Data and communications security is essential for any organization in the digital era, but how knowledgeable are you about secure communications? Whether you’re just learning about security tactics or you need a refresher course, brush up on the basics below, and read on for even more detailed information.
Understanding Secure Communications
Secure communications prevents unauthorized individuals from accessing information communicated between two or more individuals. In the “real” world, unauthorized access could describe someone overhearing a conversation in a coffeeshop, opening another person’s mail, or tapping into a telephone line.
In an organization, secure communications refers more specifically to ensuring that data communicated among employees can only be accessed by authorized users. Enterprise communication is typically conducted via text messaging, email, voice calls, and video meetings. All of these communication methods must therefore be secured against unauthorized users.
Why Secure Communications Are Essential for Any Organization
Employees transmit vital information when they communicate with each other, both one-on-one and in meetings, including:
- Customer data
- Employee data
- Vendor data
- Contract specifics
- Company financials
- Business tactics and strategic plans
It is essential for employees’ jobs to communicate this sensitive information. However, if they are not communicating over a secure network, unauthorized third-parties could gain access to that information and potentially use it to access even more valuable data on your corporate network.
Necessary Components of Secure Communications
While you can’t protect against employees inadvertently sharing sensitive information in personal conversations, you can guard against unauthorized access to official company communications through a number of protective measures.
Here are the necessary components of any secure communications strategy.
Complete Platform and Device Compatibility
A secure communications strategy has to protect all the devices employees use, both on-premises and remotely. This includes desktop and laptop computers (PCs, Macs, and Chromebooks), smartphones (Android and iOS), and tablets. Both company-provided and personal devices need to be secured. Personal devices are particularly problematic, as your organization has less control over how and where they’re used.
Support for All Types of Communications
Your security strategy needs to protect all types of communications in which employees engage. This includes:
- Text messages
- Voice calls (both landline and cellular)
- Video conferences (and one-on-one video chats)
Secure File Sharing
Collaborative group projects account for a large portion of employee communications. Therefore, it’s important for your secure communications strategy to include secure file sharing. Files are often shared in group video meetings or are attached to emails and text messages. Any files shared during these communications should be equally secure.
Secure Alternatives to Email
Email, while a popular way to communicate, is inherently difficult to secure. This is why it’s a favored platform for cybercriminals. The facts don’t lie:
- 96% of all phishing attacks arrive via email
- Business email compromise (BEC) caused more than $1.8 billion in losses in 2020
- Two-thirds of all malware is delivered via email attachments.
Simply put, email is not a secure way for employees to communicate. Any secure communications plan must include a secure alternative to email.
You can further secure your organization’s communications by employing strong authentication methods, such as strong password requirements and multifactor authentication (MFA). Secure authentication helps prevent unauthorized users from accessing sensitive communications.
Zero Trust Access
Not every employee needs access to every communication. Security is enhanced when fewer people have access to sensitive communications. Zero Trust access limits access to sensitive data on a need-to-use basis, which is especially important for remote workers.
One of the key components of secure communications is the use of end-to-end encryption, which protects data at rest and in transit. Even if an encrypted communication is intercepted, the contents remain inaccessible unless the proper decryption key is provided. End-to-end encryption can be applied to most forms of communication except email – you can encrypt text messages, voice calls, and video chats, as well as shared files.
Storing old messages onsite or in the cloud puts it at greater risk of being accessed by unauthorized third-parties. To delete messages after they’ve been read, employ ephemeral messaging. This technology provides “burn on read” functionality so no communications are stored long-term.
No Metadata Storage
Communications are more secure when no metadata about those communications is retained. Metadata – including sender and recipient names and IP addresses – can be just as valuable to unauthorized parties as the content of a communication. Deleting all metadata upon receipt increases communication security.
Go Beyond Basic Communication Security With Wickr
When you want to secure your organization’s communications, turn to the security experts at Wickr. Our secure communications platform employs end-to-end encryption, ephemeral messaging, and other military-grade security to help your organization ensure cross-platform security for all types of communications – text, voice, video, and file sharing. It is the most secure communications platform available today.
Contact us today to learn how more about how Wickr can help your organization secure its sensitive communications.