaging app with a worker’s preferred method of communication, like their personal phone, means they can use it to securely send messages and files, use the company contact list, access patient information, and manage their schedule and workload, without having to use multiple – or outdated – devices. 

Automated scheduling and alerts

In an industry that relies on its staff being available 24/7, automated on-call scheduling systems are a must. The tools allow for the right people to be contacted – and only when they’re on call – which not only ensures that there is adequate cover at any time of day and night, but workers that are contacted incorrectly when they’re not on call, so are less likely to suffer from work burnout. 

The implementation of scheduling tools in healthcare makes it easy for managers and staff to determine who is on call at any given time and helps to evenly distribute on-call responsibility. With scheduling tools, there’s a much less chance for staff to miss alerts and shifts as staff can choose to be contacted through their preferred channel.

Automatic schedulers benefit patients, too. It enables them – or the member of staff that is dealing with them at any moment of the day – to reach out to a specific role within the organization. For example, if they need a doctor, they can select a doctor on the app and contact the one on call. It means patients don’t get passed from team to team – which wastes your time as much as theirs – and a solution to the problem can be reached much quicker. 

Mass communications

In healthcare, it’s vital that organizations can mass communicate to quickly and efficiently distribute information to a wide audience. 

There are two main reasons a healthcare organization would need a mass notification system:

To send immediate notifications – this allows for managers and leaders to send out important messages, such as a shift change or medical emergency, to a large team through email, text, or phone call. 

Track where your patients are – mass notification systems that are combined with RFID allow users to track patients. So if you treat patients that tend to walk off, this feature is vital. 

The same feature can be used to track equipment, too. Whether you work in a hospital where items tend to get stolen or go missing, you can track exactly where they are. Or it might be that you work in a very large hospital and need to know where a particular piece of equipment is located. In both circumstances, a mass notification system leads to a convenient, time-saving outcome. 

How Messagenius can help your healthcare organization communicate securely and work more effectively

Instant Healthcare Messaging

Messagenius’ messaging app allows healthcare professionals to communicate immediately with each other. You can instantly send files, patient information, and messages, or use it to communicate with hospitalized patients. 

Ensure Privacy and Compliance

Healthcare organizations can be sure all staff and patient information that passes through Messagenius’ messaging apps stays with the hospital – it’s completely owned by you. For further protection, it uses encryption and is completely GDPR-compliant – making it entirely private and fully secure. 

Contact the Right People

Messagenius’ smart contact list means patients and staff can contact medical professionals by searching their job role, department, shift, location, and more. 

Instantly Notify Staff

The Messagenius messaging app allows for you to set predetermined emergency signals and create a dedicated incident room dependent on the situation. When an incident room is initiated, a group chat is created with all the relevant people, all of whom are alerted immediately. It’s ideal for rapid response patient care. 

FAQs

What are some types of communication in healthcare?

There are several types of communication in healthcare, such as:

  • Nurse-to-physician communication
  • Leadership-team-to-care-team communication
  • Patient-centered communication
  • Internal communication

What is good communication in healthcare?

Effective communication in healthcare is concerned with any methods of relaying information, whether that’s the communication from a medical professional to a medical professional, or professional to a patient.

How can communication between healthcare workers be improved? 

  • Assess and streamline your current communications
  • Improve the tools your teams use to communicate
  • Encourage two-way communication 

How does location sharing fit into a communication strategy?

When you know where your staff are, and who is on shift, it allows you to communicate with the right people at the right time. You’re not wasting time speaking to people that are unavailable or located in an area of the hospital too far away. 

How can patients benefit from a messaging app?

A communication tool such as messaging apps allows patients to communicate with their doctor much more conveniently. They can use it to share all their confidential information in a completely secure way. They can also use messaging apps to schedule appointments with their doctors.

Messagenius Secure Team Communication

9 Ways to Build Transparent and Honest Communication In Your Team

What is Transparent Communication?

Transparent communication is concerned with the open sharing of information in a bid to improve an organization and the people who work within it. For example, this could be the board of directors sharing the company’s vision with the whole team, or team members within each department freely sharing their own ideas. 

It doesn’t take a CEO or founder to instill transparent communication, it comes as a result of individuals across the company working together to establish and maintain a workplace culture that centers around communicating effectively and openly.  

Why is it important to establish transparent communications?

When companies adopt a culture of honest, transparent communication it can have endless benefits to the organization and its team members. In the next section, we’ll take a look at some of those benefits:

Helps to Build Trust 

Transparent communication is a great way to ensure your staff feels trusted and valued. Employees at an organization that encourages communication up and down the hierarchy – from board level through to junior members of the team – will feel like they have the platform to speak honestly. 

When team members feel encouraged to communicate their thoughts and feelings freely, they are likely to share their ideas and help their team members more often, and less inclined to adopt a finger-pointing strategy when things go wrong.

Encourages innovation 

When open communication is encouraged within an organization, team members are much less likely to harbor their potentially great ideas, and instead, work in collaboration with their team members. 

When this is done correctly and often enough, it can help to solve an existing problem in the business or even lead to the fruition of new products and services which can seriously boost a business’s profits.  

Improves employee engagement 

Naturally, transparent communication will lead to staff feeling more engaged, and like they’re a valuable asset to helping a company achieve its common goal – whether that’s to increase sales, solve a problem for their customers, or raise awareness.

This is because effective communication encourages employee recognition, where members of staff are told how their hard work helps the company achieve its objectives. Although monetary bonuses, vouchers and prizes are a good way to recognize someone’s achievements, it’s verbal encouragement and recognition that truly leads to employee retention and satisfaction. 

How to create workplace transparency through effective communication 

There are several ways to encourage effective workplace communication, and here are nine of the simplest and most effective methods: 

Trust Your Employees

Trust is key to any organization that wants to harness a transparent workplace. When employees feel trusted to do their job, rather than working under the strict supervision of a micro-manager, they are more likely to communicate and share information with others. 

Employees also feel less anxious to ask questions they might feel they should already know the answer to, and they’re much more likely to provide feedback to their manager and others.

Create Clearly Defined Roles

Creating clear roles in a team not only gives it much-needed structure, but it ensures everyone in a team knows their key responsibilities, and who in their team they report to. A business that is properly organized and structured creates a much more transparent workplace, in that everyone knows each other’s role, when they work, how they work, and what department they work in. 

This way, nothing is confusing or unambiguous, everything is fully laid out which causes less friction, decreases the likelihood of people stepping on each other’s toes, and creates a positive company culture allround. 

Have Regular Meetings with Your Team

In a time where businesses across the world have had to adapt to staff working from home, the importance of having regular meetings is more vital than ever. The rise of new video meetings technology and chat features means it’s no longer necessary to drag teams of people into a room and sit around a table. Now, you can simply log on to a piece of software and get together in seconds.

There’s no need to stick to a strict agenda for meetings, either. You can arrange to meet team members at the same time each week, creating a routine, and opening up a platform for everyone involved to say what they like.

What you discuss could be something as huge as a brand new product idea through to what you did at the weekend. With this routine in place, you create effective workplace communication, increase employee satisfaction, and encourage a much more transparent workplace.

Make Communication a Priority 

Communicating openly with your team members is a great way to instill workplace transparency. It’s important, though, that communication isn’t simply encouraged between staff on the same rung of the company’s organization chart, but between managers and their direct reports, too. 

This open forum of giving and receiving feedback will lead to employees feeling free to express their ideas and opinions, encouraged by the fact they know what they have to say will be values – not dumped, stolen or criticized. 

Make Sure Your Team is All on the Same Page

For a company to truly achieve all of its goals, fulfill its vision, and uphold its values, everyone that works there must be on the same page. Individuals within an organization will indeed have different roles and responsibilities, but for everyone to play their part in achieving the company’s ultimate aim, there needs to be a solid understanding of what those objectives are.

The best way to do this is through transparent communication. The person at the top of the ladder needs to make this clear to their team, and this information needs to filter down to everyone involved so they can work together to make it happen. 

Get Clarification if You’re Unsure About Anything

By creating workplace transparency and an environment where everyone can communicate openly, you’re also creating a place where people can be trusted to seek clarification and ask questions when they’re unsure. 

Misunderstandings happen all the time in a business, so it’s important everyone feels safe enough to come forward with questions and clear up any doubt. After all, if people guess what they’re supposed to be doing, you could end up wasting significant business hours. 

Get to Know Everyone

As we discovered earlier, one of the most effective ways to encourage transparent and honest communication is creating trust – and before you can earn trust from people, you need to get to know them first. Even if you find yourself working remotely, there are still a number of ways people can get to know their colleagues, like through video meetings and chat. 

Once you understand the people you work with, including their goals, values, and beliefs, you can calibrate and communicate much more effectively. Not all communications have to be about work, either – you can get to know their hobbies, interests, or what they did on the weekend.

This open communication not only helps in building trust, but it will lead to happier employees too – which is essential to the running of any successful business. 

Make Time for Q&A Sessions 

By making time for Q&A meetings with the entire department, you allow team members to voice their opinions and ask questions that they might have otherwise shied away from asking.

Meetings can be done one-on-one, or as a large group if you have a bigger team, and goes a long way to creating transparency in the workplace when employees know they can have all the concerns and questions addressed. 

Encourage 360-Degree Reviews

When you lead a team, it’s equally important to receive feedback on your performance, rather than all communication going one-way. For example, in a performance review of each member of staff, you could ask a question about yourself, like: “is there anything I can do to improve as a manager?”.

This will not only help you become better at your job, but it shows the team how highly you value transparency and communication as a whole. 

Achieving workplace transparency

With so much to gain from workplace transparency and open communication, it’s worth encouraging it in any work environment. In the above sections, we’ve learned that companies that foster transparency and encourage information sharing benefit from things like increased employee engagement, more productive employees, and higher staff engagement.

When all of this works well together, it often results in a significant improvement in the company’s performance – and its profits.

FAQs

What is the difference between openness and transparency? 

Transparency is more concerned with seeing things crystal clear – like a company’s vision or goals. Openness, on the other hand, is about the interactions between individuals – having an accommodating attitude to people’s views and opinions.

What is an example of workplace transparency? 

There are many examples of workplace transparency in organizations. For instance, if a business shares its plans for headcount expansion with its staff, encourages regular feedback through surveys, or admits to a mistake publicly, it can be assumed they adopt a transparent culture in their company.

How does transparency encourage teamwork? 

Transparency within a team encourages the individuals within it to be open, trustworthy, and honest. When all those attributes are present within a team, it benefits from improved communication and can work better together as a cohesive unit. 

How do you become a transparent leader? 

A transparent leader is someone who is always open and honest. They keep their team members in the loop with any information they have relevant to the company, and actively encourage open communication within their organization. 

How do I become more open and transparent?

To become more open and transparent, you must be open to new thoughts and ideas from others. When you receive ideas from other members of your team, it’s important you find a way to make them work, rather than park them, or ignore them completely.

Messagenius Team SIOS 2021 StartupItalia prize winners

Messagenius Awarded the Terna Prize in the SIOS2021 Competition

Messagenius took home the Terna prize at the SIOS2021 Winter Edition Awards on December 13th. Messagenius was recognized for its top security instant messaging software for enterprises and larger businesses.

The Startup Italia Open Summit recognizes innovation in startups. The winners were announced at the Open Summit held in Bocconi University.

Messagenius won the award for its development of instant messaging software. This secure software can be installed in on-premises infrastructure or as a private cloud service. Companies deploy Messagenius to increase their operational security and resolve data ownership and privacy issues.

Messagenius is suitable for growing companies and enterprises. Some of its clients include companies and prestigious groups such as Ferrovie dello Stato, Open Fiber and Sogei.

Massimiliano Garri, Chief Innovation & Information Officer at Terna SpA, paid this tribute to Messagenius:

“Awards are a symbol and recognition, but for what? The work we are doing with Messagenius enters a fundamental area of #Terna’s #safety processes, that moment in which it is necessary to better manage a passage of responsibility in the process. It is therefore not the “simple” #digitalization but an act of care and responsibility towards all #Terna people. This is the meaning of the award. Thank you for supporting #Terna to take better care of its people.”

Massimiliano Garri
Messagenius, HIPAA compliant secure messaging for doctors

HIPAA Compliant Messaging: Everything You Need To Know

The minimum fine for violating the HIPAA regulations for text messages is $10,000 for willful neglect of regulations – even if the organization corrects the problem.

Can your practice afford the fines for non-compliance?

Sending a message from one mobile device to another mobile device has become so common people do not think of the security risks. Indeed, a survey found that 24% of healthcare professionals received no security training from their employer.

This article will give you three things:

  1. A clear understanding of HIPAA Compliant text Messaging
  2. Two compelling reasons to use secure messaging
  3. One comprehensive communication platform for your organization

Let’s get started by covering the basics of HIPAA compliance for text messaging.

The Two Main Parts of HIPAA Compliance: Security and Privacy

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) created a national set of guidelines to protect patients. Healthcare organizations in the USA must comply with these regulations in all matters concerning patient data.

For this article, we will only focus on text messages. The HIPAA guidelines do not specify what a secure text messaging platform is, or what makes a HIPAA compliant text app. Instead, they provide guidelines for patient data security and privacy across all forms of communication.

Instead, healthcare providers must understand the security and privacy guidelines and then ensure their healthcare messaging systems meet these requirements.

To help you, let’s review the major parts of the security and privacy rules.

HIPAA Guidelines for Security

The US Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) states the purpose of the security rule very clearly on their website:

The HIPAA Security Rule establishes national standards to protect individuals’ electronic personal health information that is created, received, used, or maintained by a covered entity. The Security Rule requires appropriate administrative, physical and technical safeguards to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and security of electronic protected health information.

The entirety of the security rule is too long to discuss here. Instead, we want to focus on the sections that are truly important to your business. 

So, here are the four key things every healthcare provider and professional must do to be HIPAA compliant with their text messages:

  • Ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all e-PHI they create, receive, maintain or transmit.
  • Identify and protect against reasonably anticipated threats to the security or integrity of the information.
  • Protect against reasonably anticipated, impermissible uses or disclosures.
  • Ensure compliance by their workforce.

HIPAA compliant messaging for you and your organization means you must be able to send secure messages, protect against threats to security, prevent unauthorized access, and ensure all members of your workforce use secure messaging procedures.

Privacy Requirements to Be HIPAA Compliant

The Privacy Rule is equally important, but has slightly less relevance to HIPAA compliant chat apps and messaging apps. Here is how the HHS describes the purpose of the privacy rule:

A major goal of the Privacy Rule is to assure that individuals’ health information is properly protected while allowing the flow of health information needed to provide and promote high quality health care and to protect the public’s health and well being. The Rule strikes a balance that permits important uses of information, while protecting the privacy of people who seek care and healing.

The focus is on the decision to share patient information rather than on the security of the platform used to communicate. However, there is one specific clause that relates to messaging apps:

For internal uses, a covered entity must develop and implement policies and procedures that restrict access and uses of protected health information based on the specific roles of the members of their workforce.

Any app or platform used for secure messaging must give your organization the ability to set user access permissions for sending, receiving, and viewing messages so that unauthorized disclosure of patient information does not occur.

Most Consumer Messaging Apps are NOT Acceptable for Protected Health Information

Most text messaging apps and chat apps are not HIPAA compliant because they do not provide the functions needed to secure and control patient information.

Covered entities, healthcare providers and their business associates, must ensure their communications have the required security measures to protect sensitive data.

Here are some examples of consumer-grade apps and why they fail to achieve HIPAA compliance:

  • Zoom is a popular video conferencing app. While video is a great communication tool with many healthcare applications, Zoom was not built for HIPAA compliance. Video calls do not have end-to-end encryption and access to the tools needed to make Zoom HIPAA compliant begins at $2,500 per year.
  • WhatsApp is not HIPAA compliant, either. It is the 3rd most popular messaging solution in the US for consumers, but lacks the security features to control access to patient information.
  • Facebook Messenger is the most popular messaging solution for individuals. However, it is not HIPAA compliant because it contains no security features for access control, message history, and could allow unauthorized persons to access PHI.

So, consumer apps fail because they don’t provide security on a specific device, allow messages to be sent to the wrong person, and do not provide a system for authorized users and access level permissions.

What is HIPAA compliant messaging?

There are two ways to be HIPAA compliant with your messaging. The first is to use a secure messaging solution built for healthcare providers. The second is to put training and systems in place to ensure every person in your practice follows the HIPAA guidelines to send secure text messages.

Obviously, the first option is far easier than the second. Let’s talk about why you should choose the first option.

Secure Messaging that Meets the Security and Privacy Rules for Medical Professionals

When you choose a secure messaging solution, the tools you need for HIPAA should be in place. Here are the basic requirements:

  1. Secure text messaging based on encryption of data while it is being stored and being sent. 
  2. Protection of patient information by restricting access to only the intended recipient and authorized users.
  3. Prevention of unauthorized access by deploying secure data storage measures.
  4. Availability of records of sent messages and historic chats for auditing and compliance.

A healthcare messaging platform should do these things for you as a basic level of functionality. Anything less is unlikely to be compliant with the HIPAA guidelines.

Text Messages that do NOT Contain Patient Data and Avoid the Need for Security and Privacy

It is possible to send text messages that meet the HIPAA requirements without using a secure messaging app. Organizations can do this by simply removing the information about the patient and/or treatment from the message.

For example, here is how you can send messages that achieve HIPAA intent:

  • Send appointment reminders that only contain generic information, such as “This message is being sent to remind you of your appointment today at 11:30. If you cannot make your appointment, please call the office to reschedule.”
  • Obtain written permission from your patient to send and receive messages about their care. Even with this permission, someone should still remove identifiable health information from most messages because it may not be possible to verify the identity of the person using the messaging app.

So, meeting the HIPAA requirements for sending text messages may be possible without a dedicated solution, but it is restrictive and risky to rely on this method for many forms of communication.

Are there good reasons for using some form of secure messaging platform?

Why Should Healthcare Organizations Use HIPAA Compliant Text Messaging?

To put it simply, avoiding the issue will not work. Healthcare professionals are already using text messaging apps to talk to each other and to their patients. The challenge facing healthcare providers is to ensure their staff members are using secure texting instead of a less secure alternative.

Even though it is a necessity, there are excellent reasons to use the abilities of text messaging to deliver better care and improve your workplace.

Receiving Messages Leads to Better Patient Care

Which outcomes would be best for your patients? How can text messaging help deliver them?

Here are a few statistics from relevant studies reviewing the use of SMS and messaging to improve patient care:

  • 77% of providers reported improved outcomes when using text messages to patients.
  • Adherence to medication or treatment improved in 40% of cases.
  • Attendance rates improved by 18% when reminder messages were sent.

Another study focused on examining the effect of SMS use on patient outcomes. The published results included the following findings:

  • Appointment reminders sent by text were an effective way of improving attendance.
  • Text interventions dramatically improved patient outcomes for smoking cessation and weight loss.
  • SMS tailoring, personalization, and decreasing message frequency were all associated with increased effectiveness.

Clearly, enabling communication between physicians and their patients results in better outcomes.

How does it serve the healthcare provider?

Healthcare Providers Can Streamline Workflows

A well-designed secure messaging platform enables your practice to serve its patients and its staff members much more effectively.

Let’s take a look at three ways a properly designed messaging system serves your colleagues.

Accurate connection to on-call providers

Text messaging has become a part of modern life. It’s fast, convenient, and super portable for medical professionals on the move. A secure messaging platform can connect all your colleagues through their mobile devices.

How could your organization benefit?

  • Instant post- or pre-medical check-ins
  • Room or resource scheduling alerts and confirmations
  • Emergency updates to manage fast-moving medical situations

A secure HIPAA compliant text messaging system can help you keep everyone connected and working efficiently to deliver the best outcomes for your patients.

Work-life balance for medical providers

Individually controlled chat apps do not allow your staff members to switch off easily. The phone calls might never stop – even on their days off. Group chat, left unmonitored, can intrude on family life.

An important feature of a proper messaging service is the ability to create groups and manage message priority settings. Once the groups are set up and priority given to on-call staff, the people who are trying to enjoy their downtime can be designated. The system gives you ways of avoiding interruptions to their personal time.

Data sync across practices

A secure messaging system will sync information about patients and staff members across all your practice locations. Here are ways this could help you achieve better service:

  • Chats with patients can be recorded and archived so each practice gains awareness of patient contacts.
  • Meeting schedules and reminders can be automated to improve attendance even when staff are at different locations.
  • Need to fill a vacant shift quickly? A good messaging system allows you to send a priority message to all the possibilities in seconds.

Data sync helps avoid phone tag, missed appointments, or extra effort. Everyone can receive the right information at the right time, in the right place.

What is a HIPAA compliant messaging app?

Basically, HIPAA compliant apps and software must meet the security and privacy requirements automatically and by default. It’s possible for healthcare organizations to create internal regulations and be compliant with HIPAA regulations manually, but this is a lot of effort and vastly increases the risk of a mistake.

A HIPAA compliant texting app will make security and privacy much easier by providing automated controls.

Here are the three main ways HIPAA compliant texting apps meet the requirements.

Provides Secure Messaging for Mobile Devices Automatically

A HIPAA compliant platform sends and receives messages securely. The platform verifies sender and recipient identities and the data is encrypted before, during, and after sending.

Stores Electronic Protected Health Information Securely

Data storage is a big vulnerability for many systems. Where do you store your data? If it is stored somewhere off your premises, out of your control, how can you guarantee its security?

A secure messaging platform will store your data securely, preferably on your own premises.

HIPAA Compliant Applications Help Maintain Compliance

Now, organizations must go beyond the individual sender or message. According to HIPAA requirements, every healthcare practice must ensure compliance by providing the right system, training for staff, and through ongoing risk assessment. 

Messagenius: More Than Just a HIPAA Compliant Messaging App

Messagenius is a full communications platform for enterprise level organizations. It meets all the requirements of a HIPAA compliant messaging platform.

In summary, Messagenius can give your organization:

  • Secure text messaging 
  • Full data encryption at rest and in transit
  • On-premises data storage for full control of your information

Messagenius does more than the minimum, though. It is a full communications platform to meet all your needs.

Messagenius is a HIPAA Compliant Messaging App for Doctors, Patients, and Healthcare Facilities

Unlike other platforms, Messagenius has been designed from the ground up for total security.

Messagenius is an Italian software suite launched in 2015. From its beginning, it has been built for compliance with the strictest data requirements. Its systems are fully compliant with all HIPAA requirements.

Messagenius is a Complete Enterprise Solution for Doctor and Patient Communication

Messagenius is designed for enterprise grade organizations. What does that mean? It means that Messagenius scales with your organization. 

  • If you’re managing 120 staff members across three or four practices, Messagenius will work for you. 
  • Messagenius will work for you if you’re the IT or Data administrator for a large hospital with several thousand employees.
  • If you’re a multi-site healthcare provider with thousands of employees, Messagenius will work for you.

Messagenius works for larger organizations by providing management tools to enable proper user access control, group chat admin, remote wipe of data, black box chats that cannot be erased, broadcast messaging to the entire organization or specific groups, and more.

Administrative Controls Prevent Unauthorized Access and Provide a Full Audit Trail for Review

Administrators can make use of the extra features provided by Messagenius to manage communications efficiently.

Here are some ways admins can do more with Messagenius:

  • Access admin control panels for efficient communication with multiple people, groups, or incident chats.
  • Send and track high priority messages.
  • Follow messages and requests on the map view for resource tracking.

Messagenius is designed to provide all the communication tools your organization needs. It is a fully HIPAA compliant secure messaging platform that can scale to meet your requirements.

Messagenius, secure communication software, on-premises solution

The Ultimate Guide to Communication Software for Business in 2021

As the world is adopting digitisation at a rapid pace, cybersecurity risks are increasing, with large enterprises being at the highest risk. Since 30% of security breaches occur because of internal actions, businesses need to secure their internal communication. Finding the right communication software for business can help.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to enhancing the security of your business communication with the best communication tools.

What Do You Need from Business Communication?

Streamlined and secure communication is the backbone of any business. It increases employee engagement and improves planning and management. Optimum communication ensures all departments, teams, and employees are on the same page, resulting in higher employee productivity and organisational efficiency.

Let’s look at the benefits of business communication.

Online Collaboration with Team Members

About 75% of employees consider collaboration “very important” to achieve the desired performance results. Effective business communication facilitates internal communication and promotes collaboration among employees. Collaboration improves employee engagement and enables them to perform better.

Collaboration also plays a crucial role in engaging remote teams. A large share of the global workforce works remotely, presenting the need for a robust communication system.

Event and Project Planning

Strong communication is a key aspect of successful project planning and management. It unites managers, stakeholders, and team members, ensuring that they agree on the project’s strategy, budget, and objectives. When the communication is clear, everyone understands their role, making employees more focused and increasing the chances of completing the project successfully.

Task Management

Managers need to assign and delegate tasks every day. An effective communication system allows seamless delegation of tasks without any inconsistencies. It improves management at all levels and improves operational efficiency.

What Kinds of Business Communication Platforms Are There?

Companies have different communication requirements. Some companies may need a secure messaging app, whereas others need full-fledged collaboration and virtual meeting tools. You can choose the platform that suits your requirements. Business communication tools are available in two categories: internal communication tools and external communication tools.

Internal Communication Tools

Internal communication tools help employees, teams, and departments communicate with each other. The purpose of these tools is to set clear goals, increase employee performance, and ensure that all members of the organisation are in complete accord.

Some internal communication tools used by businesses are:

Document Collaboration and File Sharing Tools

Sharing files and documents is a regular activity in all organisations. Many companies are moving from physical documents to digital documents to reduce paper costs and improve sharing and collaboration. Document collaboration tools enable seamless sharing of documents within the organisation. Team members can set edit permissions, make comments, and give suggestions.

Video Calls and Instant Messaging

Virtual meetings have replaced in-person meetings to a large extent. Over 70% of working professionals use video communication for 1:1 meetings, team meetings, standup meetings, and large group meetings. This increased use of video conferencing has given rise to the demand for video calling and instant-messaging tools. 

Team Communication Tools

Using team communication tools isn’t new, and their usage will only increase in the upcoming months. These tools serve one major purpose: unified communication. Companies usually have various departments and teams communicating on different channels. This can cause a communication gap, leading to errors. A team communication tool provides a single platform for all internal communications.

Employee Engagement

Employee engagement tools help managers and HR teams increase employee job satisfaction and retain talented employees. These tools allow employees to interact with the HR manager and discuss any issues.

External Business Communication Tools

External business communication tools enable companies to distribute information to the public. This information can be in any medium, such as text, audio, image, or video. Two common types of external business communication tools are:

Chat Tools and Group Messaging

Messaging tools help companies share text, image, and audio messages with the public. These tools include text messaging apps, email responder tools, websites, advertisements, newspapers, magazines, and other solutions and platforms that help you reach a broader audience.

Video Web Conference

Businesses can use video conferencing tools for outreach. Social media channels like Instagram and Facebook offer live video functionality, a helpful feature for businesses to interact with their audience via video.

How Should You Evaluate Your Business Communication Tools?

The right communication tools can add immense value to your business. They can make your employees more productive and help you plan and manage your tasks better. However, if your current communication tools don’t support your objectives, they can increase your costs without adding value to your business.

Here is how you can evaluate your business communication tools.

How Is the Ease of Use for Team Members and Employee Engagement?

The ultimate goal of investing in communication tools is to make the life of your employees easier. If the tool is difficult to use and has a long learning curve, you’ll not be able to achieve the desired return on investment (ROI). It’s essential to have a communication tool that is easy to use for every employee in your timeeam. Of course, it takes some time to get used to new software, but in general, the tool should be easy to use.

Do They Contribute to Project Management?

Many project management tools come with built-in communication and collaboration features. If your primary objective is project management, you could opt for a full-fledged project management solution (PMS). If you have a standalone communication tool, it should contribute to your project management efforts by integrating with your PMS.

Do They Work on Mobile Devices?

84% of remote workers check their mobile phone in bed, and 72% admit checking it on the toilet. With remote work being the new normal and mobile usage among working professionals increasing, businesses need tools that work on iOS and Android devices. Hence, support for mobile devices should be another key focus area when evaluating your communication tool.

Can They Handle Video Conferencing and Online Meetings?

Another prominent trend, along with remote work, is virtual meetings. Almost every company that relies on remote work conducts virtual meetings. Therefore, your communication tool should have built-in videoconferencing and video meeting functionalities.

Security is the Most Important Criteria for Your Communication Tool

When selecting communication tools, businesses limit their focus to features, usability, and pricing. Another essential component every communication tool should have is security.

Let’s discuss why security is the most crucial ingredient of business communication.

This is How Much a Data Breach Costs Businesses

If you’re a small business, data breaches and security issues can adversely affect your business. The Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021 by IBM shows that £2.7-3 million is the average yearly data breach cost. Apart from financial loss, security issues can ruin your business’ reputation, and you can risk losing your customers. 

Basic Communication Tools Lack Security

Despite the rising costs of security breaches, basic communication tools lack essential security features. Over 60% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are concerned about security risks. Companies need to prioritise security and upgrade their communication systems accordingly.

Secure Internal Communications Are a Necessity for Enterprise Level Companies

Secure communication infrastructure isn’t optional; it’s a necessity, especially for enterprise-level companies. When cyber attackers hacked LinkedIn’s database and posted the data of 700 million users on the dark web, everyone realised even the most prominent enterprises aren’t safe from cyberattacks. Therefore, enterprises and large companies need to take proactive measures to enhance the security of their internal communications.

Here is Why Messagenius is the Best Solution

You don’t need to spend endless hours searching for the best business communication tool. With end-to-end encryption, complete data ownership, and seamless integrations, Messagenius is the best choice for your enterprise.

Here’s why Messagenius is the best business communication tool for you.

Built for Secure Business Communications

Messagenius is one of the few tools that offers instant messaging with complete data security and ownership. Available in on-premise, private server, and cloud installation, Messagenius is a 100% GDPR-compliant tool that takes your communication security to another level. Some security features of the tool are:

  • Encryption keys accessible by a single admin only
  • Black Hole disappearing messages and Black Box modes
  • No involvement of third parties to store or access your data

Extra Features for Effective Business Communication

Cutting-edge security is not the only reason you should use Messagenius. The tool comes with various features that help you create a robust communication environment for everyone.

Key features of Messagenius are:

  • Send broadcast blast messages to multiple recipients at once
  • Track message delivery and proof-of-receipt
  • Send restricted messages accessible by biometric authentication or face ID.
  • Send priority messages and pin them for increased visibility

Integrates into Any Workplace Environment

Messagenius is ideal for both private and public workplace environments. The solution comes with numerous outside-the-box integrations, allowing you to customise the tool as per your requirements. Here are the main integrations supported by Messagenius:

  • Enterprise database sync
  • Intranet and custom internal systems
  • Conversational agents, chatbots, and AI tools

Contact Messagenius for a Free Consultation

Are you looking for secure, end-to-end encrypted, and feature-rich software for business communication? Your search ends with Messagenius.

Contact us today for a free consultation to find how you can make your communication secure with Messagenius.

Crisis communication with secure enterprise messaging | Messagenius

Crisis Communication: Are You Ready or Not?

The Beatles once sang, “Help! I need somebody, not just anybody. Won’t somebody please, please help me.” Managers, C-suite, and employees can surely relate to these words, throughout their career. 

There comes a time when all enterprises must face a crisis, be it big or small. One that has affected the globe is, without a doubt, Covid-19. However, crises have come and gone well before Covid-19, and not all enterprises have been as successful as KFC to overcome them.

As Warren Buffet said, “it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”  

In today’s uber-connected world, there is ultimately no room for error when it comes to getting on top of a crisis. Even the cost of reacting too slowly, or ineffectively, grows by the minute. BP Oil and Volkswagen know something about this. 

A crisis is often complicated, and it is impossible to understand how long it will last. As the crisis unfolds in real-time, circumstances can radically change, as will the requirements, roles, and responsibilities of the various people involved. 

The types of messages will also change when in crisis mode, and the information audiences need and how they need to receive will be different to day-to-day operations.

When it comes to communicating during a crisis, the tools at your disposal become key in the success or failure of overcoming it. 

We have come to learn as “crisis experts” that the damage caused by a crisis is not so much its nature but rather how well it is handled once it is at your door. There are three crucial elements to successful crisis management:

  • Readiness.
  • Fact-based approach.
  • How effective (if it all!) stakeholder communication is.

Messagenius offers admins Incident Rooms, Systematised tasks, Location Finder, and many more fundamental features that are not only helpful but are necessary to face a crisis head-on.

Expected and Unexpected Crises

There are contingencies that many enterprises take to avoid minor/major crises. Let’s take hospitals, for example. 

There are times that sudden peaks for emergency care are expected, such as Saturday nights and flu season. Then there are the unexpected, like a horrific crash on the freeway.

However, there can also be expected and unexpected variations internally, such as vacation time or last-minute sick leave. Traditionally, the patients are often made to absorb the effects of this gap by having to wait.

Contingencies are put in place to replace a sick colleague or vacation plans or have people on call during flu season and weekends. While in case of unexpected emergencies, being able to reach the right people needs to be instant and seamless. 

Using the Right Tools

Many businesses are still using services such as SMS, email, pagers, and phone systems, to alert various department heads.

However, these systems are not only out of date but usually very expensive, often ineffective, and do not offer the assurance that the alert will be received. Imagine trying to send an email to a surgeon in case of a critical event. 

Take pagers, for example, additional devices need to be carried in addition to the smartphone to receive alerts. 

Most of these systems do not provide proper delivery and read receipts. That’s why there is often confusion on whether or not the right person received or has seen an alert. 

It is no secret that people pay more attention to mobile messages, but it is not just perception. The stats speak clearly, and they say that messages received via mobile have an open rate of 98%, whereas traditional email has an open rate of only 22%.

Additionally, these outdated systems are often not the best solution for fast and effective group communication, and both are essential for coordinating teams in crisis mode. 

Team chats for secure work communications are increasingly popular, as they offer managers the right tools in times of a crisis (and beyond). 

The Studies

69% of the 2,084 senior executives in organisations of all sizes, in 25 industries, and across 43 countries reported at least one crisis in the last five years, according to PwC’s Global Crisis Survey 2019

Another study, a joint effort by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and Forbes Insights, asked over 300 board members the following question:

Having been through a crisis, what are your company’s lessons, or what would you do differently?

  • 34% Do more to identify crisis scenario
  • 32% Improve detection and early warning systems   
  • 29% Execute a more timely and robust communications plan 
  • 29% Communicate more effectively with employees

These studies highlighted the importance of efficient coordination, decision making, and, more importantly, communication as fundamental steps in resolving a crisis. 

The board, the C-Suite, and employees must work together, and this is where secure chat solutions for companies, like Messagenius, are fundamental for effective crisis communication. 

4 Advantages of Messagenius in Crisis Communication:

Using the tools provided by Messagenius during a crisis, offer enterprises and the public sector several essential advantages: 

  1. Rapid alerting of teams, departments and external emergency services.
  2. The group chats are perfect for direct feedback and follow-up communication
  3. Chats can also be set up based on mission, topic, or location.
  4. Sharing necessary emergency procedures, evacuation plans, mission photos, technical manuals, etc.is quick and seamless.

Whether you are in Finance, Education, Healthcare or the Armed Forces, Messagenius ensures employees and the C-suite are informed and ready to act when the unexpected strikes. Contact Us today for a free consultation. 

Overcome a Crisis

One thing is for sure, crises can be overcome, but it takes teamwork, a united front, and, more importantly, strong communication between the entire enterprise. Crisis communication needs to engage employees before incidents occur during the event and after it has ended. 

An organisation that ignores the powerful features of secure chat solutions for companies, may suffer more harm than necessary during a crisis, simply because they are unprepared.

Messagenius has a diverse range of tools for each stage of the crisis, which will help any enterprise, of any industry, overcome a crisis through a secure, compliant, and fully integrated messaging app.  

Do not wait for a crisis to take place to act. Prepare for the unexpected and test Messagenius out today and secure the present and future of your enterprise.