Messaging apps security is, along with other security concerns, one of the biggest must-haves when it comes to digital transformation.
As workplaces move from the physical world into a digital one, employers are looking to ensure highest security standards while fostering the culture of collaboration. However, there are some challenges they encounter along the way.
Since messaging apps are one of the most commonly used communication and collaboration solutions in companies, we are going to list their most important security features.
Moreover, you can learn why it is important to pay attention to messaging apps’ security. You might be surprised how much it could cost your organization!
📚 First, download our end-to-end guide on team collaboration in hybrid workplaces to master the challenges of hybrid work and set your team up for success!
Essential messaging app security features to look for
You’re looking for a messaging app to use internally in your organization. You want it to be the main communication channel your employees use while they collaborate with each other.
Of course, you already know how powerful team collaboration is and want it to be a smooth ride for your employees. However, you also don’t want to risk leaking any sensitive data, because you work in a highly competitive industry, or in an industry that deals with confidential information.
What features should you look for in your company messaging app?
When you think of “secure messaging”, you probably think of end-to-end encryption. WhatsApp has immensely popularized this security protocol in the consumer messaging industry.
End-to-End encrypted messaging apps ensure safety of the message since it can only be decoded by the two communicating parties. Third parties and even administrators cannot see the cleartext message.
However, secure encryption is not secure enough for business-related apps. In most cases, business’ messaging apps security needs to adhere to much stricter security standards.
This is why it’s worrying that 53% of employees use consumer communication apps for work-related matters.
📚 Learn more about WhatsApp’s safety for business messaging.
Despite the popularity of cloud solutions, more and more companies are going back to on-premise hosting of their favorite apps. Why? Well, 65% of organizations say they buy on-premise solutions because of the unparalleled levels of security and data protection they offer.
In the past, implementing and running self-deployment software required much more time and resources. This is why cloud solutions gained so much traction. However, the trend is changing - on-premise apps take less and less time to install and configure.
With self-deployment, companies are in full ownership of their data. This is crucial for companies dealing with sensitive customer information. Moreover, this is the reason why so many organizations are looking for Slack alternatives.
MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication)
Multi-factor authentication is a key messaging app security feature. It is a staple in enterprise-grade security, and its main goal is to ensure that the person using the app is that actual person.
For companies, it is crucial to ensure multiple steps of user authentication - for example, via mobile app, email, text message, etc. That way, they minimize the risk of anybody else pretending to be one of the employees and accessing confidential information.
It is telling that more than $700 billion was lost due to identity theft in 2020 alone. Therefore, multi-factor authentication is one of the most important features of messaging apps for business.
Secure integration with your favourite apps
Messaging apps can expose your data in multiple ways. One of the ways is by integrating with third party providers and sharing your metadata with them.
Therefore, it is crucial to check in what ways - and for which functionalities - you need to install third party apps. Secure messaging apps will provide you with seamless integration and share minimum of your data with the third party provider.
In certain regions of the world, there are really strong security and data protection laws that businesses must follow. For example, there is HIPAA compliance in the US healthcare industry, GDPR compliance in the EU, and CCPA compliance in California, US.
📚 Learn what are the most important principles of major data privacy regulations.
If your business needs to be compliant with such regulations, opting for messaging apps that are also compliant with those regulations is an easy choice. After all, security of customer data is not something that companies want to play with.
Data loss prevention technologies
Data Loss Prevention (DLP) enables organizations to identify and protect their data. It ensures that sensitive data is not misused, lost, or used by unauthorized parties.
One way of achieving this is through classifying confidential messages - administrators create a list of expressions which, when used, appear blurred. The original message can be shown to communicating parties only if the administrator allows so.
This security feature is applied to prevent consequences of unintentional acts - namely, 90% of data breaches in 2019 happened through human error.
Ease of use
Although it may not seem like your classical messaging app security feature, it is actually essential that your messaging app is easy to use. If the app is clunky or unintuitive, employees will be less likely to use it and team communication will not be effective.
Furthermore, this could lead to increased usage of consumer messaging apps like WhatsApp for work matters. By now, you know that’s not really a good idea. Besides, more usage of the app will get you higher ROI as well.
Luckily, 74% of companies list functionality and ease of use as a top priority when purchasing new software.
Open source code
Open-source code is one of the most neglected aspects of messaging apps’ security. What “open source” actually means is that the apps’ code is publicly available. Everyone can see it.
On an instant, you would assume that this is careless - but actually, it is one of the best ways to improve security. Why? Because developers can check your code and suggest how to improve it.
For example, our Rocket.Chat community on GitHub has more than 30k members that are constantly proposing revisions to our code to make it more secure. Just imagine how much feedback on our code we are getting!
Besides, more than 50% leaders say their number one challenge when it comes to digital transformation is enhancing cybersecurity, and using open source software is an easy way to do it.
Luckily, users of closed-sourced apps like MS Teams and Slack are slowly recognizing this trend and are increasingly looking for Slack open source alternatives.
Plus: other great additions to your security features bundle
In the previous section, we’ve listed the most important messaging apps’ security features. However, the list doesn’t end there- here are some more apps that are also a great addition to your messaging security checklist.
- OAuth with identity providers like Google, Okta, and others
- Single Sign-On
- LDAP/Active directory
- ID-only push notifications
📚 Did you know that Rocket.Chat adheres to all these security standards? Learn why we are one of the most secure messaging collaboration platforms on the market.
Why it’s important to pay attention to messaging apps security
OK, now you might be feeling overwhelmed with information by now - especially if the whole security aspect of messaging apps is new to you. However, here comes the easy, non-technical part. Read on to learn the top three reasons why it’s important to pay utmost attention to messaging apps’ security.
High cost of data breaches
The most important reason for insisting on messaging apps’ security is the cost of data breaches. The average cost of a data breach in the US is $3.8 million according to IBM’s research. Moreover, it takes around 280 days to identify and contain the breach.
Unfortunately, we are seeing more cyberattacks and data breaches than ever. This number is increasing due to abrupt changes in the way we work and digitalization of workplaces. Namely, 20% of IT executives report that remote workers in their organizations have caused security breaches in 2020.
Customers and business reputation
Messaging apps’ security is an investment. Not only does it help you prevent significant financial losses, it also serves as a great selling point.
Customers really pay attention to businesses’ reputation. It is no wonder that 83% of US citizens would stop buying products and services from a business that experienced a cybersecurity breach.
Digital transformation creates more vulnerabilities
As organizations progress towards hybrid work models, our workplaces become more and more interconnected. Employees now use 9.4 apps in their daily work lives, and most of them are integrated or connected to each other in some other way.
Although it makes users’ lives easier, interconnectedness makes messaging and other apps more vulnerable to attacks. This is why highly digitalized organizations should put cybersecurity in their focus.
📚 If you want to dive deeper into the world of messaging apps security, watch our webinar recording and find out the five ways in which messaging apps are exposing your data.
Cybersecurity: top reason why customers choose Rocket.Chat
We at Rocket.Chat really do know a lot about messaging apps security - because it is our number one priority. Our data protection solutions offer an unmatched level of security, and this is one of the reasons our customers choose Rocket.Chat as their collaboration platform.
We are proud to be serving clients in some of the most security-focused industries like healthcare and government. Read more about the challenges our customers faced and how we helped to resolve them.
As one of our customers said:
If Rocket.Chat is strong enough for a cybersecurity company to be confident in using it, then it’s probably secure enough for whatever your business is.
Therefore, get in touch with our team and get Rocket.Chat, one of the most secure messaging apps on the market.
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