Messaging apps can drive organisational effectiveness - but don’t neglect security

The number of instant messaging accounts worldwide is forecast to rise to more than 4.1 billion by 2020 from 3.2 billion today

Australian governments and enterprises will need to further embrace instant messaging and texting as a primary means of communication, as mobile-first millennials increasingly dictate its terms of use in the workforce.

The number of instant messaging accounts worldwide is forecast to rise to more than 4.1 billion by 2020 from 3.2 billion today.

In time, instant messaging apps and texting will overtake traditional business communications methods, with emails and voice calls potentially becoming obsolete for the workforce of the future

We’re already seeing rapid up-take of messaging applications in Australia. Government departments and quasi government bodies in particular, which by nature have an intrinsic understanding of information privacy and protection, are ahead of the curve.

One Australian Federal Government department has deployed a secure enterprise app to monitor the safety of more than 30,000 staff in the field, enabling individual messages and departmental responses to be exchanged and monitored in real time.

So far, government decision makers are acting faster and with more care than commercial enterprises when it comes to ensuring they provide enterprise grade mobile messaging solutions with greater functionality and the appropriate levels of security compliance.

Enterprises less attuned to mobile data protection

Enterprises appear to be less attuned to the issue of data protection in mobile environments and corporate CIOs are still grappling with the issue of security.

Indeed, many enterprises don’t even acknowledge their data and information is ‘risky’, until its hacked and data is out in the public domain.

This is a cause for concern. The introduction of new methods of productive business communication, as effective as they are, can bring risk to corporates if managed poorly.

Organisations today require enterprise grade tools that support business and governance workflows and offer the highest level of security.

There is a growing expectation, in both enterprise and government, that technology must be capable of protecting against cyber threats such as identity theft, which is estimated to cost Australia around $15 billion annually.

Defence grade secure messaging solution

Responding to the demand for enhanced security, we developed a secure mobile messaging app which has been granted defence grade Common Criteria certification, the ISO standard (ISO/IEC 15408) to assess the security and assurance of technology products.

The app sits on the Mobile Enterprise Messaging Suite (MEMS) platform that allows corporate and government clients to communicate and work productively via secure mobile channels.

While it includes the necessary security features including multi-level data encryption, PIN protection, vanishing messages and remote wipe, we know that we are only several steps ahead of criminal elements that are constantly seeking to crack the best security.

The onus is on all companies involved in the development of messaging to remain agile, thorough in their technical research and focused on innovation to ensure we can deliver effective and safe messaging tools

These advanced security features will continue to evolve to head off external threats and should be viewed as mandatory requirements for any CIO who is looking to enable increased productivity through the introduction of secure messaging apps.

But amidst the excitement and buzz of the messaging revolution, CIOs must also remain attuned to the increasing security risks to prevent a vulnerability from becoming a significant crisis.

Horden Wiltshire is CEO at Soprano Design

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