Here’s some points you should consider
Chat apps in business have become akin to SMS in the late 1990s. For those of you that don’t remember, SMS was clunky to use, and really only ever intended to be used by geeky, techie types. However, that didn’t stop it taking off with mass adoption, including by business people. In much the same way, chat apps are not designed for professional use, but somehow, they have infiltrated many workplaces, bringing with them various security and data privacy issues.
First of all, WhatsApp should NOT be used for business communications. It expressly says so in the WhatsApp Terms & Conditions: “You will not use (or assist others in using) our Services in ways that: (f) involve any non-personal use of our Services unless otherwise authorized by us.”. By signing up to WhatsApp users agree to share their contacts, who have not given permission for their data to be shared, so it is not GDPR compliant. If people use it for business communications, they are putting the organisation at risk of heavy fines for non-compliance – the clause cited above means that WhatsApp itself side-steps the issue.
Getting the Genie back in the bottle
Having got the legalities out of the way, what can you do about it? Some organisations have gone so far as to ban the use of WhatsApp[i]. However, much like getting the genie back in the bottle, once people have experienced the ease of use of these consumer chat apps, it’s difficult to stop their use. The trick is to give your staff something even better than WhatsApp. By better we mean, with extra, enterprise-grade functions which the user will love, and far stronger security, which is imperative for the business.
What are the alternatives?
There are quite a few free-to-use alternatives, the best of which is widely accepted as Signal. However, Signal suffers from some of the same drawbacks as WhatsApp. The issues are:
- In order to use the app, users must register with their GSM/Mobile number. It is relatively easy to spoof a mobile number, which means that users cannot be certain who they are communicating with
- All users are in a single group, so that anyone can call anyone else. Groups or communities of users cannot be managed centrally.
- The app is managed in the US – so metadata leaves sovereign shores.
Like Signal – only better
SigNet by Armour®, as the name suggests, is based on Signal which is internationally recognised as the most secure consumer app. We’ve taken all the best bits and packaged them up with extra features and an easier to use interface to provide an enterprise-ready solution.
By enterprise-ready we mean:
You can have an on-premises or cloud hosted instance. The cloud version uses the Armour secure-cloud, which is UK based – so your data and meta data never leaves sovereign UK shores. You have complete control of your data.
Contact lists or communities can be managed centrally. New users must be invited by central admin, and approved before they can join. That means that your users know exactly who they are communicating with – no spoof users with stolen identities.
No requirement to use a mobile phone number. With Armour you only need a unique identifying code – it doesn’t need to be a mobile number. This is an extra layer of security that can keep business and personal communications separate even on the same device, and which also keeps users’ personal details private.
Full enterprise functionality. Including voice calls, text/chat, video, and attachments – all of which are managed inside the app, stay inside the app, and are completely encrypted.
Scalable, fast provisioning for new users. We use secure, one-time use, QR codes to get new users up and running with the minimum of fuss. Great for users, and the IT department.
Enhanced User Interface. Designed with the user experience in mind, intuitive and easy to use, especially for those upgrading from WhatsApp.
Professional support services. We provide both phone and email support, that is UK-based.
Fully GDPR compliant. All data is kept within the app, and no contact information is shared.
Benefits of a really secure communications app
SigNet helps to get the WhatsApp genie back in the bottle. Providing employees with an enterprise-grade communications app improves security and protects sensitive business information such as intellectual property (product specs, price lists, formulae, recipes, patents), customer information, and contact details. It also helps to avoid embarrassing data breaches which can damage reputation, and perhaps a less obvious benefit, employees are encouraged to take data security more seriously. The very act of using a special app for business communications is a reminder to be careful and take cyber security seriously.
If your business managers need to communicate about any kind of sensitive information that, if divulged, could put your business in jeopardy, or provide commercial advantage to competitors, contact us today, and have the security of SigNet by Armour up and running in your organisation within minutes.
[i] Germany’s data chief tells ministries WhatsApp is a no-go: https://www.dw.com/en/germanys-data-chief-tells-ministries-whatsapp-is-a-no-go/a-53474413