- Secure messaging apps help keep your business’s information secure.
- Using secure messaging apps can keep you in compliance with international data privacy laws.
- You can also implement VPNs and encrypted email services for the best data protection possible.
- This article is for business owners concerned about information and communication privacy.
For quick and easy communication, instant messaging is more convenient than email and more secure than SMS text messaging – at least, if you have the right app. A secure messaging application lets you safely exchange private information with employees, clients and co-workers without compromising your data. While no messaging app is totally foolproof, business users with privacy concerns would be wise to check out these five secure messengers to ensure they’re as safe as possible.
What are secure messaging apps?
Secure messaging apps are software platforms that allow users to communicate and transfer information through a high-security interface. The information is kept secure and confidential using several cybersecurity measures, such as end-to-end encryption and self-destructing messages.
Why use a secure messaging app for business?
There are several reasons why a secure messaging application is vital for business operations, whether you operate in a sensitive industry like healthcare or you simply want to ensure the security of sensitive company data. Here are a few common reasons businesses need secure messaging applications:
- Protection of confidential company data: A secure messaging app uses advanced encryption and other methods to ensure the recipients are the only eyes on your message. This keeps your company’s most sensitive data safe from hackers, for example, or your proprietary information secure from competitors.
- Meeting HIPAA requirements for healthcare organizations: Privacy is a must in the healthcare industry, and secure messaging apps can keep you compliant with relevant regulations. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is the primary law of concern. It stipulates that patient information must be kept secure. For example, secure messaging is critical in healthcare organizations, which is why it is a standard feature offered by the best medical software.
- Staying in compliance with data regulations: Businesses must protect their employee and client data in accordance with international data privacy laws, which are becoming more common in recent years. Moreover, responding to data breaches is often time-consuming and expensive; in fact, a data breach can be so costly as to even lead to the closure of small businesses.
Did you know?: The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect on May 25, 2018, setting the standard for how online businesses interact with user data. Eight in 10 U.S. companies took steps to comply with the law before it went into effect.
5 secure messaging apps for business
There are many secure messaging apps to choose from if you’d like to protect your business. Below is a short list of a few top-tier apps to help you pick the right one.
1. Pryvate Now
Pryvate is an encrypted communication service with several offerings, including its free messaging app that allows you to send encrypted texts, make voice calls and share images. There’s an Enterprise version that caters to business and collaboration uses, which includes secure video calls and file sharing. It includes admin tools for multiple-user management and video conferencing with multiple team members. There’s also an encrypted file storage feature that allows you to store encrypted files locally, but the keys to unlock them are stored elsewhere, so if your device is ever stolen, your files can’t be opened.
The base app is free but can be upgraded to the SME version, which costs $2.86 (£2.50) per month. The Enterprise light version costs $5.71 (£4.99) per month.
2. Signal Private Messenger
End-to-end encryption and a user-friendly interface make Signal a top choice for business users wanting a quick and easy solution to their communication security problems.
Users can set up encrypted groups for private conversations. Signal uses your existing phone number and address book, so you don’t have to remember any additional usernames or passwords, or maintain a separate contacts list.
In addition to offering instant text communication (without SMS fees), Signal allows users to make secure phone calls, even internationally, without long-distance charges.
3. Telegram Messenger
In addition to offering the free messaging you want, Telegram makes it easy to sync your conversations across various devices, so you can start a chat on your phone and then pick it up on your laptop without missing a beat. In addition, you can share media and files without any size limits; however, the default setting automatically stores your files in the Telegram Cloud. This can be an asset, because you can access the information shared at any time without taking up space on your device, but if you want a truly secure chat that leaves no record, make sure you turn on the Secret Chats function.
When Secret Chats is enabled, all of your chats will self-destruct automatically (across all devices involved). None of the files you share are stored anywhere, and end-to-end encryption will be turned on.
Wickr has been around since 2012, making it one of the first secure chat services. It’s still a popular choice for encrypted messaging today because its service is reliable, easy to use and well encrypted. You can set separate expiration dates for each message you send, which is handy for business users who may want to keep a short-term record of conversations or keep conversations going over a span of several days.
In addition to offering a free app that works across all of your devices, Wickr has business-centric versions called Wickr Pro and Wickr Enterprise. Wickr Pro is a suite of collaboration tools that, in addition to allowing for secured communication, offers users access to administrative controls and deployment, account controls, identity verification controls, multifactor authentication, and other business-focused features. Wickr Enterprise is a self-hosted version that gives you and your IT department even more control.
Basic Wickr services are free, but you can pay for higher tiers of service. Wickr Silver costs $4.99 per user per month. Wickr Gold costs $9.99 per user per month, and Wickr Platinum costs $25 per user per month.
Wire is an encrypted collaboration platform that lets you hold protected conference calls and share documents with team members. You can create group chats where you can send messages and share links and files with other members, which you can choose to set a timer on so they’re available only for a limited time until they’re permanently deleted. With Wire, you can start one-touch group calls, which you can invite up to 100 team members to. You can also share screens and send files. This is all covered by the platform’s end-to-end encryption.
Personal accounts are free, while business accounts are $7.65 per user per month. Business accounts include admin tools for your organization.
Other secure messaging solutions
While messaging apps are one method to protect your business’s data, several others can help you keep information secure. For example, virtual private networks (VPNs) are one of the most popular methods of securing data privacy. They place a server between your network and data to hide your IP address from outside viewers. This means your internet service provider and outside parties can’t see what you send and receive online.
Encrypted emails can be a more specialized option for secure communications. Email is one of the most commonly used methods for business communication, so it’s important to protect it. Securing email uses many of the same methods as securing phone messaging, such as end-to-end encryption. This security through every delivery stage can keep IT hacks from compromising sensitive information.
Tip: Don’t forget about simpler protections like anti-malware and system backups to keep your company protected on all fronts. Sometimes these simple cybersecurity systems can be even more effective than complex IT security solutions.
Secured information avoids trouble in the future
Protecting your business and your clients’ data from prying eyes should always be a priority, especially if your business frequently handles private information. A lack of safeguards can risk serious harm and prolonged legal trouble for your organization. Finding the security options that meet your needs and keeping them updated can help you withstand even the most determined threat actors.