Business communication has experienced a rapid evolution. Gone are the days when coworkers relied solely on emails to reach out to each other. Now, texts and instant messages have become acceptable and effective business communication. Still, some managers wonder, is instant messaging secure? Some apps are more secure than others, particularly those that provide end-to-end encryption.
The Most Secure Instant Messaging Apps
All forms of business communication come with security risks. Evaluate your business and the apps you intend to use to determine which ones pose the lowest instant messaging security issues. Consider the following options.
Signal is a free app that offers end-to-end encryption for all types of communication, including voice and video calls, texts, and group chats. It’s often hailed as the most secure messaging app you can find. Business professionals and politicians around the world rely on it. The disappearing messages feature is crucial to its success.
Despite ownership by Meta, a company that has faced multiple scandals related to manipulating personal data, WhatsApp remains an industry leader. The app offers end-to-end encryption for all types of communication. WhatsApp also recently launched disappearing media and chats.
Telegram is a cloud-based instant messaging and voice-over IP service that also offers the disappearing messages feature. Note that it only provides end-to-end encryption for secret chats. Another difference is that it’s easy to access the same chat histories across multiple devices by signing into the account. You can also manage multiple phone numbers without needing to use several devices.
Viber is another popular choice that provides end-to-end encryption for all types of communication. You can use it to make calls, send voice notes, and virtually anything else you can do on WhatsApp and its competitors. The app also offers a self-destruct timer for messages, ensuring they’re only accessible for a certain period.
5. Microsoft Teams Chats
Microsoft Teams is a good choice if you’re looking for a secure option integrated into your current business software. The app offers end-to-end encryption for all types of communication and takes a zero-trust approach to cybersecurity.
Rocket.Chat is an open-source chat app that offers end-to-end encryption for all types of communication. The app is also available on various platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.
7. Wickr Me
Wickr Me is a secure IM chat option that also offers end-to-end encryption for all types of communication. Like Viber, the app provides a self-destruct timer for messages. One distinguishing feature is that you don’t need a phone number or email address to use the app.
How To Secure Instant Messaging
Choosing the right app is the first step in mitigating instant messaging security risks. Unfortunately, some companies stop their efforts here and rely on the app’s built-in security features to keep their conversations safe. There are also so many additional pieces in the cybersecurity puzzle. Consider these best practices:
- Use a VPN: A virtual private network encrypts your internet connection and can help secure IM conversations.
- Avoid public Wi-Fi: Public Wi-Fi networks are often unsecured and provide an opportunity for someone to intercept your discussions.
- Don’t click on links: Even when they come from someone you know, links in messages can lead to malicious websites that install malware on your device.
- Be aware of phishing attacks: Phishing attacks can trick you into giving away sensitive information. Be particularly suspicious of any messages that ask you to click on a link or download an attachment.
- Turn on two-factor authentication: Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your account.
- Update your software: Keep your operating system and apps up-to-date to ensure you have the latest security patches.
- Back up your data: Backing up your information is always a good idea in case you lose access to your device. Backups are also a crucial asset during ransomware attacks.
Reviewing SMS as a Potential Alternative
So, are text messages secure enough for your business communications? That depends on what you intend to send over text messages. Remember that phone carriers and government agencies have access to your text messages. In some cases, hackers find these messages easier to hack than IM chats.
One acceptable way to secure text messaging is to use end-to-end encryption for the device. However, the functionality of instant messaging apps often makes them a better alternative for collaborative work and transferring sensitive data.
The Bottom Line
Instant messaging has become an integral part of business communication. When used correctly, it can offer security and convenience. However, business professionals should never assume automatic safety, no matter what reputation the app has managed to create for itself.
It’s also worth noting that security is a separate issue from compliance and compliance often requires recording, capturing, and archiving solutions. These solutions prevent data loss due to human error, cyber breaches, or internal fraud.
LeapXpert can help protect your business from these and several other communication risks. Book your demo to see our solution in action.
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