Consumer messaging platforms are fraught with risk

The recent WhatsApp debacle was a reminder that using consumer-oriented apps to communicate sensitive business information is fraught with risk.

What happened? A vulnerability in the popular Facebook-owned messaging service was discovered that allowed hackers to install spyware through an infected WhatsApp voice call.

The spyware is capable of trawling through calls, texts and other data, activating the phone’s camera and microphone and performing other malicious activities.

The good news is that it is extremely unlikely your company was affected by this particular hack. Nevertheless, all WhatsApp users have been advised to manually check that the latest updates are installed on their phones. Not sure how to do it? Here’s a handy guide.

The bad news is that vulnerabilities in messaging systems are being discovered all the time and each is added to a hacker’s armoury. They are often combined in creative ways to take over devices and steal data.

Generally, this is not a problem as most vulnerabilities are fixed by software makers. But of course, you’re only protected if you actually receive the software fix. In most cases, there is nothing you can do to fix the problem yourself, which means you are entirely reliant on the software support you receive from the developer or manufacturer of your device.

WhatsApp and GDPR

Hacks aside, there is another good reason why you may want to avoid WhatsApp for business purposes.

As you are aware, you have a duty of care to safeguard personal data under the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

WhatsApp may or may not be data compliant. We are not here to judge: the legal issues are complex and you can read about them here.

However if in doubt, there is a very compelling reason why you should not use it as a business tool.

As part of the terms and conditions, the user consents to personal information (contact telephone numbers) to be uploaded to WhatsApp and Facebook. That means data about third parties may be uploaded against their consent.

Bizimply is a safer alternative

I am not saying anything against WhatsApp per se. Messaging systems have their place but just as you can use a fork to eat soup, it’s not advisable.

Better to use a tool that is specifically designed to do a specific job. And when it comes to communicating rostering information to staff in different locations, the tool is Bizimply.

Using Bizimply to communicate schedules and store related employee removes the need to rely on messaging systems.

Can Bizimply give a 100% guarantee that it will never be hacked, and employee privacy compromised? No, nobody can do that, not even the Pentagon or even NASA.

However, we have put in place a comprehensive multi-levelled security package that protects users of Bizimply. And our IT security specialists are constantly on the case to ensure that any potential vulnerability is addressed.

Moreover, since Bizimply is not a general communications tool, but limited in scope to communicating employee schedules and notes that are relevant to the schedules, so in the extremely unlikely event that the data is hacked, the potential damage is contained.

If you would like to find out more about how Bizimply improves staff efficiency while protecting employee privacy, do get in touch.

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