Secure communications are essential to your organization’s larger cybersecurity efforts. Ensuring that your employees can communicate with each other securely wherever they are located helps guard vital information from being intercepted in transit. It also protects your corporate system in the event of compromised communication. Below, we will look at some of the best practices your organization can follow to improve the security of its communications.
Why Secure Communications are Essential to Your Organization
Insecure communications, especially email, present a significant risk to your organization’s cybersecurity. According to Trend Micro, 91% of cyber threats start with email communications. Email is also the number-one form of delivery for ransomware incidents, which typically come in the form of phishing and other social engineering.
Additionally, the growing use of unsecured video conferencing apps has introduced new risks to organizations with large remote workforces. Vulnerabilities in traditional consumer messaging apps enable unauthorized actors to eavesdrop on sensitive communications. Additionally, the growing use of personal mobile devices among remote workers during the COVID-19 pandemic has increased cyber threats for organizations of all sizes.
10 Best Practices for Secure Communications
All of the statistics point to one immutable fact: to protect your organization’s valuable data, you need to improve your secure communications practices. Here are ten effective ways to do so.
Move Away from Email
Email is the least secure way for employees to communicate. Minimizing the use of email in your organization will therefore mitigate cyber threats. If possible, try to transition away from email towards more secure forms of internal communication, including secure text, voice, and video messaging. Use email only for external communications—and even then, be wary about transmitting sensitive information.
Ban Mainstream Messaging Apps
The mainstream messaging apps found on most users’ phones are notoriously insecure. These apps should be banned from your organization’s internal communications. Instead, offer your staff a more secure alternative that employs end-to-end encryption, such as Wickr.
Use a VPN
If you must communicate via less-secure methods, route all communications through a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN, such as Wickr Open Access, provides a secure tunnel for communications from remote locations, especially for employees using public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Embrace Zero Trust
Access to your communications system should not be universal. Not all employees should have automatic access to all communications, even if they are trusted managers. Instead, embrace a Zero Trust model that limits access only to employees who need it, thus reducing exposure to your most sensitive communications.
Insist on Secure Passwords
This practice is simple but effective. Insist that your employees use strong passwords and that they change them on a regular basis. Strong passwords are long, not easily guessable, and include numbers, special characters, and both upper- and lower-case letters.
Use Multifactor Authentication
You can harden password access by adding multifactor authentication (MFA). This provides an added layer of security that better protects your organization’s sensitive communications.
Employ End-to-End Encryption
Perhaps the best way to protect your organization’s communications is to use end-to-end-encryption, which scrambles data at all stages of the communication process. Traditional encryption only encrypts data at rest, while end-to-end encryption encrypts data in transit, thus securing the entire communications process. Even if a communication is intercepted, end-to-end encryption ensures that the communication itself remains safe and unusable.
Use Ephemeral Messaging
Another effective way to protect your organization’s communications is to delete communications after receipt. Ephemeral messaging deletes all messages after a given amount of time, which means messages are not stored long-term on your servers. Therefore, there are fewer assets for third-parties to compromise.
Don’t Collect Metadata
Some messaging solutions that employ ephemeral messaging still retain metadata about those messages, including the identities of senders and recipients, when the messages were sent, IP addresses, and more. For the utmost communications security, you either need to not collect metadata in the first place or ensure that any metadata collected is erased with the original messages.
Train Your Employees
Training your employees on the ins and outs of secure communications is one of the most effective ways to keep your data secure. They need to be made aware of why it’s important to secure all communications, what information should and should not be shared, and how to identify phishing and other risky messages. Even the best security measures can be undone by employees’ risky behavior. So, give them the training they need to be more secure corporate communicators.
Make Wickr Part of Your Secure Communications Practices
If you are ready to improve your organization’s secure communications practices, the experts at Wickr can help. Our secure communications and collaboration platform employs end-to-end encryption, ephemeral messaging, and other military-grade security to help your organization secure all shared data files and text, voice, and video communications, both at rest and in transit. This is the most effective way for your organization to secure its sensitive communications.
Contact us today to learn more about how Wickr’s secure communications platform can help your organization its cybersecurity.