Messaging Applications in Business Environments: Watch What You Send

We all use a messaging application in our daily routine. They are a convenient way to communicate with people and
offer a quick alternative to phone calls, and emailing. Sending sensitive information through these applications, however, may raise red flags.shutterstock_197029355

Recent findings showed that lawyers and other professionals using consumer messaging applications to
exchange confidential business information could be in trouble. These third-party applications do not guarantee security, nor maintain an audit trail, or an archiving mechanism. Worse, they do not support information disclosure should the request arise in legal or other proceedings.

A recent survey showed that:

  • 69 percent of participants use e-mail most frequently for business communications;
  • 22 percent mobile messaging; and
  • 8 percent voice calling.

Out of these results, the next question asked why the participants didn’t use messaging applications more often:

  • 30 percent prefer sending e-mails or making calls;
  • 23 percent say there’s no paper trail;
  • 3 percent say it’s not as secure as phone or e-mail;
  • 17 percent say it’s too informal; and
  • 30 percent say it’s not authorized by the company.

So, what should your company do? Blocking messaging applications completely isn’t a viable solution in the long term. Messaging applications have proven to be a reliable tool to enhance employee productivity. The key is education. Company staff has to not only understand what regulatory laws they’re working under, but they also need to be able to use a secure messaging system that is company-approved, and adheres to the provisions of the Sarbanes Oxley Act and other applicable regulations. 44 percent of survey participants answered that their company doesn’t have an official messaging platform, which leads to the use of third party messaging applications and the release of confidential information.

The rule of thumb is to never send confidential data via an unsecure platform. If you suspect one of your employees has been transferring sensitive information via messaging applications, the RVM Tracer™ can help you audit your employees’ computers safely and quickly, instead of immediately undertaking a costly forensic investigation.

Protect your data to protect your business.