Consumer vs. Enterprise Messaging Apps

secure enterprise messaging app

How to secure communication of your remote workforce

Not all collaboration and communication tools are created equal, and not all are the right choice for enterprises. This is more obvious when talking about consumer vs. enterprise messaging apps, where data protection, security, and compliance are worlds apart. 

Take WhatsApp or Zoom, two current examples of consumer communication technologies. These tools are often considered for enterprises but have a track record of putting data at risk and not meeting the security standards required to protect from serious security threats, and let’s not forget the ambiguous privacy policies.

As the COVID-19 crisis has turned remote working into the new norm at a global level, security issues will be a growing threat for enterprises. That is why a dedicated secure enterprise messaging app is needed to support and connect a distributed workforce.

For enterprises, the lines between ‘easy to use’ and secure applications are not clear because employees are increasingly turning to consumer-grade tools even to communicate with colleagues.

Add the great marketing gimmicks of WhatsApp and the hype around Zoom during this Covid-19 crisis, for example, and now confidential data is being shared in insecure IT environments. 

The consensus is that these tools are ‘free’ and ‘popular,’ so “why shouldn’t our business use them too.” But this is where many small to large businesses go wrong. 

Why? In part, it’s because nobody reads the ‘terms and conditions’ or ‘privacy policies’ for consumer apps. We have all done it for one app or another. They are free, after all, but at what cost?

A Deloitte survey of 2,000 consumers in the U.S found that 91% of people consent to legal terms and services conditions without reading them. For younger people, ages 18-34 the rate is even higher with 97% agreeing to conditions before reading. 

The language is too complex and long-winded for most, and apparently, consumers are willing  to accept that the worst most companies will do is sell their name and email to a third party that wants to advertise to them. (source: Business Insider)

Then there is the infamous ‘End-to-End Encryption’ myth found in many free consumer applications. With so many ‘grey areas’ and dodgy ‘privacy settings,’ these apps are not the right tools to share sensitive customer data or work communications. 

Covid-19 | The distributed workforce in the UK and Italy

According to the UK Office for National Statistics website, from January to December 2019, only 5% of the workforce was working from home. While recent statistics from April 2020 show, the percentage has skyrocketed to an incredible 49.2%.

While according to The Digital Economy and Society Index, Italy is 5th last in Europe, in digital performance. This goes to show that Italy was not ready to have the country’s workforce work from home.

Forbes highlighted that from the 570,000 smart workers in 2018, the number of remote workers in Italy, during the Covid-19 crisis, jumped to 8 million! 

For example, many government agencies had to close their offices, and urgently create a remote working environment for employees. Due to a lack of alternatives and disorganisation within these, employees are still using consumer messaging apps to stay in touch with various departments, passing sensitive information over unsecured servers. 

WhatsApp & Zoom

You all would have heard of or read various articles on why you should not use WhatsApp for Work. However, if you somehow missed some of the security/privacy issues found with Zoom, do not miss the articles from The Guardian & Wired UK

Chris Stokel-Walker, a freelance journalist that writes for Wired UK, wrote in a recent article: 

…privacy experts have been sounding warnings about Zoom’s privacy settings, cautioning that they’re a quagmire of over-intrusive elements that can learn far more about you than they actually need to. Zoom’s privacy policy sort of says it doesn’t sell your data – … “But there’s still an incredible amount of secondary processing you leave yourself open to in the app – and that’s before we even get to the tracker and cookie payload that comes with the web client.says Daragh O Brien, a data protection consultant with Castlebridge, an Irish company.

Widely used applications such as WhatsApp and Zoom will go under the magnifying glass because of the simple fact that so many people use them. However, they are not the only ones with ‘not so clear’ privacy policies. The list is endless, and this is cause for great confusion amongst IT managers and employees alike. 

That is another reason why enterprise applications have been created. They are there to offer peace of mind and set clear policies to ensure your data is secure, with no strings attached (read: The tools for managers).

Secure Enterprise Messaging Apps

What makes enterprise messaging apps that much better for businesses? Let’s look at just three of the most important features:

Security. Data should be encrypted, stored securely, and meet the highest levels of security certifications. 

Messagenius has the added multi-factor authentication, but more importantly, your data does not get stored on external servers. 

Admin Features are important to ensure effective communication throughout the enterprise, leading to higher productivity

Analytics. Nowadays, data is everything, and it is the best way to review what works and what does not work. 

Track how effective your communications are within your enterprise with easy to read, on-screen, data.

Learn more about the great features the right enterprise messaging app can provide. 

Final Thought:

The standards for remote working were changing at incredible speeds, even before the start of the Covid-19 crisis. 

Now industries ranging from transport to government agencies to hospitals can finally look to Messagenius, an easy to use, secure enterprise messaging app that supports a distributed workforce without compromising the security, compliance, or reliability of the enterprise communication channels.