The Risks of Using Personal Instant Messengers for Your Business Communication

July 26, 2018 Instant Messaging

With the growing number of instant messengers out there today, you probably aren’t alone in thinking they’re mostly all the same. You probably even have your favorite platform — which allows you text, voice and video chat, and probably even file transfer. But if you or your employees are using a personal instant messenger for your business communication, you could be exposing your business to a number of unnecessary and costly risks.

How Do Personal and Enterprise IMs differ?

IM has often been used as a cheap or free alternative to traditional phone calls and email, but for private use. While platforms like Facebook Messenger, Skype, Viber, and WhatsApp boast user numbers in the billions, their communication channels are far-reaching, often extending to friends, family, and even social media contacts.

Enterprise IM, on the other hand, utilizes the features that have made personal IM popular — direct communication via text or group chats, voice and video calls, and file transfers — but is business specific and with enhanced administrative, collaboration, and security tools to meet the demands unique to your corporate environment.

Mixing personal use IMs with business can be risky. In fact, a 2014 study by Infinite Convergence found that 70% of IT executives were worried about employees using consumer-oriented chat apps for business communication. What’s more, 77% of enterprise IT executives indicated a highly secure, simple, and intuitive internal messaging solution would be valuable.

So what are the risks exactly? Using a consumer-grade instant messenger as an enterprise alternative jeopardizes your corporate security while hindering efficiency and productivity.

Security

Targeted Ads

Lack of Functionality

Time-wasting and Impropriety

Moreover, workplace conversations on your personal IM platforms could go in any direction as it’s easier to blur the boundary between work and play. You could easily say something offensive or inappropriate to a colleague, or again, send sensitive information to the wrong person — opening the door not only to embarrassment, but potential legal issues.

How Can an Enterprise IM Help?

If your employees are using personal messaging apps at work, you have no control over the chat space — neither the conversation itself nor the content shared. But an enterprise instant messenger provides you a private messaging network, compatible across platforms and devices, and with strong administrative and security controls. Features like text messages, file transfers, and all other communication options are only available to users authorized to join the network, drastically reducing the likelihood of data making its way into the wrong hands. What’s more, the internal private network protects your employees from the numerous internet security threats and attacks, as well as those annoying targeted ads.

Moreover, you’ll have full control over the chat spaces, participants, and content discussed there, as well as who can chat with whom, and chat history. Need to open or lock a chat room? You can do that. Need to track communications? With chat history archive, that’s also possible. You can even enable and disable certain features for specific users. All of this keeps your internal communication as focused or flexible as necessary. So you can rest easy that workplace chat is just that — workplace chat. Plus, access to features like whiteboard, screen-sharing, and voice and video chat will truly streamline collaboration.

Data breaches aren’t just costly — they can threaten the very existence of your business. Your business instant messenger must provide and prioritize strong security. So what should you look for? Vitally, infrastructure and servers must meet the highest security standards, and a distributed and redundant server system keeps your data safe and accessible. Additionally, data compression and encryption, preferably the AES-256 bit encryption algorithm, ensures that only authorized users can interpret the data you send. Furthermore, peer to peer (P2P) communication channels keeps communication directly between users without the use of third-party servers.

In Conclusion

Originally published at www.brosix.com on July 26, 2018.

Brosix is a cross-platform team chat and collaboration tool, ideal for everyday communication for business and leisure.