Secure government messaging: 5 ways to enable it

Sara Ana Cemazar
April 9, 2024
min read

Governments across the world are digitalizing their services to better connect and serve citizens. To cater to the evolving demands, they rely on text messages for internal and citizen communication. 

Security is of utmost importance as they often deal with sensitive information regarding public safety, military, and diplomacy

Reports show that global ransomware attacks have increased by 95% in 2023. Specifically, in government agencies, cybersecurity attacks have increased by 40%. So, there is a need for secure platforms for government messaging. 

Let us understand how you can build a secure messaging platform for military messaging, digital public service delivery, citizen communication, self-service, etc.

Communication in government vs citizen communication

Government departments must collaborate and exchange files, data, and information to be able to deliver efficient services. 

A significant portion of employees and civil servants operate outside traditional office settings. In that case, they need a reliable platform to communicate with their counterparts. 

On the other hand, government departments need a secure citizen engagement platform to exchange information, improve their accessibility to public services, promote personalization and self-service, and improve transparency in the process. 

How can you enable secure messaging in government?

You must follow some steps to build a secure messaging platform for government communication. Such as: 

1. Security as the top priority

Government departments often deal with sensitive information related to diplomacy, national security, intelligence, and more, so they remain a natural target for hacking and spying. 

Whether it is about military messaging or citizen communication, security is of utmost importance when it comes to government chat platforms. 

A. Two-factor authentication

Data exchanged through the communication platforms must be promptly encrypted at rest and in transit. 

As noted in the federal zero-trust strategy, the platforms must use two-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized logins from weak passwords. 

B. Customizable access controls

Communication platforms must also have robust authentication and access controls. Employees' roles, responsibilities, permissions, and accessibility rights must be clearly defined, and they must be held accountable. 

So, choosing an appropriate communication platform with customizable user access control is highly important. 

C. On-premises deployment

As government departments deal with sensitive data, they prefer to keep the data in their control and exercise sovereignty

So, choosing a platform that offers both cloud and on-premises deployment also helps strengthen government cybersecurity

government messaging

Also, choose one that can be deployed even in air-gapped collaborative environments. 

2. Interoperability with other apps

Government departments use many different applications to execute different tasks. 

The communication platform must integrate with other government systems and applications such as email servers, document management systems, project management tools, citizen relationship software, vendor management systems, and other. 

A. Open source platforms

The platform should also be compatible with the existing IT infrastructure. The best bid is to choose open-source platforms that offer robust APIs and properly documented developer resources. 

APIs help achieve seamless integration with other applications and systems. 

B. Higher scalability 

Choosing a platform that offers a higher degree of customization and scalability through extensions and plugins also helps promote interoperability with other existing applications. 

This allows the platform's functionality to be easily extended to cater to the specific needs of the departments. 

C. Mobile compatibility

While choosing a communication platform, check for its mobile compatibility. It is better to choose one that has a well-functioning mobile application so stakeholders can communicate on the go. 

3. Cross-organizational communication

Government agencies often work on projects that require collaboration between different departments. Experts and specialists from different organizations may also be involved in different projects. 

In that case, communication platforms must be able to promote collaboration across different government departments

A. Group messaging 

The communication platform must have abilities like group messaging, threaded conversations, message tags and labels, etc. These features help promote quicker exchange of ideas and accelerate decision-making. 

They also help manage projects efficiently, share timely updates, and promote a transparent line of communication between organizations/ departments. 

Get started with Rocket.Chat’s secure collaboration platform

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B. File sharing

The platform must also support secure file sharing, enabling different organizations to share documents, PDFs, videos, screenshots, etc. 

The communication platform should also have advanced search functionality so users can quickly find files and information. 

C. Guest access

The communication platform must offer guest access so users from outside the organization can participate in discussions with limited access to other data and information.

4. Compliant messaging with citizens

While choosing a platform for citizen engagement, ensuring compliance with national and regional laws is highly important. 

A. Security and compliance

Choose platforms that comply with important data regulations, such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), the federal zero-trust strategy, and FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act). 

Also, check for industry-specific compliance. When choosing a chat application for a government healthcare agency, one must choose one that complies with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations. 

government messaging

B. Citizen consent

The communication platform must seek consent from citizens for messaging and data processing. There must be clear, well-defined policies regarding how the data is used, and they must be communicated to the citizens. People should be allowed to opt in or opt out of communication as and when they desire.

C. Inclusivity and non-discriminatory approach

The government messaging platform should provide additional features like keyboard navigation, reader compatibility, etc., to cater to people with varying needs. The platform must not discriminate based on gender, race, and other.

5. Messaging citizens on their favorite channels

In the interconnected world we live in, people use different channels and platforms for communication. Government communication platforms must carry omni-channel abilities.

A. Identify citizen preferences 

The government messaging platform must collect user input and data regarding their communication channel of preference. 

This could include SMS, email, chat, mobile applications, social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, etc., websites, phone calls, WhatsApp, etc. 

Whether scheduling appointments or redressing complaints, citizens prefer to identify and communicate on a platform, which helps improve engagement. 

B. Segment the recipients

Categorize them based on the citizen input, past preferences, or demographics. This helps increase the degree of personalization and send targeted messages. For instance, when there is a public safety communication that needs to be sent to citizens residing in a specific location, segmenting the audience helps. 

C. Consistent messaging

Extreme caution should be exercised to ensure that the messaging is consistent and coherent across different channels. 

This helps avoid confusion that could result otherwise. 

D. Analytics and insights

The government messaging platform must have analytics and monitoring abilities to measure engagement, open rates, and effectiveness across different channels. 

The insights can be used to refine communication strategies and enhance citizen experience. 

Government messaging: Combining security with ease

The government messaging platform should have robust security features as well as facilitate a simple, easy platform for internal and citizen communication. 

Rocket.Chat is a highly secure platform with advanced features that help foster seamless communication between agencies and citizens. 

Some of its key features include:

  • Omnichannel citizen engagement
  • On-premises as well as cloud deployment through IL7
  • Advanced role-based access permissions
  • Multi-factor authentication and end-to-end encryption
  • Advanced features that promote interoperability
  • White labeling to match the government's identity
  • Compliance with HIPAA, VPAT-section 508, BITV 2.0, etc.  
  • Easy integration with existing applications and systems 

Rocket. Chat is recognized as a secure platform for military chat under the One DevSecOps initiative of the DoD (US Department of Defense).

That it is being trusted by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the U.S. Army, Navy, and the Air Force testifies to its security and data safety. 

For further information and customization regarding the government communication platform, get in touch with our sales team. 

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Sara is an SEO Strategist at Rocket.Chat. She is passionate about topics around digital transformation, workplace experience, open source, and data privacy and security.
Sara Ana Cemazar
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