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Workplace chat apps fuel innovation. So, why aren’t they secure?

In the last several years, enterprise chat apps have exploded in popularity—and for good reason. The right platform can improve office communication, efficiency and morale while providing employees the flexibility to work remotely without missing out on the casual conversations and brainstorms that fuel innovation.

But these benefits also come with a host of security concerns for enterprises across industries, and picking the wrong platform can have major security ramifications at a time when cyberattacks are increasing in both scope and sophistication.

So, what should businesses look for when choosing an enterprise chat platform?

End-to-end encryption is perhaps the most important security feature and one lacking in some of the most popular enterprise chat apps. With end-to-end encryption, data is encrypted both in transit and in storage, and only the communicating end users of a given chat can access shared messages and information. Even if a chat platform’s servers are breached, the data on them is encrypted and thus unreadable by unauthorized individuals, which also includes the platform provider itself.  

That level of encryption is an obvious security measure to implement if we view enterprise chat apps as what they truly are: digital meeting rooms filled with sensitive business information.

After all, no company would allow competitors to eavesdrop on important internal meetings. But by not encrypting workplace chats, that’s exactly what they seem to be doing—allowing malicious actors the opportunity to steal intellectual property and other valuable information. That’s an especially egregious oversight when you consider that end-to-end encryption is widely available in consumer messaging platforms like WhatsApp and even iMessage.

And with the threat from cyberattacks only growing in frequency and sophistication, encryption is more important than ever before. In Slack’s S1 filing, for example, it specifically mentioned threats from “sophisticated organized crime, nation-state and nation-state supported actors,” and Chinese hackers are believed to have breached at least nine cloud providers in the past year, including IBM and HPE. The data these cloud providers hold was likely vulnerable if unencrypted, which is also the case for chats currently saved on platforms like Slack. Think about your IMs today—is there something in there you wouldn’t want a rival or outsider to see?

But even with end-to-end encryption, a breach is still likely. Nearly 80 percent of U.S. businesses expect a successful cyberattack in 2019, and experts say no security measure can prevent with 100% certainty an intrusion from occurring. That makes the ability to delete old messages another important factor when choosing a chat platform. At the end of the day, hackers can’t steal what isn’t there, so control over where your messages live and if they live at all is a crucial security best practice.

BlackBerry is the rare provider of an enterprise-grade communications platform that fits both of these critical security requirements. With BBM Enterprise, you get secure end-to-end signing and encryption for text, group chats, voice and video calls, as well as the ability to edit, delete, retract or set an expiration date on individual messages and media. BBM Enterprise also never tracks your contacts, where you’re messaging from or what you’re sharing and discussing—again, in service to the security ideal that hackers “can’t steal what isn’t there.” Just as importantly, BBM Enterprise gives IT centralized control by allowing them to set standard policies, such as how long messages are saved, across an entire organization.

For companies building custom apps and smart devices, BlackBerry Spark Communications Services—BlackBerry’s Communications Platform as a Service solution—provides the ability to embed secure chat, voice and video capabilities into your app or device. Spark provides similar security features to BBM Enterprise, including end-to-end encryption, for security in the age of IoT.

Too often, even the most innovative organizations apply their tech-savvy everywhere but cybersecurity. And while that’s certainly the case with enterprise chat platforms, deploying a secure chat application is straightforward with BlackBerry’s suite of services. If you haven’t yet been breached, there’s still time to safeguard your most valuable corporate assets and ensure your office-wide group chat brings nothing but good memes and innovative ideas.


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