Secure Messaging Systems
Secure Messaging Systems
Instant messaging is a convenient and now integral tool in today’s workplace. A primary challenge with messaging is that it is not always secure. Businesses of all sizes and complexities are simply not equipped to control access to data that flows between the individuals and the sometimes-complex systems behind them. Additionally, businesses cannot always prevent an employee from accessing data after they are no longer an employee. The biggest concern, however, is maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of the message content.
Fortunately, there are a number of secure messaging products available. Three stand out above the others: WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram.
WhatsApp, a free app owned by Facebook, Inc., is primarily used for personal messaging, however, there is a business version as well. The principal concern with WhatsApp is that beginning on February 8, 2021, app users must agree to WhatsApp sharing all user data with Facebook.1 This is problematic because Facebook does not have a good track record with securing and keeping data private. In fact, Facebook has a documented history of using data to profile its users for the purpose of targeted advertising and subsequently selling that information to the highest bidder. Consequently, WhatsApp is not a recommended choice for business messaging. It should be noted that if all WhatsApp privacy rules are not agreed to, app access is prohibited.
Telegram, developed by brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov and owned by Telegram FZ LLC, is yet another free alternative that is totally cloud based. As with Signal, none of the chat history will be located locally on the device. Rather, all data is stored in the Telegram cloud. However, this app is not without its problems: most notably, its founder is “currently a fugitive of his home country after several run-ins with the Kremlin.”3 For businesses searching for security solutions, the previous statement should raise a “red flag”.
In addition to these 3 messaging apps, there are a variety of alternatives available offering numerous features and varying levels of security. Among these 3 apps however, Signal currently offers the best solution overall for the following key reasons:
- Lack of any critical privacy/security issues
- Cloud-based services
- Provides all essential features required in messaging (texting, group chat, file transfer/storage, video chat, proxy)
- Not tied to fugitives of Russia – really want to say this?