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Why WhatsApp Compromises Your Data Security

Data Security Checklist

If your workforce uses consumer messaging tools, such as WhatsApp, have you recently reviewed the terms of service? Post-Cambridge Analytica, arguably one of the biggest data breaches in the news of late, companies need to re-evaluate how their workforce is communicating and what digital communication tools they are using to do so.

This is especially true if you have a BYOD policy and don’t use a dedicated team app with secure messaging as part of your company’s internal communication strategy.

There are many consequences that can arise when you don’t invest in secure internal messaging for your workforce. We’ll break down some of the most common pitfalls and how you can avoid them with a team app that safeguards – rather than monetizing – your data privacy.

Third-Party Data Sharing? Hello Data Breach!

WhatsApp has been on data privacy watchlists well-ahead of the May 2018 GDPR compliance deadline. When the company was acquired by Facebook in 2014, WhatsApp terms of service stated the app would, “develop targeted advertising to gather business intelligence,” otherwise known as collecting your personal data.

In the UK, after considerable back-and-forth between data privacy commissioners, Facebook, and WhatsApp, it was determined that while data privacy laws require WhatsApp adhere to GDPR legal requirements, they don’t necessarily prevent WhatsApp from sharing personal data.

Here are some of the most important components to assess when identifying a secure messaging solution, such as a team app, to ensure data privacy:

  • Data encryption both at rest and in-transit
  • Customer data protection in the form of customer-selected certified data centers
  • ISO 27001:2013 certified and GDPR compliant
  • A contractual commitment in terms of a data processing agreement

Data Privacy-Compromising Internal Communication Habits

Though not intentionally looking to do so, your workforce may be regularly engaging in company-related communications that compromise data privacy.

The proliferation of group messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, contribute to this behavior; alarmingly, a recent HPE and Aruba study on the presence of AI and automation in the digital workplace found that 57% of employees surveyed would happily trade their personal data for more personalized tools and experiences.

What’s more, 70% admitted to engaging in risky online behaviors such as password sharing, copying files onto a personal device, or connecting to an unknown network within the past year.
These findings signal two important takeaways:

  1. Your workforce is actively seeking a way to communicate and engage. They are supportive of digital internal communication technology.
  2. To meet this need and still ensure data privacy, companies need to proactively adopt a secure messaging platform, such as a team app, before employees find internal communication workarounds.
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Secure Messaging Doesn’t Have to Come at the Cost of Customer Data Protection

The bright spot on the horizon, however, is that an overwhelming majority of those surveyed in the HPE and Aruba study expressed support for the increased use of digital technology in the workplace.

Companies can best capitalize on this insight – while ensuring data security isn’t an afterthought in your internal communication strategy – by adopting a secure messaging tool for your workforce.

To learn more about why consumer-grade platforms like WhatsApp could threaten your business data, download our Security and Support checklist.