Email was formerly the gold standard for business communication, but that is quickly shifting in light of recent, headline-making security vulnerabilities. Now, enterprises are forced to look for alternatives that are in line with both enterprise-grade security needs and employee communication preferences.
The way we communicate, both professionally and personally, has shifted due to the evolution and growing popularity of mobile messaging. A study on the use mobile messaging in enterprise found that 44 percent of employees reported that they regularly use mobile messaging throughout the workday with SMS/MMS, Facebook Messenger, Skype and Google Chat/Hangouts being the most popular apps used.
Employees are taking communication into their own hands and communicating on the platforms they want, including third party messaging apps, whether enterprises like it or not. Security is thus a growing concern, as email not only becomes less reliable, but as alternative forms of unsecure communication begin to emerge in the enterprise.
What history can teach us
The most recent email security breach was the well-publicized vulnerability of the Democratic National Committee’s server. Personally identifiable information was compromised, like social security numbers and contact information, which sent a huge shockwave through the political world. Some impacted by the breach reportedly didn’t even want to use their mobile devices or email accounts following exposure.
But this type of vulnerability isn’t just something political figures need to be mindful of. Regular people often fall victim to the same issues. For example, earlier this month it was reported that roughly 200 million Yahoo accounts were listed on the dark web for sale – a huge security risk for Yahoo users. No one is safe from these types of vulnerabilities, but that isn’t to say there aren’t steps that can be taken to prevent these types of issues.
Mobile users know, for the most part, what they can do for maximum security online. This includes making sure your password is frequently changed and always including a special character, but a lot of people don’t take these measures. Enterprises frequently fall victim to the same flaws. They know that they should keep their information and communication safer, but don’t take the steps to do it. These high-profile breaches should be a wakeup call.
The time is now
Enterprises looking to be proactive about security should take into consideration a few key characteristics. First, organizations in finance and healthcare need to ensure that any platforms their employees are using are SOX or HIPAA compliant. Traditionally, most third party mobile messaging apps do not meet the necessary qualifications set forth in these regulations, putting sensitive financial or personal health information at risk. In order to avoid this, enterprises should adopt a mobile messaging solution as an alternative to email that employees can use for efficient communication.
On a more granular level, the type of encryption, including how and when messages are encrypted, should be a big consideration. Often times, messages are encrypted and then at some point decrypted prior to ending up at their final destination. This can be a huge flaw frequently found in many messaging solutions. Device-to-device encryption and full encryption during transport is an important consideration, as it makes it much more difficult to pull information from messages in these instances.
If history is any indicator, security breaches and vulnerabilities will only continue to put enterprises across industries at risk. Enterprises need to ensure they are doing everything in their power to be proactive versus reactive to any possible security concerns, which primarily includes securing communication.