January 05, 2021 Articles

Mobile Messaging Apps at the Workplace: Risks and Mitigation Strategies

Companies should ensure its acceptable use policies and procedures take into account new and emerging types of communication platforms and implement ground rules for all employees.

By Melissa E. Parisi
Communication apps on mobile devices present an array of legal and compliance challenges.

Communication apps on mobile devices present an array of legal and compliance challenges.

10'000 Hours/DigitalVision via Getty Images

Companies across retail, legal, healthcare and finance industries allow employees to use consumer messaging apps, such as WhatsApp and Telegram, for workplace communications. These apps are extremely popular among consumers and employees alike because they allow users to easily and instantly communicate via text, audio, or video and share files for free, but they also raise legal and compliance challenges.

The Risks

Data Security: Encryption and Surveillance

Unlike enterprise applications, where employers can see data leaving the company and ensure usage of appropriate security controls, companies have no ability to monitor data on consumer messaging apps and are forced to rely on the app provider’s security methods, which are not always the most secure. For example, some apps do not use end-to-end encryption for all or certain types of communications, and many apps have been the subject of credible reports of backdoors or other active government surveillance.

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