Secure Messaging: Why Industry Compliance Is Key

Contributor: Jason Koestenblatt
Posted: 10/30/2017
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Texting

It’s rare to see employees using their mobile devices for phone calls anymore, since the newest iteration of communication now comes from the tips of our fingers.

More and more, workers are communicating with each other via text message or an app that allows for wider group chats across multiple operating systems. And while that may enhance productivity and efficiency, is it in the enterprise’s best interest?

With so many industries facing compliance and regulations, the exchange of sensitive information and data must be guarded as if the company’s bottom line depended on it. Because, in the end, it does.

Messaging capabilities have become more advanced and secure, no doubt. But so have hacking abilities and the array of threats pummeling IT administrators and security teams. For businesses operating in compliance-heavy settings, secure messaging may never be secure enough.

See related: Medical School Keeps Data, Docs Safe With Secure Messaging

So where are secure messaging apps most necessary? Here are the industries with the biggest need for encryption and security when it comes to employee communications.

  • Legal
  • Financial Services
  • Insurance
  • Healthcare

While not comprehensive, the list is a no-brainer considering the amount of sensitive data known to the information holders.

Messaging communications are now being targeted in campaigns dubbed as smishing. Smishing is the text message version of phishing, where hackers will send a text posing as a company or person asking the recipient to take action on any number of seemingly mundane activities, i.e., the user’s bank claiming it has detected unusual activity or a congratulatory notice saying the person has won a prize from their favorite store.

See related: 3 Reasons Smishing Is Enterprise Mobility’s Biggest Threat

The text message will then ask to review the “unusual activity” or “claim the prize” by clicking on and following a link sent with the information. Once the user has opened that link, in most cases, hackers need no further action and will be able to infiltrate the mobile device or accounts therein, grabbing personal data in the forms of passwords and other private information.

Thanks to overly trustworthy users and smartphone saturation, mobile devices are a prime target for hackers looking to slide into an employee’s text message inbox.

When you consider 913,242,000 texts are sent every hour of every day around the globe – which breaks down to a whopping 15.2 million per minute – hackers have a veritable treasure trove of targets. That only widens when one considers the kind of access online criminals can gain by infiltrating a device connected to a company’s private network.

That doesn’t even take into account messages sent via third-party apps for group chats or internationally communication.

Secure messaging is the newest threat vector on the mobile landscape. While some industries require more compliance than others, all employees in any job need to be made aware of the pitfalls of unsecured messaging and how it can severely hamper the company’s sensitive information.

Jason Koestenblatt
Contributor: Jason Koestenblatt