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4 Reasons Why Not to Use WhatsApp for Secure Communications

Don’t settle for just using WhatsApp for secure communications. Check out these 4 reasons why you should consider a WhatsApp replacement.

WhatsApp is a communications app that is widely utilised for personal use, however using WhatsApp for business could include risks related to productivity, compliance, improper management of workflows, tracking, data administration, and, lastly, company security.

What potential concerns could there be while utilising the personal messaging service, WhatsApp for corporate communications? Look closely at the following observations:

  1. A breach of compliance 

Recently many financial institutions are being fined for using “pervasive off-channel communications” along with widespread failure to preserve records of communications. Executives violated federal security laws and suffered the consequences thanks to their actions. 

For the compliance violations, in September 2022 eight companies and five affiliates agreed to pay $125 million each. These firms include affiliates of Barclays, Bank of America, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley. With these fines in mind organisations need to focus on enabling the best tools that ensure communications are private, secure and in alignment with their compliance policies. 

  1. Zero corporate admin controls therefore no protection

WhatsApp provides a limited number of admin controls that are limited to groups. It does not provide a wide variety of corporate admin control capabilities to restrict user access to the organisation’s data because it is a personal messenger. Anyone can create unauthorised groups and converse privately (from a company’s perspective!) because you cannot control the lines of communication within the app. For example, once you begin using WhatsApp for routine business communications, there is a chance that former staff members will misuse any sensitive information they have access to, or sensitive internal information is being discussed with external parties.

If you use WhatsApp for business purposes and your mobile device is lost or stolen, you should presume that all of your official data is also lost and potentially stolen. Since WhatsApp does not offer a security layer to guard against data loss or theft, organisations are leaving themselves open to attacks and leaks. 

  1. Decreased productivity 

Adopting WhatsApp at work may reduce your productivity because it is not designed for continuous office job operations. Given that the interface makes them think of personal messaging, employees’ attitudes towards professionalism are altered. The use of WhatsApp for business purposes also encourages staff to regularly participate in non-work related conversations – directly impacting their productivity.

Using a personal messenger for confidential information is not encouraged by many businesses throughout the world. They can instead rely on specialised secure communication systems designed specifically to manage efficient work schedules.

  1. Lack of control over your data 

Do you want to be the owner of your organisation’s data or not? The choice is yours. Message exchanges are non-compliant, insecure, disorganised, and unchanneled on WhatsApp.

For organisations the lack of control of message data is vital. Whether it is a police force who need complete control over their communications from hosting to storage for sensitive disclosure obligations, financial organisations who need to remain compliant, or law firms who need to maintain client confidentiality, the way in which your data is being managed should be YOUR CHOICE. Popular messaging platforms do not give this option, businesses still trust a system where we have zero control or visibility to where data is being hosted, what is being done with their data and who has access to it. 

It’s time organisations communicate with confidence and take control of their communications.

Common WhatsApp attacks 

With many high profile WhatsApp hacks, organisations need to ensure that they have full control over their technology solutions, and have the capability to manage how their metadata is stored and used.

WhatsApp along with numerous other solutions such as Viber, Signal and Facebook Messenger are all ‘consumer’ messaging applications. These apps do offer end-to-end encryption within their app, but the negative thing about these solutions is that the users believe ‘Encryption’ is full ‘Security’. Salt Communications don’t think that this is the case. We believe that enterprises should see ‘Security’ as Encryption working hand in hand with control and management. 

A common example is Pegasus. Pegasus is frequently appearing in the news. A few WhatsApp users, notably journalists and activists, received messages informing them that Pegasus had compromised their phones early 2019. This is when everything started. However, one could argue that news of the Pegasus spyware never really stopped being a topic. It seems to be used by different governments so frequently that there are allegations of phone hacks utilising it virtually every few months.

Why you should use a Secure WhatsApp replacement 

It bears underlining that WhatsApp was created with the consumer in mind and thanks to its 2 billion users, it has grown into a very potent product for Facebook. It is a prime example of how surveillance capitalism operates: provide free access to a practical tool while charging third parties to profile users and target content to them according to predetermined criteria using the gathered data.

By passing the buck onto you, WhatsApp is protecting themselves: “You provide us, all in accordance with applicable laws, the phone numbers of WhatsApp users and your other contacts in your mobile address book on a regular basis, including for both the users of our services and your other contacts.”

Salt is the pioneer in providing a comprehensive solution for encrypted communications between smartphone users and secure systems within their organisation. Our product offers centralised control for administrators, integrating with trusted internal services, providing secure voice and video calls, messaging and WhatsApp replacement, and file transfers for users making critical decisions on-the-go.

In a nutshell, to be more efficient amongst your organisation and keep all your communications in one secure place and communicate on one official platform rather than relying on several communication channels like emails and personal messengers. Utilise a secure communications system, to secure all of your business communications and data. 

If you require any additional assistance, please contact our experts for more information on using a WhatsApp replacement at info@saltcommunications.com or to sign up for a free trial of Salt Communications or to speak with a member of the Salt Communications team.


Discover why organisations should consider Salt as a secure WhatsApp replacement

About Salt Communications 

Salt Communications is a multi-award winning cyber security company providing a fully enterprise-managed software solution giving absolute privacy in mobile communications. It is easy to deploy and uses multi-layered encryption techniques to meet the highest of security standards. Salt Communications offers ‘Peace of Mind’ for Organisations who value their privacy, by giving them complete control and secure communications, to protect their trusted relationships and stay safe. Salt Communications is headquartered in Belfast, N. Ireland, for more information visit Salt Communications.

References:

https://saltcommunications.com/news/how-secure-are-whatsapp-voice-calls/

https://saltcommunications.com/news/longest-ever-whatsapp-facebook-and-instagram-outage-what-impact-would-this-have-had-if-you-were-using-whatsapp-for-business-communications/

https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-whatsapp-messages-can-hacked/

https://www.whatsapp.com/legal/terms-of-service-eea

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2021/07/24/whatsapp-pegasus-spyware/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2021/07/24/whatsapp-pegasus-spyware/ https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2022-174

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