In the past two weeks, both WhatsApp and Viber have announced end-to-end encryption for their combined base of 1.7 billion users meaning that users can now communicate on their mobile devices with the assurance that their conversations are private. WhatsApp and Viber are definitely doing all they can to protect the communications of their users. However, these consumer apps should not be confused with enterprise-grade encryption solutions for mobile communications.
So, why is an encrypted communications app not enough for the enterprise?
Just as enterprises don’t rely on an employee’s personal device to protect their data networks and sensitive information, they also don’t rely only on their employee’s encrypted app to protect their mobile communications. Enterprises control who has access to which applications in the data center and can see who accesses what and when; they need the same visibility and control to truly secure their mobile communications. Enterprise customers simply demand it.
An enterprise-grade encrypted mobile communications solution addresses the lack of control that general free messaging applications, such as WhatsApp and Viber, are missing:
An enterprise solution enables the close management of users from a central point with reporting capabilities. Only authorized users can communicate on the encrypted network and they can be provisioned and de-provisioned instantly, greatly reducing the risk that the encrypted network will be used for bad intentions. With general-purpose apps there is no central control and no knowledge of who is using the system, who is communicating with whom, and the frequency of those communications.
Accountability and compliance are non-existent in a general-purpose messaging app. An enterprise solution gives full control over which metadata is saved and which metadata is wiped. This is critical for compliance in regulated industries like healthcare and finance; and for industries like law enforcement where communications records must be saved to ensure accountability.
Closed user groups and closed contacts are also important enterprise features. Users can communicate only in authorized circles and contacts are not on the phone. Without this capability, users can communicate with anyone creating a ‘dark network’ where secure information can be shared with virtually anyone outside the trusted network.
Enterprises need the ability to install an encryption solution in their own private infrastructure. This provides the ultimate in security and is not dependent on a third-party encryption provider.
Secure conference calling, secure storage of images, better call quality and LDAP integration for tighter enterprise management are a few other considerations that don’t come with a general encrypted messaging app.
WhatsApp, Viber and their competitors provide consumers with encryption. For consumer encryptions apps the consumer is in control. Salt Communications gives full control of the secure mobile communication system to the enterprise. That’s why Salt Communications can be deployed where consumer apps cannot.