Six years ago, two former employees of Yahoo, Brian Acton and Jan Koum, applied for jobs at Facebook but to no avail. So they created an app we have all come to know and use daily, if not hourly, Whatsapp. Since then, Whatsapp has been bought out by Facebook, and most recently made an industry-shifting announcement, launching their End-to-End Encryption feature across platforms.
To most, this feature comes as a pleasant add-on and somewhat reassuring safety net for those who have ever come across the horrible talents of hackers and cyber criminals. This new feature not only covers text messaging, but also all media and phone calls, as well as documentation. At first glance, this is a wonderful prospect that will ensure user privacy, however, there are a few larger more dominant threats involved here. The biggest, obvious and most worrying aspect is, how criminals and terrorists will interact with this new function. There is, however, another victim to this seemingly positive addition to the Whatsapp infrastructure… The workplace.
Employees around the world rely heavily on the ability to communicate with each from their mobile phones, whether syncing their schedules, sharing relevant work data or updating each other with the latest news. You would think there is no downside to encryption, but you would be wrong. Over and above the basic issue of companies not being able to track documents’ movements, there is a question of compliance and keeping up to date with appropriate regulations. For example, public companies can be asked by approved authorities (Tax, Health Insurance, etc) to provide applicable documentation of work files up to seven years back and failure to comply with this can lead to serious fines and even suspension. Furthermore, we are human, and over five million Smartphones are stolen annually in the US [Consumer Reports,] Once your phone is in the hands of someone else your Whatsapp conversations are only as secure as your password, and those, too, have been easily cracked in the past. Company information is then at the mercy of whoever it is that has accessed your mobile, which is why our messaging app includes a remote wipe function. With End to End Encryption it will be near impossible to track work documents sent over Whatsapp especially if an employee has left the company.
Could it be that in our quest for user-privacy we have forced a ‘one step forward, two steps back’ scenario?
Now more than ever businesses need to establish bold policies regarding messaging in and around the company. Ironic as it is, the high levels of security that Whatsapp has reached, are not doing any favors for companies and regulation, not to mention their workflow. TeleMessage offers you a multi-platform system that allows workers to communicate safely and efficiently with each other, without having to worry about regulations, workflow or sensitive data being leaked.
For more info on our Secure Messaging Solutions, Click Here.