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The 10 Things to Ask When Choosing a Secure Encrypted Messaging App

When it comes to your business, you need more than a free messaging app

In the encryption messaging industry, free apps that are easy to download and use, are vital. Despite how insecure these can be, they help people be aware and understand the different options when it comes to secure encrypted messaging apps and how they are needed.

The usual suspects of the free app market have their place in the market. However, none of these can provide what is needed when your business wants secure messaging. These usual suspects lack the support you need. And when it comes to keeping messages private and uncompromised, these apps leave it up to you to keep your device secure. If it is outside of the app, it is not their worry.

To put it bluntly, this will not cut it. When your business needs secure messaging with no compromises, free messaging apps cannot cover it. To keep your communications protected, business-grade solutions like SKY ECC are the perfect fit. To make sure you are making the right choice, there are a few things you should think about.

With so many choices, which app should be chosen?

When you think of encrypted messaging apps, you most likely will have a favourite, a go-to. It could be for technical aspects, a preference of certain protocols and features, or having a heavily built contact list. When talking with friends, especially in group chats, these can be great. But when you want to make sure your business is well protected and messages are secure, would any of these apps really be good enough?

No, and when it comes to chatting with friends, that’s perfectly fine. They allow for social communication, with convenience above everything else. But in the working environment, you need to pick the app that can secure communications and allow your messages and data to remain private. If an app is available for free or personal preference should not be consider when deciding.

So when making the decision, what should be considered? In Security Boulevard, Dr. Galina Datskovsky goes through some of the main things in her post:

Consumer Messaging Apps: A False Sense of Security for Business. Unfortunately, since consumer-grade messaging applications weren’t initially designed with the intent of organizational use, they are not adequately equipped to provide the security required for business. Although end-to-end encryption protects against outside monitoring when messages are in transit, consumer-grade messaging applications provide no protection against someone screenshotting, sharing or forwarding a message to an unintended recipient. This means that once a message is received, it can be leaked with relative ease. The fact of the matter is that encryption, in and of itself, only goes so far to keep communications protected. (Think that deleting data means hackers can’t see it? Think again: Never Really Gone: How to Protect Deleted Data From Hackers.) 

When it comes to free end-to-end encrypted apps (E2EE), they provide convenience. Easy to use, download and setup. Of the many on the market all allow you in minutes to be chatting with friends. Consumer grade apps like this are not a bad thing, but they let you down as soon as you run into problems.

With business and commercial-grade apps, they are not more difficult to operate or use that the consumer apps. But the extra features provided when you pay show the difference. Dedicated support and infrastructure. Looking at the entire communication environment and how best to navigate it then simply inwardly looking at the app. So when it comes to looking for a secure messaging app, here is a few things you should ask.

How can you tell is an encrypted messaging app is good for your business?

When deciding what app to go with, the question of convenience or security will arise. How far on the scale do you wish to go? An app such as Facebook Messenger is extremely convenient. However, it is not very secure. If you were to go to any major app store and get a consumer E2EE messaging app, you would have an app that would be quite secure, far more then Facebook Messenger. It would also be very convenient, but maybe not as much as the prior example though.

Further down the continuum between convenience and security is a manged device group. This is using personal devices that are used for work and installed with security measures, otherwise known as a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). These are good if you do not want to make everyone carry two separate devices all the time.

Carrying on, the next part along is a company managed phone. It enjoys the benefits of added security, but also allows for apps to be installed and for Bluetooth and camera functions to be enabled. This does mean each person having to have two devices on them. A compromise is often that employees can have a semi-personal phone, owned by the company but the person is allowed to treat it as if it is theirs. However, this can often become tricky for both employee and company.

The next step along in the security line, at least before you get to using carrier pigeons to send messages, is devices that are fully locked-down and encrypted for messaging as its sole purpose. These are made to restrict most features that could present a flaw in security, such as installing apps, screenshots, camera or Bluetooth. With these, you require a second device. However, they allow for messages to be extremely secure.

Measures like this may seem extreme, but they are not without reason. From complex negotiations, handling sensitive intellectual property or travelling to areas where protection from electronic surveillance is needed, a high level of security and protection is a must-have.

When you are thinking about what secure messaging solution to go with for your business, consider the following:

  1. Will off-the-shelf devices be okay for what you are looking for or do you need secure, locked-down devices? If it is for BYOD and files, off-the-shelf can cover for what you need. But when handling sensitive messages, you need to look for a secure device with a secure messaging solution pre-installed, that will protect your information. Cases of supply chain attacks have happened, such as malware being inserted into budget Android devices whilst still at the factory.
  2. When it comes to data, are you just managing on devices that have company data or is a messaging solution needed? The first is only under Device Management Solutions, but secure messaging also considers who should be allowed to contact, as well as much restrictions a device has.
  3. Bring Your Own Device or managed, company-owned devices? The most secure and protected solutions, such as SKY ECC work best alongside managed, company owned devices. BYOD devices which contain company data do not need secure messaging to make sure your business is secure, but should be managed. BYOD with device management allows for company data on personal devices to be protected and for regulated industries is essential.
  4. Do you need for data to be retained for any reason? Secure messaging solutions often have messages that self-destruct, which may pose a problem if you are needed to hold messages over a long period of time.
  5. Is sharing and collaborating files needed? In addition to secure messaging, device management allows for file sharing and collaboration.
  6. Do you require laptop solutions, as well as mobile? When protecting data across all of your workforce, laptops need to be added to the equation. Many secure messaging apps only provide for mobile, but this does not mean should leave laptops storing company data unsecured.
  7. Does your solution need to be internationally useable? Outside of Europe and North America, Wi-Fi and mobile data are not always secure. Solutions such as SKY ECC, that makes sure that your network is protected where ever you may be are vital.
  8. How much support is offered? Many free apps use “community support” to help, though this may not always be able to help when needed or it may not always be able to reliably answer your questions. You need round-the-clock, professional support such as SKY GLOBAL.
  9. Which devices need support? There is no point to support iOS, Android, Windows and MacOS devices, as long as each device passes extensive security checks.
  10. Is there any workflows or industry specific apps you need supported? Required apps can be pushed to BYOD/personal devices with Device Management solution such as SKY WORK.

SKY GLOBAL offers both fully-managed universal endpoint management/mobile device management and secure communication devices. Round-the-clock support is included with all our solutions and are compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, and MacOS (SKY ECC is available, mobile only, on both Android and iOS). To get detailed product information on the full SKY GLOBAL Security Suite, get in touch or check out what is in store.

If the absolute best in encrypted messaging apps interests you – and you have a network of people who feel similarly, consider joining the SKY ECC Partner Program and begin building a business in helping people and business protect and secure their communications.

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