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.
What does it mean for messaging to be secure? Usually, it means that your messages are encrypted before they leave your device. Encrypted messages can't be read by anyone other than the intended recipient, even if they're intercepted during the exchange.
Some apps offer self-destruct functionality, letting you send messages that are automatically deleted after they're read. Another common feature is an anti-screenshot interface, which doesn't show the message and the sender's name on the same screen. It can also notify you if the app detects that a screenshot of the message has been taken.
No messaging app is totally foolproof, but business users with privacy concerns would be wise to check out these five secure messengers, all of which are available for Android and Apple phones.
Pryvate is an encrypted communication service with several offerings, including its free messaging app that allows you to make unlimited encrypted texts, voice calls and image sharing, all with self-destruct features and screenshot notifications. There's a Pro 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, then your files can't be opened.
Pryvate's Enterprise version includes corporate landline encryption for your business, protecting your phone calls through a specialized landline as well as a secure IP line for private internet browsing.
The Pro version is $5.62 per month, per user, while the Enterprise version is $13.99 per month.
End-to-end encryption and a user-friendly interface make Signal Private Messenger 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.
In addition to offering the free messaging you want, Telegram Messenger 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 free 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, two-factor authentication and other business-focused features. Wickr Enterprise is a self-hosted version that gives you and your IT department even more control.
Wickr Pro starts at $25 a month per active user. A free 30-day trial (for up to 20 active users) is available here.
Wire's encrypted collaboration platform lets you hold protected conference calls and share documents with team members. You can create group chats where you can send messages, share links and files with other members, which you can choose to set a timer on so they're only available for a limited time until they're permanently deleted. With Wire, you can start one-touch group calls which you can invite up to 10 team members to, share screens and send files, all of which is covered by the platform's end-to-end encryption.
Personal accounts are free, while business accounts are $7 per month, per user, with discounts for longer billing terms. Business accounts include admin tools for your organization.